Now this is an odd thing to cover here, but nothing interesting should be off limits. There’s a popular game for the iPhone and iPad which caught my eye because it has the most remarkable use of color. The designer is Andreas Illiger and in addition to being able to design a fun, playable game, he has a real eye for interesting color combinations.
The basic structure of the game is to play a bird with tiny wings who flies and slides and glides over a series of hills trying to achieve various objectives. The hills are idealized and done in two or three tone stripe patterns and what stands out is the color pairings Illiger has made with those striped patterns. They are bold and unusual yet very effective, with a really eye-pleasing softness despite the vividness of the colors. The colors are rather reminiscent of some of the pop art of the 1970s or of the far out fabric designs of legendary Finnish design firm Marimekko from that period.
Textures and shadows play their part too. Illiger consistently uses a subtle texture which provides patches of slight variation of color which softens the overall look, and shadows add another level of variation. But it all comes down to the choices of colors and the juxtaposition of strongly contrasting colors really works. Pink and bright green, dark blue and gold, blood orange and a light green. None of the colors are pure primary colors, but their vividness and the contrasts work extraordinarily well. Playing the game makes me want to design graphics in the color schemes it features and that is a the highest compliment.