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Gradient colour for apps icon refers to the mysterious and romantic colour transition of an object from bright to dark, deep to shallow, or from one colour to a different. At the very beginning, when the flat design has just risen, designers were keeping away the gradient in composition. However, since Instagram changed the brand from the classic Polaroid camera to a brightly coloured flat icon, the rise in app design is gradually making a comeback.

The reason for gradient’s rise is that flat design colour combinations are effortless to cause homogeneity. If designers pursue a design language with rich visual, the gradient is the most suitable option. Let’s take a glance at the samples of gradient colour utilized in the mobile APP.

1. Colour Overlay

As Instagram changed its icons and UI, Instagram lead designer Ian Spalter wrote a post about the icon change on Medium. “If the lens may be a bridge into the bolder, simpler glyph, the rainbow may be a bridge into the colourful gradient. Colour has always been an enormous a part of Instagram — you see it within the classic app icon, filters, and therefore the community’s photos and videos.

Color Overlay Apps Icon
Source: Media Active

When we started reimagining the rainbow, we checked out more minimal options. However, ultimately we would have liked more warmth and energy to enrich the glyph.” Instagram captures the core elements of the first logo: the rainbow, the lens, and therefore the viewfinder, which created a minimalistic and vibrant rainbow of images with a multi-angle, multi-layered overlay on the background. Specifically, this icon mainly uses a group of the linear diagonal gradient, plus two sets of spherical radial gradient overlay, using colour wisely in UI design.

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2. Use of Pastel, Muted Colors

The mobile UI design isn’t a matter during which one size is suitable for all. There are numerous reasons for this, and one among them is that a mobile app may be a ‘System of Engagement’ or (SoE). It does not need to be a transaction system, referred to as ‘Systems of Record’ or (SoR). There are fixed users for SoR; for instance, a company-internal web app has its functional users.

muted colour apps icon
Source: Reddit

Such users don’t have a choice. Whether the UI is exciting or not, users need to use it. However, in SoEs, a user has many options. If they find any UI boring, they’re going to not return to the app. Now, you want to confine mind that users aren’t a monolithic entity. they’re many, and each one among them has unique needs. The mobile app ecosystem isn’t a monolithic entity to thanks to numerous use cases.

An app must appeal consistent with its use case. For instance, a live-streaming music app signifies fast speed action. At the same time, a private finance app needs calm and funky analysis. Each app features a different appeal. The UI must be consistent with the characteristics of the app for the creation of that appeal. There’s an excessive number of apps that bold colours are unsuitable. Low/medium saturation, soft or subdued shade and cozy colours are more suitable. Pastel colours are being proven ideal for such apps.

3. Gradient overlays on the image

Adding gradient overlays on the background and head image can strengthen the sense of wholeness, making the user conscious of other more important and crucial elements that enhance the page’s readability. The effect of this design on the large image is particularly noticeable. Additionally, the public image is going to be more mysterious, elegant and attractive.

instagram colour icon
Source: Codeburst

It would help if you also concentrated on the choice of the background image, picture content and tone. All the weather got to be consistent; the utilization of translucent could make the image more delicate. The gradient must strengthen the readability of the page information and can’t be decorated for adornment.


Under the rapid development of mobile APP, the gradient in app design may be a result of the continual improvement of people’s aesthetic level. Within the UI design, the rise is usually used with the shadow and external light to reinforce its three-dimensional effect. Although the gradient is extremely hot within the current design trend, its unique style remains supported by the requirements of the APP itself. So it can’t feature a negative impact on function and readability.

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This article inspired by: Hackernoon and Codeburst article