CS 552, Spring 1998

General Guidelines Based on Color Studies and Practice

Adapted from Gerald M. Murch, 1984, "Physiological Principles for the Effective Use of Color," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Nov 1984, pp. 49-54.


(1) Avoid the simultaneous display of highly saturated, spectrally extreme colors.


(2) Pure blue should be avoided for text, thin lines, and small shapes.


(3) Avoid adjacent colors that differ only in the amount of blue.


(4) Older operators need higher brightness levels to distinguish colors.


(5) Colors change in appearance as the ambient light level changes.


(6) The magnitude of a detectable change in color varies across the spectrum.


(7) It is difficult to focus upon edges created by color alone.


(8) Avoid red and green in the periphery of large-scale displays.


(9) Opponent colors go well together.


(10) For color-deficient observers, avoid single-color distinctions.