Color makes an impact. It’s one of the strongest visual cues you can use.
When we started Infovark, we knew we wanted to make something different. Gordon and I had just come from the enterprise software arena. We were tired of boring press releases and the battleship gray applications.
One of the things that caused us to reach out to Amy Hoy for help with our user interface design was her bold use of color, which you can see on Slash 7, her principal blog, and also on her projects twistori and freckle.
One of her first questions to us was about the adjectives we wanted associated with the project. What sort of impression did we want to make? In addition to “new and different,” we provided answers like helpful, friendly, enthusiastic, accessible, earthy, natural, and intuitive. Clearly, our approach to creating software, the company name, and the critter all had an influence.
We had already taken one pass at the user interface for our application, but it still retained too much of the drab, corporate look so common in applications today. Even paragons of design like Apple and Adobe use neutral tones like brushed metal and charcoal gray. Microsoft is noted for Windows’ blue and white scheme. Amy’s advice:
My suggestion for fixing the aesthetic problems can be summed up in two words: Be bolder. Ditch the color waffling: go bold. Ditch the lighter shades, commit to the bright ones. Kill the grey. Get rid of borders and boxes. Get rid of gradients. Ditch the icons, unless you can get bold, iconic ones that can do the job with just one color.
You can see that advice at work in the new look of this blog and the Infovark Underground. And we hope you’ll see it in our user interface, too. The screens aren’t ready for primetime yet, but you can see our color palette below.
These are not the exact colors you’ll see in our application, but it’s provided the inspiration for our scheme.
Have I mentioned that I’m the son of an interior designer? I may sling code all day, but I appreciate good design. And for me, these colors have meaning. I won’t bore you with color theory, but if you’re at all interested in color, marketing, and branding, it’s worth looking at the Usability Post‘s Guide to Choosing Colors for Your Brand and Smashing Magazine‘s Colors in Corporate Branding and Design. Both provide insight, advice, and lots of examples of how color influences our impressions of companies and products.