Color Code

Beware the Color-Code Trap

By Nancy Bartels

  • Beware the color-code trap. Just because you can display 16.8 million colors on your screen doesn't mean you should.
  • Use colors sparingly and consistently.  Develop a color palette and use it across the board.
  • Use bright colors only to call attention to abnormal situations.
  • Use alarm colors, such as yellow and red, solely to depict alarm conditions
  • Use gray scale. It is less distracting and easier on the eyes.
  • Never use color by itself as the sole differentiator of an important process condition. Instead use the color along with a descriptor. (See Figure)