I have this mobile app design. I am not able to decide what color to use for the top bar so that it gives a good contrast but doesn't make the design look odd or weird. I am currently using #212121 for the top bar and #111111 for the background. Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks in advance !!

PS: I read the guidelines for critique questions, hope I am following them?

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  • Could you provide more information about the app? Or perhaps more examples of what colors you've tried? Commented May 27, 2016 at 20:39
  • @ZachSaucier Its a music app. Initially I tried a darker top bar, #000000 (i.e black) and also red. Red one made the focus shift completely to the top bar. The black one didn't look good. I am using the same background color in all tabs and the background color works well. I can't decide about the top bar.
    – varunkr
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 20:47
  • Do you have a color scheme that you're working with? Have you tried different shades of red or using a gradient? Are there any design guidelines you need to meet? Commented May 27, 2016 at 21:55
  • Thanks for the reply !! Its an independent app I am working on. I am not a designer so I am not much familiar with the term 'color scheme'. No I didn't try different shades or gradient with red.
    – varunkr
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 22:09
  • 1
    A color scheme is a group of colors that are defined to be used for a design. They are made to look good together. Google it to find out more! They are quite useful and there a lot of color palette generators Commented May 27, 2016 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


Colours can be a tricky thing so I would suggest that in future when designing a wireframe for your apps you work in grayscale (See step 7 here). This would help you to avoid this problem later on in your workflow as you would have an idea of where to incorporate light and dark values.

In addition, as you mentioned that you are not a designer - instead of using time to make your own colour schemes from scratch, you could try scrolling through colour schemes on sites such as Adobe Kuler. This will give you the opportunity to see how different colours interact with each other or to change the shades on a colour scheme that is close to one you like.

If your interest is sparked though I would suggest resources such as Color for Designers: 95 things you need to know when choosing and using colors for layouts and illustrations by Jim Krause it's a handy book that is broken into concise topics after covering the basics in the first 3 chapters so I tend to use it to thumb through for reference if I'm feeling a little stuck or want something to read :) I've linked his site as he has several other resources (such as Lynda tutorials) that also cover the topic of colour.

Of course this is just one example of multiple resources that are widely available on the topic so I would suggest a little exploring. There is also a great deal of colour theory material for non-designers such as this crash course or books such as The Non-Designers Handbook.

Hope this has been helpful :)

  • Thanks for the detailed answer !! Just one little question, do you think the current color scheme is OK, in case I decide to go with it?
    – varunkr
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 3:20
  • Well, that's an entirely subjective thing so I would leave it up to you.
    – Jenna
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 11:18

Contrast is light and dark so if you are using dark colors everywhere use a lighter gray - for monochromatic.

but you should definitely try to incorporate a color scheme, such as material design. http://www.materialpalette.com/

Good luck!

  • Material design is far from a color scheme. It is a way of looking at design - a set of guidelines. Could you also add more detail as to what you're talking about with contrast? Commented May 27, 2016 at 23:21
  • Material design is definitely a color scheme and then it also has a design language. its vibrant colors you won't sell dull or dark colors in material design... for color it all depends what ur brand is, black goes well with pretty much anything, so it would be up to your brand guidelines. in my personal opinions Blue or Red would look good - if you go with green it will look too much like spotify Commented May 27, 2016 at 23:28

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