I am trying to figure out if I should add status lights to my design system or if I could use the labels I already have instead. They are both defined in Adobe Spectrum but I don't quite understand in which context I would use status lights. I wanted to ask if anyone has a clear definition of when to use each.

Status lights

Adobe Spectrum status lights screenshot


Adobe Spectrum labels screenshot

Thanks a lot in advance!

1 Answer 1


I think the way I'd look at this is that a status label is communicating a single piece of information (in your example a status) but a label is potentially communicating several concepts together e.g. Active & Beginner

Both have the capability to include semantic colouring, but I wouldn't rely on that alone to communicate the message.

You could happily use labels to serve the purpose of a status light conceptually, so I think the decision is likely down to:

  • Personal preference, do you want to have two components?
  • Conflation of concepts, do you want to have labels communicate many things? Does it become confusing if you have screens which show both a status (as a label) and a label for something different?

Ultimately you should make this decision based on the needs of your system considering the tradeoffs between more components and re-using the same component for different reasons. If you're just starting out it may be easier to start with your labels, and wait for a strong reason to create a distinct component to avoid additional work, maintenance and potentially clarity issues about when to use each.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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