[thelist] why web pages look having different color on different LCDs?

Hugh Miller hmiller at cfpress.co.uk
Sun Dec 7 06:54:59 CST 2008

Zhang, you might want to do a bit of time travelling:


This is an older page, written at the time when most of us had desks covered in
monitor footprints. Essentially the point is that you will find it very
difficult to have consistent colour reproduction on LCDs.

I remember doing a site at that time that the client wanted a pale gray
background on. Unfortunately on his new fangled LCD the gray had a very subtle
yellowness to it. When we redrafted the colour and achieved gray on his my top
of the range CRT monitor was slightly green.

Like many clients, he opted for that choice as his monitor simply had to be
correct, it had after all cost him over £500 english pounds! Since that site was
earning me less than the cost of his screen I let it pass.

I was actually quite resistant to changing to an LCD due to that experience,
only went to LCD last year, and I still keep a CRT for reference when planning
colourschemes. I colourtest on a 17"ws laptop screen, a 24"ws Sony LCD from a
PC, a 19"ws Hanns-G (cheap brand) on the same PC, another 19"ws Hanns-G on an OS
X Mac (switching the colour calibration profiles about) and on a 20"4:3 Compaq
CRT with reduced glare on the same Mac. In the real world I would think most
webbies don't have that much kit available to them. So what can you do?

It can be very tempting to go with what I 'know' to be correct. From my
experience in print I can mix up colours in my head, but I have to resist that
temptation and experiment pedantically with any lighter shade that I use. The
problem is not so bad on dark colours, and in real world use it is likely that
even a 5% +/- tinting variance can still be acceptable on dark colours, on light
gray and pale colours though that much variance can be pretty shocking. At that
level it can actually be quite valuable to go back to the 'websafe' palette that
was de rigeur ten years ago.


Treat the paler shades as useful.

Also see:


Which is a cynical look at colour use on the web.



Quoting Zhang Weiwu <zhangweiwu at realss.com>:

> I noticed this very long time ago: for some colleagues the web page
> background looks coral, for some looks yellow, and for some others look
> between coral and yellow. I know LCD doesn't always reproduce color the
> same, but I never worried about it because I am a web dev, which means I
> am only interested on the programming logic, e.g. in CMS and I don't
> care nor pick on my colors.
> But since recently I am exploring knowledge what a web designer career
> needs. I found it's important the customer sees color the way we want to
> represent. I cannot change the LCD of visitors, but I need to know how
> to make 'most' visitor gets the color we want them to see

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