... they would look exactly how they do now.
When colour labels made a return in
But this doesn't mean that I was happy when I saw the new implementation. It wasn't a matter of functionality, but one of visual design. Consider this:
Somehow this look immediately made me think of
In his book Visual Explanations, Edward Tufte explains the principle of the smallest effective difference, which implies using the most subtle visual distinctions that still achieve the desired effect. The word effective is important here. There's no point using the smallest perceivable difference if it doesn't tell the story you want it to tell. In case of Finder labels, I see two possible desired effects:
- To allow you to quickly spot all the files of a particular colour, whose meaning you have memorised, e.g., "All archived stuff is grey."
- To bring certain files to your attention that you have previously marked with that intention, e.g., "I must review this document, so I'll make it red to remind myself later."
So applying the principle of the smallest effective difference for Finder labels would mean finding a set of colours that fulfil these two purposes when set against the white background of a window.
You can now easily read all the folder names and ignore the labels if you wish, but you can still choose to focus on all the files of a particular colour. Toning down the labels also makes the selection much more prominent. (Also notice I tried to improve how the labels of selected items are shown.) Although the colours look paler, they are still bright enough to have an attention-grabbing quality, especially in isolation:
It's a real shame how simple, proven design principles like this are ignored for the sake of eye candy (and not very good eye candy in this case). I think what we need is an option in the system preferences to switch from "Shop Demonstration Mode" to "Work Mode".