Color palette is used and applied throughout, but in ways that aren’t working well. For example, text color on top of a surface color is inappropriate, colors may be overused, contrast may be insufficient in places, etc.
Colors are used appropriately throughout, with attention to color contrast. Color is applied consistently to mean certain things to the user.
Colors are deployed very intentionally and meaningfully throughout, with attention to accessibility.
Colors are used expressively without distracting from clarity.