Don’t let your color palette be an airball

In this article, you’ll uncover tips on how to create a color palette that empowers your people and helps tell your product’s story.

Zack Gehin ☀️
Published in
6 min readAug 16, 2017


It’s no secret that designers have been painting user interfaces with light-colored, eye-straining palettes in attempt to look modern and fresh. But has anyone stopped and wondered: does this color palette support the people’s experience, match the personas, and support the environment people are using the app in?

Does your color palette support the user experience in environments where people commonly use your app?

If you’re not one to read introductions and stories, skip down to the tips section.

In recent news

Last week, Atlassian released a vibrant new UI and brand style. Atlasssian and its product—Confluence—is now painted with a vibrant color palette and the text is displayed in the Spotify and Airbnb font — Circular.

Bright and vibrant. Screams artsy, native, geometric. But is it a fit for developers?

It’s clear the design team has followed the Spotify design system approach, which isn’t wrong to do, but also doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. In this case, it’s like a jock dressing up as a nerd and a nerd dressing up as a jock. I’m sorry for referencing stereotypes, but seriously. This isn’t halloween—right?

A developer from across the office unleashed his feedback on Slack…

From excited to…

The colors are too bright for my tired eyes.

Let’s not strain peoples eyes, let’s not contribute to daily stressors, let’s not make people feel uncomfortable.

Let’s start giving color the time it deserves. Let’s give the design process enough time in order to cultivate a natural, consistent palette—through trial and error—that helps bring people together, helps people utilize our apps, and helps make people feel great using our apps.