Storing global styles and utilizing them throughout view controllers

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Assuming an app has many display styles, fonts, colors, etc., and that we never want to hardcode values, I’ve created an AppVariables object that houses properties for all of the necessary styles in my app:

class AppVariables: NSObject {

     * Fonts
    let UIFontPrimary10 = UIFont(name: "Heiti TC", size: 10)
    let UIFontPrimary12 = UIFont(name: "Heiti TC", size: 12)
    let UIFontPrimary14 = UIFont(name: "Heiti TC", size: 14)

    var attribsFont10: NSDictionary!
    var attribsFont12: NSDictionary!
    var attribsFont14: NSDictionary!

    var paragraphStyleFont10 = NSMutableParagraphStyle()
    var paragraphStyleFont12 = NSMutableParagraphStyle()
    var paragraphStyleFont14 = NSMutableParagraphStyle()

     * Colors
    let UIColorWhiteOff = UIColor(red: 250.0/255.0, green: 250.0/255.0, blue: 250.0/255.0, alpha: 1)
    let UIColorPurple = UIColor(red: 134.0/255.0, green: 129.0/255.0, blue: 204.0/255.0, alpha: 1)
    let UIColorPurpleLight = UIColor(red: 178.0/255.0, green: 176.0/255.0, blue: 217.0/255.0, alpha: 1)
    let UIColorBlueDark = UIColor(red: 40.0/255.0, green: 35.0/255.0, blue: 61.0/255.0, alpha: 1)
    let UIColorBlueDarkAlpha6 = UIColor(red: 40.0/255.0, green: 35.0/255.0, blue: 61.0/255.0, alpha: 0.6)
    let UIColorBlueDarkAlpha95 = UIColor(red: 40.0/255.0, green: 35.0/255.0, blue: 61.0/255.0, alpha: 0.95)

     * Dimensions and margins
    var screenWidth: CGFloat!
    var screenHeight: CGFloat!
    var viewPadding: CGFloat!
    var viewPaddingSmall: CGFloat!
    var viewWidth: CGFloat!

    init() {

        self.paragraphStyleFont10.lineSpacing = 4
        self.paragraphStyleFont12.lineSpacing = 5
        self.paragraphStyleFont14.lineSpacing = 6

        self.attribsFont10 = [NSFontAttributeName: self.UIFontPrimary10, NSParagraphStyleAttributeName: self.paragraphStyleFont10]
        self.attribsFont12 = [NSFontAttributeName: self.UIFontPrimary12, NSParagraphStyleAttributeName: self.paragraphStyleFont12]
        self.attribsFont14 = [NSFontAttributeName: self.UIFontPrimary14, NSParagraphStyleAttributeName: self.paragraphStyleFont14]

        self.screenWidth = UIScreen.mainScreen().bounds.width
        self.screenHeight = UIScreen.mainScreen().bounds.height
        self.viewPadding = (screenWidth * 0.1) / 2
        self.viewPaddingSmall = 10.0
        self.viewWidth = screenWidth - (viewPadding * 2)

Assuming I’ve instantiated a copy of AppVariables into a property of AppDelegate, I can use them like so:

class Foo {

    func bar() {

        var someLabel = UILabel()
        someLabel.textColor = self.appDelegate.appVariables.UIColorPurpleLight


Is there a better way of doing this? It seems like the simplest approach, since these are more than mere constants, but I’m open to thoughts and opinions.


  1. I think that you would be better off using static methods on a struct or class. This removes the need for you to access your style through the App Delegate. The App Delegate should only be concerned with handling the delegate callbacks from the OS, storing globally accessible values in it messes with the principle of separation of concerns and creates a spider web of dependencies hurting the reusability and understandability of your code.

  2. Lumping Fonts, Colors, Dimensions, Paragraph styles, etc. all into a single level is not very discoverable. I think it would be better to separate them into their own types.

  3. In my experience a single color is not enough to define a style. Colors almost always come associated with other colors like foreground v.s. background, or normal v.s. highlighted.

  4. It doesn’t make sense to create multiple constants for a single font of different sizes. Better to have a method that takes in a size and returns the special font with the given size.

