The color of caution


I recently saw a few pictures of Braun’s original coffee grinder design. What struck me the most about it was their smart use of color. In particular, the place that you hold down on the lid and the button that starts the grinder were both red, while nothing else used any bright colors. At a glance, the user could immediately tell where to focus their attention.

I’m surprised we don’t see this more frequently in modern products. Specifically, color coding would be great on toasters, kettles, popcorn makers, and anything else that gets hot while in use. The designers could either use red or orange or yellow on the hot areas, or something like green or blue on the ones that are safe to touch. While people are pretty good at figuring out the surfaces to avoid, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to provide a little bit of guidance from the start.