Understanding Colors for the Web

April 17, 2009 |  By Design Action Collective |  Categories: Color On the Web

Choosing colors for web projects is slightly more complicated than choosing colors for print projects. Due to the following variables, your viewers will see the colors of your site differently:

1. Viewers see your website on different kinds of monitors (LCDs and CRTs)
2. They work on different platforms (PCs often display colors darker than MACs)
3. Computers are calibrated differently
4. How ‘safe’ your web palette is determines the size of your palette (More color accessibility = fewer colors)

colorsWeb-Safe Colors

This is a very limited web color palette of 256 colors. If you want to be super safe and design with this palette, then you can be mostly sure that most people, despite of their computer variations, will see your colors more or less similarly. This is the safest color palette to chose from, but if you’re looking for a little bit more variety, take it to the next level.

Web-Smart colors

If the Web-Safe color palette doesn’t do you good, the Web-Smart palette isĀ  slightly more adventurous and consists of 4096 colors. With recent advances in technology, more and more browsers can see up to 4096 colors safely. There is still a chance that some folks with old-school monitors or browsers will see only the web safe color palette, and the colors you’ve picked may revert to the closest color in the web safe palette. But for the most part, you’ll be good.

Unsafe palette

Colors from whole RGB spectrum. If you pick a random color that isn’t Web-Safe or Web-Smart color, a selected few will see your color exactly as you intended. A larger number will see it revert to the nearest Web-Smart color, which won’t be too much of a jump. A few will see it revert to the closes Web-Safe color, which could be a dramatic difference.

Check out this cool link where you can choose your own colors in the different categories: http://www.ficml.org/jemimap/style/color/wheel.html

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