Coloring Outside The Lines: Creative Use of Color in Accessible Design
Color Use and Accessible Design
Using color in design doesn't have to be just intended for decorative reasons or visual appeal; the use of color can have SO many purposes. Color not only adds vibrancy and style to a room BUT, in the world of accessibility and inclusive design, color is also strategically used for SO many other reasons!
1) Color contrast - those with low vision need spaces and furnishings clearly defined. Using light and dark colors in contrast to each other helps.
2) Setting the mood- different colors have different "vibes" or moods associated with them. Using color to define the mood of a room can help calm or excite or reassure. For those who have difficulty with emotional management or have experienced trauma, using color is a great way to help facilitate a positive mood.
3) Camouflaging- for those who tend to wander or have exit seeking tendencies (such as those with dementia diagnoses), using color to camouflage doors and spaces that may be unsafe is a very subtle way to redirect focus without causing frustration.
4) Warning- Color is a universal signal that can communicate caution or warning for those who may not understand the language, are unable to read or have cognitive impairment.
5) Emphasize importance- Color can communicate priorities and can help direct attention and emphasize important information.
In most cases, the colors selected achieve several purposes. Ultimately, great design should create a beautiful and inviting space for those who are using the space...inclusive design simply achieves that purpose using a very specialized approach to serve a distinctive clientele.