[thelist] Web Safe Colours

Ben Henick persist1 at io.com
Tue Dec 17 06:00:00 CST 2002

On Tue, 17 Dec 2002, Martyn Haigh wrote:

> Heres a quick question :
> How many people can only view the web in web safe colours?  Are the days of
> the 256 colour pallet gone?

Bwahahaha!!!  Yeah.

I still stick to the Web safe (216-color) palette for my initial sketches,
and tweak as necessary... mostly because if nothing else, someone who's
worked a lot with colors can look at a triplet and have some idea of what
it looks like... which describes me.

The share of those restricted to 8-bit color has dropped, and meanwhile
there are precious few colors which 8- and 16-bit settings have in common.
aardvark just published an article on the site that discusses this in more

...Which means that you may want to test for 16- and 32-bit hardware
settings, based on what you've told us below.  Some tweaks may be
necessary before you freeze the graphics.

> I'm only asking as I'm designing a new site for my company, and they are
> quite specific about colours (it being a cosmetics company).
> I know I should stick to the 256 colours given to me - but I'm starting to
> think that by doing this I will be making it viewable for the 3 people that
> view the site in 256 colours and the rest of the people are going to have a
> less enjoyable experience because of the lack of colour.

Given the circumstances... I would definitely toss the 216 color

Here's to hoping that the project sponsor isn't gonna have a poker up 'is
butt when it comes to everything looking *just perfect* - I shudder at the

'S fersure that the Web safe palette can't support that many variants of
red and pink (and goodness knows what else)...

Poke around and you'll find pages to the effect of:

"This site designed to be displayed with my monitor and video card, in my

It's usually the techies who do that, 'cause they know full well that you
can't possibly see the EXACT same thing they do unless you're lookng over
their shoulder(s) as they download the site.  Everybody has an ever-so-
slightly-different browsing environment.

'Course, you'll presumably be working mostly with photographs.  I hope so.
In that case, the onus goes on the folks developing the film.  ;-)

If you wind up needing to construct a pallette apart from product and
model photographs... consider asking the visitor what the level of ambient
light will be where they expect to wear the displayed colors before
showing them any sort of palette.  That's awfully important (but strikes
me as a real challenge in terms of research and production, at first

The more I ponder it, the more I think you're in for a potentially wild
ride when it comes to learning about color.  Whee.


Ben Henick                     "In the long run, men hit only what they aim
Web Author At-Large             at.  Therefore, though they should fail
http://www.io.com/persist1/     immediately, they had better aim high."
persist1 at io.com                 -- Henry David Thoreau

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