The Psychology of App Design

4 min read
May 24, 2022

Did you know that the colour of an app can affect how users feel and the behaviour they exhibit? In this blog post, we will discuss the principles of colour psychology and how it applies to the visual side of mobile application design. We will look at how, as a designer, you can use different colours to create different emotions and reactions in your user. We will also provide some tips on how to use colour to achieve good engagement rates for your app. Understanding the psychology of app design is key to having a successful app and happy users.

What is Colour Psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of how colours can affect our emotions and behaviour. It is a key theory in the design world. Different colours can evoke different feelings in people, especially when used within apps. For example, the colour red is often associated with anger or danger, while the colour green or blue is associated with calmness or relaxation. The use of colour in the design of your apps can be used to create a desired emotion or behaviour in users based on the goal you want those users to achieve.

When choosing the colour palette for your apps, it is important to consider what feeling you want your users to experience and what behaviour you want them to exhibit. Do you want your app to be calming and relaxing? Or do you want it to be exciting and energising? Once you have decided on the feeling you want to create, you can choose colours to evoke this feeling.

Cultural Differences

It is also important to consider the different meanings of colours in various cultures. For example, the colour white is often associated with purity and innocence in Western cultures. However, in Eastern cultures, the colour white is often associated with death and mourning.

Mobile app design

When choosing colours for your app, make sure to consider the different cultural associations of colours for your user. This will help ensure that your app is designed in a culturally appropriate way.


When using colour in your app design, it is also important to consider the amount of contrast between the foreground and background colours. Too much contrast can be overwhelming for users and make it difficult to read text. Conversely, too little contrast can make text appear washed out and difficult to read. Finding the right balance of contrast is important for creating an app that is easy to use and navigate for every single user.

App design accessibility

When it comes to accessibility, your app design should also take into account users who are colourblind. Approximately eight per cent of men and five per cent of women are colourblind, so some of your users will experience these difficulties. When designing your app, consider using a colour palette that will be accessible to all users, regardless of their level of colour vision.

Colour Motivation

A successful app design should motivate the user to achieve some objective and is a key psychology principle. Colour is one of the principal ways that designers can do this. Colour plays a huge part in the branding and personification of your mobile app. Different colours will have a different effect on the psychology of your users.

Creating a hierarchy of colours is a way of using colour to indicate to a user the relative importance of different elements on the screen and is a primary principle when it comes to affecting user behaviour. Making certain elements stand out by using lots of colours and keeping other elements quite light in colour will help to guide the user’s attention.

App user focus

Colour Psychology Top Tips

Here are some top tips for using colour in your app design:

  1. Choose a colour scheme that reflects the personality of your app and ensure your designer understands the brand. This is the quickest way to get a user to understand your product.
  2. Your app’s colour scheme should be in line with its overall tone and message. If your app is fun and light-hearted, then you might want to use bright, cheerful colours. If your app is more serious or business-focused, then you might want to use a more muted colour palette.
  3. Think about the colours that are most associated with your app’s genre, industry, or target market. For example, if you are designing an e-commerce app for a luxury fashion brand, then you might want to use a glamorous colour scheme of black, white, and gold.
  4. Consider the different meanings of colours in different cultures. As mentioned before, the colour white can have very different associations in Eastern and Western cultures. Make sure to choose colours that will be appropriate for your app’s global audience and won’t offend the user.
  5. Pay attention to the level of contrast between foreground and background colours. Too much contrast can make text difficult to read for your users.


As you can see, there are many factors to consider when looking at the psychology of app design. By taking the time to think about the emotions you want your users to experience (and the behaviour a user might demonstrate), you can create a successful and engaging app. So what do you think about using colour psychology in mobile app design? Let us know!

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