I'm developing a week view of a calendar for scheduling 17 different venues (river boats as well as physical locations like banquet halls) for a client who specializes in providing venues for weddings, corporate events, etc.

Below is a rough prototype of the week view. I'm concerned about having 17 different colors representing each venue in the calendar. At first I thought having a color assigned to each venue would be an appropriate way to visually show how much an entity is used in a week. Will having up to 17 different colors be too loud? Is there a better way to depict visually how much a venue is used within a given week?

enter image description here

Thanks for your help.

  • What is the goal of the user? What is the context of use? Dec 14, 2017 at 21:05

6 Answers 6


looks like the solution would be to use filters on this kind of view. And it might be worth trying to group these entities into higher orders.

The 17 colours isn't going to work as one colour isn't going to be distinct enough to another entity.

Can you group these things by other metrics? Say room size?

  • the higher order would be type, which there are 2: boat or banquet hall. I think that would not be distinctive enough Dec 14, 2017 at 14:51
  • would it be better to use a light/dark version of the same color which would knock the 17 different colors down to 9? Or, would that imply 'sameness' with the 2 entities sharing the same root color? Dec 14, 2017 at 14:52
  • I think folks wont use the unique identifier of colour. You need to do more research to figure out how folks choose a venue and group that way. I've built a room booking system for a client and your approach is not what would have worked. Users like to see what's available and then filter down based on some attributes of the venue.
    – colmcq
    Dec 15, 2017 at 9:21

You could try to group places by type:

  • vehicles (boats) - shades of blue,
  • outside venues - shades of green,
  • indoors - shades of red,
  • single rooms (bedrooms) - shades of yellow.

Then show icons underneath.

This way, if you are looking for a Hall, you know at least that it's going to be red and it's easier to locate.

Example of grouping:

  • better, but I'd ditch the shades and just keep colours
    – colmcq
    Dec 15, 2017 at 9:23

Does this need to be on a calendar, or would a listing view work? Each week could be grouped by day or venue. Thumbnails, as others have suggested, can provide a quick distinction. Lasvegas.com has an interesting layout to consider.

enter image description here


Is there actually a use case where your client will want to view all 17 venues at once in the week?

Maybe first you could start off by getting the user to select which venue slots they are looking at, then pop up the selected venues on the week? Without knowing exactly how the flow looks I'm not sure if this would work. But maybe the idea helps...

Edit: Thumbnail images of the venues might be an alternative to colours. Either thumbnails or you could use separate views for let's say boats and banquet halls. Thereby cutting the amount of colors for each view. Your client may not want two views however...

  • thanks for the feedback. The client wants to see all activity for a given week. They will be able to filter by a specific inventory item (a specific boat or banquet hall) or by inventory type (all boats or all banquet halls). Dec 14, 2017 at 14:16
  • 1
    Interesting problem you have here. If all venues need to be seen in one view then I suppose thumbnail images of the venues rather than colours would be the only other alternative. Dec 14, 2017 at 14:33
  • thumbnail may be the way to go. Thoughts on using light/dark version of the same color? This would knock the color count from 17 to 9. Would that imply 'sameness' between 2 entities sharing the root color? Dec 14, 2017 at 15:14
  • Tom, without doing a study to back this up, I would say yes it would imply sameness. How would you go about grouping them in the first place for those colours if they are separate entities? Or could you have two calendar views - one for boat venues and one for banquets? Would this be feasible? Dec 14, 2017 at 19:25

I strongly recommend avoiding using purely colors for categorizing content:

Instead, I'd recommend:

I'd also recommend to possibly provide either a graph (bar chart perhaps), or some data giving a number on how many bookings each venue has:

  • on average (maybe over a certain time period)

  • the current week

  • maybe with some suggestions by the system on what to book instead (to balance the bookings better)

I'd be happy to become more precise in my answer, but then I need to better understand the goal of the user. What is the use case?


What about using IdentIcon? Best to use a cleaner looking visual though, like they use on github. You could implement some colour-coding there too, so all boat-location icons have a blue hue, but in light of accessibility you might also want to make them all group visually - like with a wavy line (water) at the bottom, a roof for indoor .. some form of unification element.

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