My iPhone wallpaper is a dark bluish-green top to bottom gradient. Why? I’m glad you asked.
My iOS 6 homescreen wallpaper was solid black, partly for historical reasons (the iOS homescreen had a black background before you could customize it.) but mostly for contrast. iOS 6 and previous versions had shiny icons, which worked out nicely with it. iOS 7 has icons with solid black backgrounds like Clock and Compass, and solid white backgrounds like Calendar and Notes. Even though I wanted something as dark as my soul, lazy solutions like solid black (or solid white for that matter) were out of the question.
I needed a color then. My favorite colors are more to the cooler side of the wheel, plus cool colors don’t stand out much, suiting backgrounds more. Just by looking at a color wheel I knew I basically had the choice between blue and green. I didn’t want blue. Everything is blue already. Both on iOS and on my dock. There’s too much blue in my computer life.
So I chose dark green. It needed to be distinct from the green I already have on the icons, and it needed to fit the “weird” colors theme on iOS. The teal-cyan gradient in the Videos icon was a good inspiration, and later on became a big influence on the life of the artist. You just don’t see that color that often on UIs. A rebel icon. With those ideals in mind, I just played with the hue slider to get to a sufficiently weird dark green.
I had something distinctive yet fitting with the iOS 7 personality. But I still wasn’t there yet. I was almost there, but not entirely there. The answer was obviously a gradient. Gradients are usually dark-light-dark or light-dark-light to simulate a button in different states, so I needed to avoid that. Light on top, dark on the bottom implies a light source is coming from above, and it’s the type of gradient used on Settings and Camera, two of my least favorite iOS 7 icons. Dark on top, light on the bottom is the gradient used for Mail, Weather, and iCloud. See a pattern? All blue icons that either had or need an effect that resembles the sky. What better analogy to have for an OS as light and airy as iOS 7 than the open sky as the background? Plenty of default wallpapers use it, too.
But there’s more to the gradient! (#thoughtoutgradients) The gradient direction clash between Mail and Safari was the source of much controversy when iOS 7 was introduced. This kinda turned out to be a defining feature of the homescreen. By having it when most other apps use gradients in the different direction, I’m maximizing this clash for effect.
There’s a third bonus reason for this gradient too. By having the darkness on top, it improves the contrast for text-only elements (battery, clock, network status) compared with elements that don’t rely so much on text, icons. And as the dock blur brightens up the color anyway, this gradient direction feels natural within the homescreen.
So the answer for the initial question can be summed up like this: It’s a dark cool color for contrast and because I like bland colors. It’s a top to bottom gradient because I think way too hard about things like this.
I didn’t want to post a screenshot of my homescreen, because as a whole, it’s not there yet. I’m still waiting on Tweetbot, Droplr, Comic Zeal and iBooks (wtf) to update. Prompt and iTeleport could improve too, but they’re mostly fine as it is. However, I just couldn’t resist writing a post justifying a gradient.
Ps. I use it as my lockscreen wallpaper too, the reasoning for that is a whole ‘nother blog post though.
Pps. I hope this doesn’t get picked up by the internet. I sound quite ridiculous.