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8 Colour Scheme Trends in Mobile App Design

We explore the latest mobile colour scheme trends and discuss some inspiring examples where they have been used effectively.

iPad design

Colour schemes are an ever-changing, ever-evolving aspect of mobile app design. Over the past years, we have seen a shift in trends from heavy use of colours throughout mobile app elements, to more minimal use of colour, with much more focused palettes being used. As well as this, there has been a move towards using more white space alongside high contrast, experimental colours.

The last year or two has also seen subtle colours introduced for shadows, replacing their traditional grayscale counterparts that were previously so common. Gradients have also made their way back into mobile apps, this time using high-contrast complementary colours to introduce a bold and visually impactful style to the user interface.

We are going to look further into eight mobile colour scheme trends and discuss some inspiring examples which implement them highly effective.

01. Minimal Colour Usage With Focused Palettes

Minimal Color Usage With Focused Palettes color scheme trends in mobile app design

The above example highlights a trend with minimal colour usage alongside an abundance of white space. This has been implemented perfectly, with a clear two-colour palette which provides enough visual separation between linked and active elements, without going overboard with colour. The use of colour and whitespace aligns very well with Apple hardware and provides a cohesive feel between the software and hardware. It’s minimal but balanced and effective – a trend that looks set to continue through 2016 and into 2017.

02. High Contrast, Experimental Colours

High Contrast, Experimental tones color scheme trends in mobile app design

With the introduction of iOS 7 a few years ago, Apple began a trend that introduced very high contrast colours into mobile user interfaces. Bright pinks, greens, royal blues, and reds are now commonplace in mobile designs and provide a stunning contrast that is both clear and visually impactful. This example utilizes the trend effectively, giving the app an exciting yet minimal and refined feel.

03. Subtle Coloured Shadows

Subtle Colored Shadows color scheme trends in mobile app design

Another mobile design trend that has come to fruition over the past year is the introduction of coloured shadows. Where previously we would see monochrome shadows, we now often see shadows consisting of bright but muted colours, such as blues, pinks, and yellows. This provides a beautiful visual effect, especially when placed on a complimentary muted background colour such as above.

04. Bold, Bright Coloured Iconography

Bold, Bright Colored Iconography color scheme trends in mobile app design

In line with the trends above, it has also become commonplace to differentiate icons using bold, vibrant colours. The app above, for example, uses five separate contrasting colours to separate actions and elements. The result is an interface that is visually impactful and easy to understand.

05. Pastel, Muted Colours

Pastel, Muted Colors color scheme trends in mobile app design

Pastel and muted colours have been in use for a while, however, we’re beginning to see some really quite stunning implementations of such colours alongside other mobile trends. The results, such as above, provide great separation and balance while maintaining a design that is a pleasure to use.

06. Blacks

blacks color scheme trends in mobile app design

While black is not technically a colour, this trend at least reflects the lack thereof. The trend toward more minimal interface designs has brought with it the use of very minimal colour usage, including often simply using black, white, and greys. The above is a great example of this and uses them effectively without straying towards brutal minimalism.

07. High-Contrast, Complimentary Gradients

High-Contrast, Complimentary Gradients color scheme trends in mobile app design

Gradients have changed considerably over the past few years. Where before we used to see fairly subtle same-colour gradients being used for UI elements, we now see more and more designers implementing high-contrast gradients that use complementary colours. This provides a really quite beautiful effect when used as above. The transition from blue to purple gives depth and contrast to the interface and creates some eye-catching visual effects when combined with patterns and imagery.

08. Colourful Illustrations

Colorful Illustrations color scheme trends in mobile app design

Illustration is becoming more abundant in mobile apps, particularly in onboarding flows. Colour trends within these illustrations have progressed towards using very colourful and bold palettes. When combined with a minimal interface, this has a great contrasting effect such as above, and can really help bring a mobile app to life.