Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For instance, choosing a background color that makes all text stand out better, or giving all hyperlinks a background color the opposite of the color of the actual hyperlinks. An example of this is my HappyUser proposal where the page's background color is a shade of green that makes the blue hyperlinks stand out better than if the background color were white.

I'm sure there's a name for this technique, but I have no idea. Anyone know?

share|improve this question

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'd just call it using contrast in a usable way. Make sure you also make it usable for people who can't perceive color!

share|improve this answer
3  
Exactly, as a great designer Andy Rutledge says, contarast is the most fundamental element of meaning: alistapart.com/articles/contrastandmeaning - and in my opinion, working with contrast is not 'special technique', you would hardly be a designer without using it... –  Tomáš Kafka Aug 27 '10 at 16:52
    
It's interesting, because this is what I've always called it, but I felt like (not having a trained design background) I wasn't using the proper name for it. But it looks like there isn't a name for it, after all. –  Rahul Aug 27 '10 at 20:00

... also, sorry for thread hijacking, but I think it would be worth mentioning the gestalt principles and Andy Rutledge's excellent series of articles about using it to make the visuals more 'navigatable':

share|improve this answer
    
Fantastic links! Too bad they're not about contrast, but I kind of want to accept this as the best answer... –  Rahul Aug 27 '10 at 19:58
    
The gestalt of similarity covers contrast "things that are similar are perceived to be more related than things that are dissimilar" –  Erics Jan 16 '12 at 5:07

Contrast? Complementary colors? Not sure if it's really a "technique", though. More a design approach.

share|improve this answer

In the study of art it is called Chiaroscuro

link text

share|improve this answer
    
Chiaroscuro doesn't seem to fit here. More of a painting style to achieve dramatic effect. Like Rembrandt paintings. Still high contrast but a wide range of tones. Complementary colors definitely come to mind like Max stated, but that is about the colors opposite each other on a color wheel. Not sure what opposing contrasts would be. The biggest opposing contrast is black and white :) –  Brad Hutchison Aug 17 '11 at 20:45

There are design principles called Proximity, Alignment, Repetition and Contrast. See The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin William (recommendable).

She uses the term contrast in a large sense: not only contrasting colors, but also contrasting font sizes, font families etc ("different things should look different".)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.