I'm currently building a desktop app and decided to go with dark UI. I got really inspired by the tools I use for web development (mainly Atom text editor), which have nice dark UI designs. So I started designing in Adobe XD and I'm currently happy with my UI design. But...

I have noticed that the gray colors I used in the design are purely gray with no tint of any other primary colors, which is not the case in almost all dark UI designs that I have seen so far.

Let's compare my colors to Atom text editor's.

Atom's background: #2c3037
Atom's side panel: #262a2f

My background: #262626
My side panel: #1E1E1E

Atom UI

My App:
Dark UI

Atom's colors both have a slight tint of blue in them while mine has none (absolutely gray).

So my question is: Is there a reason/theory to choose dark colors like Atom's? What is the connection between the tint in the gray and the choice of the designer?

I would appreciate any guidance.

  • 2
    To those voting to close this as opinion-based: If making decisions like this is completely opinion-based, the profession of a graphic designer would be a scam.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 2, 2019 at 15:11
  • @Wrzlprmft The way the question is phrased is "why do people do this" and that would vary depending on which design one chooses to study because most likely they have different reasons. Some as simple as "it's what other people do" Feb 2, 2019 at 15:29
  • 1
    @ZachSaucier: I think it is safe to assume that the question presumes that there is some design-based rationale to this. Even a short list of possible reasons would be a valuable answer. And if there is no design-based rationale behind this, this would also be a valid answer.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 2, 2019 at 15:33
  • I think our difference is in that you understand "why is ___" to have a design rational behind it because of the nature of the site whereas I view it more generically and would like to see the question be more explicit in requesting possible design rational Feb 2, 2019 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


I think the choice of a shade of tinted gray favors the personality of the application. As the comparison in the images of the question shows: the interface that only have pure black and white grays looks like an MS2 screen, which entails a perception of antiquity, expiration, old age.

Choosing a tinted shade of gray doesn't have to be casual, on the contrary, it can reinforce the image of an application if it's related to its corporate image colors, as it happens in the Atom interface.

There are several examples, https://www.di.fm/ use an interface in bluish gray tones related to their logo.

enter image description here

Does your application has a logo? Use it as a reference color.

  • 1
    Thank you @Danielillo for the expressive answer. Feb 2, 2019 at 14:51

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