What is the correlation between an app's category (food and drink, social networking, financial, etc.) and the color scheme it uses?

Are there any solid, researched-backed reasons behind choosing specific colors for different types? Is there a list of common or best practices when deciding a theme? Or is it all because everyone else is doing it?

Related UX Quetions

I have also found the following related questions on UX. I feel that they cover why a specific category might use certain colors, but not the general correlation.

  1. Social Networking - Blue
  2. Financial - Black/Grey

NOTE: If this becomes too subjective, we can turn it into a community wiki to answer the more general question of: "I am making an app for the ____ category, which color should I use?"

3 Answers 3


I couldnt find any research on how colors correlate to the color design scheme in mobiles but I did find this interesting article on the relation between colors and the type of content that is being presented on the website. To quote the article :

For companies that are centered on food and dining, use red and yellow a lot. These colors are attractive and easy to spot. Warm hues and solid colors are recommended. This is because the color red and yellow induces hunger by speeding up metabolism. This will increase the diner’s appetite, making them order more food than they should have

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Makeup and Hygiene Products

Choose colors that convey femininity, grace and cleanliness. Light, pastel colors like white, lavenders, light blues and light pinks are a great choice

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Government Agencies, Public Offices, NGOs and Organizations

When creating something for government and public agencies or organizations, keep in mind that it should appear respectable, trustworthy and dignified. Choose colors that are positive and cool, such as greens and blues. These cool colors provide a positive, public image that’s solid and built on trust. Government and NGOs love using reds, whites and blues for their logos after the US American flag. These colors are also a sign of nationalism and integrity.Choose the monochromatic or analogous color scheme. Minimize on using contrasting colors.

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Please continue reading at the article to see some more examples.

However since most apps are adaptations of existing sites, they would prefer to use the color scheme used in the website to maintain branding guidelines. However other apps would also choose their color scheme depending on their content and the general tone of what they are trying to convey.

A Basic Guide To Choosing Colors For The Mobile Web

Colour combinations and mood

Here is another excellent article which talks about the relation between colors and the branding guidelines and how that influences the logo design: Colour: User Experience And Psychology

  • Great read, thanks for sharing. I will keep this as the accepted answer unless someone shares something more mobile specific. Sep 12, 2012 at 16:27

I am not aware of research specific to mobile apps. However, research into color and psychology is a previously explored topic. You linked to a ux.se article that mentions it, but there is more out there.

As a quick reference, take a look at:





I'm not sure how well it answers your question directly, but an interesting resource could be the App Wall from WWDC 2010.

WWDC App Wall

You could look through that to see where your app fits, and what apps are similar to it. In any case, it was a pretty cool visualization.

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