I recently started creating a collection of “style” classes for myself. This is what I did for colors:

extension UIColor {
    convenience init(hex : Int) {
        let blue = CGFloat(hex & 0xFF)
        let green = CGFloat((hex >> 8) & 0xFF)
        let red = CGFloat((hex >> 16) & 0xFF)
        self.init(red: red / 255.0, green: green / 255.0, blue: blue / 255.0, alpha: 1)

struct DepthColor {
    enum Depth {
        case Foreground, Background

    let foreground: UIColor
    let background: UIColor

    init(foreground: Int, background: Int) {
        self.foreground = UIColor(hex: foreground)
        self.background = UIColor(hex: background)

    init() {
        self.foreground = UIColor(hex: 0xFFFFFF)
        self.background = UIColor(hex: 0)

    func colorForDepth(depth : Depth) -> UIColor {
        switch(depth) {
            case .Foreground:
                return self.foreground
            case .Background:
                return self.background

struct StyleColor {
    enum Purpose {
        case Normal, Highlighted, Disabled

    let normal : DepthColor
    let highlighted : DepthColor
    let disabled : DepthColor

    init(normal: DepthColor = DepthColor(), highlighted: DepthColor = DepthColor(), disabled: DepthColor = DepthColor()) {
        self.normal = normal
        self.highlighted = highlighted
        self.disabled = disabled

    func depthColorForPurpose(purpose : Purpose) -> DepthColor {
        switch(purpose) {
            case .Normal:
                return self.normal
            case .Highlighted:
                return self.highlighted
            case .Disabled:
                return self.disabled

    func color(_ purpose : Purpose = .Normal, _ depth: DepthColor.Depth = .Foreground) -> UIColor {
        return self.depthColorForPurpose(purpose).colorForDepth(depth)

    static func positiveAction() -> StyleColor {
        return StyleColor(
            normal: DepthColor(foreground: 0x45A332, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            highlighted: DepthColor(foreground: 0x45A332, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            disabled: DepthColor(foreground: 0x888888, background: 0xFFFFFF)

    static func deleteAction() -> StyleColor {
        return StyleColor(
            normal: DepthColor(foreground: 0xF31717, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            highlighted: DepthColor(foreground: 0xD91414, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            disabled: DepthColor(foreground: 0x888888, background: 0xFFFFFF)

    static func neutralAction() -> StyleColor {
        return StyleColor(
            normal: DepthColor(foreground: 0x666666, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            highlighted: DepthColor(foreground: 0x555555, background: 0xFFFFFF),
            disabled: DepthColor(foreground: 0x888888, background: 0xFFFFFF)

I can then get a color from a style like so:

var color = StyleColor.positiveAction().color()
color = StyleColor.positiveAction().color(.Highlighted)
color = StyleColor.positiveAction().color(.Highlighted, .Background)

This also allowed me to create subclasses of common UIKit components that allow me to simply set a StyleColor on them to fully configure them to a style:

class StyleButton: UIButton {
    var style: StyleColor = StyleColor() {
        didSet {

    init(coder aDecoder: NSCoder!, style : StyleColor) { = style

        super.init(coder: aDecoder)


    init() {
        super.init(frame: CGRect())


    func _configureView() {
        self.showsTouchWhenHighlighted = false
        self.adjustsImageWhenHighlighted = false
        self.adjustsImageWhenDisabled = false
        self.reversesTitleShadowWhenHighlighted = false

        self.setTitleColor(style.color(.Normal, .Background), forState: .Normal)
        self.setTitleColor(style.color(.Disabled, .Background), forState: .Disabled)
        self.setTitleColor(style.color(.Highlighted, .Background), forState: .Highlighted)

        self.setBackgroundImage(UIImage(color: style.color()), forState: .Normal)
        self.setBackgroundImage(UIImage(color: style.color(.Disabled)), forState: .Disabled)
        self.setBackgroundImage(UIImage(color: style.color(.Highlighted)), forState: .Highlighted)

As I need it, I will probably build similar structures for other types of styles and potentially some higher level style classes like StyleText that includes a StyleColor, StyleFont, and potentially StyleDimensions for padding.

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