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I'm want to emphasise date period(2 dates: start and end) in table cell. Usually it's green for start and red for the end, but I believe it'll be too distracting...

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Can you add more detail to your question? Why do you think it'll be distracting? Can you provide a mockup? –  Matt Oct 5 '12 at 21:48
    
Also, do you need to show if the start or end date has passed or is in the future? –  Michael Lai Sep 20 '13 at 1:14
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The solution could be to use softer/lighter versions of colors. In your case, I would choose #BBFFBB for green and #FFBBBB for red. I used those exact colors on a couple of my websites. They are much easier on the eyes and also fit nicely on any modern-looking application. Alternatively, you can use Color Schemer to choose appropriate colors. In your case, choose a plain red/green color and then press the button Lighten Scheme until you get the wanted result. Good luck!

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Is it just one instance (row) you want to emphasize out of many? If that's the case, perhaps just a text weight change (bold) could help, plus a light background to the cells in the table. Or even highlight the whole row itself.

If it's more than one row, then color could be a distracting element. Also, using red may clash with other elements designed to show errors/alerts. Are the dates being emphasized because the user needs to take action on these items?

If you have a mockup, it would be great to have a look.

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