Blue IS my favorite color, but others are nice as well…

blue iconsOccasionally, when I’m in a hurry to open my Twitter app, I mistakenly click on my email. Or my WordPress app. Or LinkedIn. Or the remote app for the Apple TV.

Why? Because they’re all blue!

This morning, my iPad was showing me a bunch of apps that needed updating (don’t ask me why it was showing me this rather than just updating them automatically as usual; I suppose I’ll have to go in and reset something), and every single icon showing on the page was blue.

And note that some of the most obvious blue icons that come to mind — Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox — weren’t even represented in this list.

Why is that? Is there research showing that that’s the most desirable color for an app? Is that evidence so powerful that it prevents developers from even having the thought, “Maybe I should make my icon stand out from the others?”

And does anyone besides me think this is odd?

OK, now… as I frequently do, I wrote the above without taking the trouble to Google, “why are so many app icons blue?” Before clicking “publish,” I decided I would. Like most questions that occur to me, this one had apparently been asked a gazillion times. (You know, I was a far more original thinker before Google came along.)

None of the answers were totally satisfactory to me. Yeah, OK, so blue is the most common favorite color on the planet, across cultures, genders, etc. It’s a safe choice for someone trying to appeal to a wide audience, not as edgy as, say, the execrable orange.

Got it. In fact, I sort of knew that stuff without asking. But still, it seems more developers would look at that sea of blue on their smartphone screens and think, “I want to stand out.”

But they don’t. Because they’re not such original thinkers either, apparently…

5 thoughts on “Blue IS my favorite color, but others are nice as well…

  1. Doug Ross

    Red or green probably don’t work well for color blind people. Most of my icons on my phone are blue except for one orange (Podcast Addict), Google which has red, green, yellow, and blue… Bank of America (all red/white),Yahoo mail (purple).

    I’m sure there is some human factors research that supports it.

  2. Norm Ivey

    Not sure that this is related, but blue is visible at the greatest distance. Given three lights–red, blue, yellow–receding from you, the red light will disappear first, then the yellow light and finally the blue light. The normal-vision eye is most sensitive to a bright green color.

    It’s probably more psychological. Blue pleases us, though my personal favorite is a deep green.


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