Color Coding for Business Applications

Choosing Colors



There are plenty of articles about how humans perceive and form associations with certain colors. However, in the case of informational organization, it might not be relevant that purple connotes royalty or blue is calming. The most important factor to consider when choosing colors for coding information is how different the colors are from each other, and from the other colors used in the application.

business applications two color coding examples
Coded colors differentiate the UI systems of each module, reinforcing the user's comprehension of the application.



Beyond differentiation, select colors that match or extend the look and feel of the application's existing branding. As you craft your prototypes, look for opportunities to feature a range of coded colors together. Make sure that each color works independently and as part of the group. An excellent resource for selecting modern colors that play well together is Material's Color System. Beyond offering up some bright and punchy color palettes, the folks at Material have taken great care in explaining the theory behind why these colors work. Learn those rules, and then go out and break them with confidence.


For an in-depth analysis of how Khan Academy uses (and doesn't use) color coding effectively, click here to read this article on Prototypr​.

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