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Are there any colors that should not be used in UI design? Which one(s)? Why?

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Blue. And yellow. And Green. –  DexterW Jan 10 '11 at 20:49
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Also, songs shouldn't use g, f, or b# –  DexterW Jan 10 '11 at 20:50
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Avoid #000666 as it is the color of the beast (and just to be on the safe side, don't use #00029A either.) –  HostileFork Jan 11 '11 at 0:35
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WAY too generic of a question. –  DA01 Jan 11 '11 at 14:53
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1 Answer

up vote 21 down vote accepted

There are no colours that shouldn't be used, but there are combinations that aren't helpful in terms of aesthetic and in ease of perception, or inappropriate use of colour that clashes with culturally accepted symbols.

Don't forget to check that the colour blind will not have difficulty with your UI, and that the use of colour to encode information is only done so redundantly (if you take the colour away people can still use the UI easily).

I recommend Ware's Visual Thinking for Design as a good book that covers a decent amount of colour theory and its application.

As a handy shortcut to spot many problems, take a look at your UI in greyscale (and/or carry out initial design without colour) and see if there are any colour-use problems with your UI.

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And keep in mind that not everyone who is colour blind is red-green - some of us are yellow-green aflicted. –  Bevan Jan 11 '11 at 0:51
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There are apps that let you generate color schemes, and apply different kinds of colorblindness (protanopy, deuteranomaly, etc) to see how it effectively "looks" and contrasts to people with that condition. Here's one: colorschemedesigner.com –  HostileFork Jan 11 '11 at 4:12
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