The light system gray defined by Apple Guidelines for iOS12 (and used by the default color scheme of the UI controls), is defined as #EFEFF4 (HSB(240,2,96)). It means that the hue is a little bit blue. The new guidelines (iOS13), also use the same Hue/Sat combination but with more variations for the Brightness.

I'll like to learn why Apple designers choose to do that. I imagine that the intention was to change the overall UI tone (like the Glaze painting technique). But I wonder if there is any additional information about that

Why blue? It looks better to the eye or to the iPhone color profile? Or it was a decision to make it look better with space gray color of the iPhone/iPad?

  • I'm just guessing her: I have noticed that people (my clients) have a tendency to like images with a golden/orange tint more than images with cooler/blue tones. I guess it's because it gives associations to sunshine/warmth. Having a slightly blue background on everything will make all images seem a tiny bit warmer in comparison which might attract consumers?
    – Wolff
    Jun 6, 2019 at 20:47
  • 4
    I'd guess the opposite reason: typical viewing of the phone or iPad will be in either sunlight (3-5K kelvin colour temp or above) or in artificial light, much of which has a slight orange cast - by slightly blueing the UI, they renomalise and make their UI seem cleaner white - least, that'd be my guess. Jun 6, 2019 at 20:54
  • 1
    Excellent guess @GerardFalla I'd suspect, if there is a technical reason you may be very close to the mark.
    – Scott
    Jun 6, 2019 at 21:05
  • 1
    I follow you @GerardFalla. It sounds plausible. I'm just wondering (still guessing here): If you only see Apple UI it might not matter much whether it's completely neutral because your eyes will quickly adapt and believe that the gray you are seeing is in fact neutral - no matter if it's slightly orange or slightly blue. But content from other sources (which doesn't have that slightly blue Apple correction) will look warmer in comparison. So the UI might look more neutral, but it will force other content to look more orange. Or am I totally wrong here?
    – Wolff
    Jun 6, 2019 at 21:22
  • 3
    A paper salesman once told me that neutral color is a social construct, as well as a ambient light construct. So people living higher latitudes equate blesih tints with clean and white, while people closer to the equator like orange sometimes brownish whites and grays more. But also if you pik the whitiest paper in your portfolio before flying form 60th parallel to equator you will find that its not whitest paper at the equator.
    – joojaa
    Jun 7, 2019 at 9:23


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.