Colors Online

Color_Blind_by_terrye634Ever surfed by a website and fell in love with their color pallet? Or maybe one color in particular and you wondered what it might be? Well, if your browser is Firefox and you have a tool called Firebug, you could simply mouse over the color to find its hexadecimal color code.

Huh? What did I just say? OK. I get it. You are not really into website design, you only want to know how to identify color and use the same color, consistently, on your own website. So let's make this easy.

What is a Hexadecimal color and why do I care?

The hexadecimal color code system has been in use by print professionals for years, so if you ever worked with a designer or printer to publish a paper product, you'll have some idea of what it's all about. There are truly billions of possible colors that can be made by mixing digital pigments which means those cute names we learned for colors using our Crayola (tm) crayons simply won't do for a website.

Hexadecimal codes are standardized formulas that each computer's screen and website browser can interpret in roughly the same way. Monitors are calibrated (able to display color) differently and these hexadecimal color codes make it relatively easy to use and deliver mostly standardized color.

There are six number and/or letter combinations that make up a color's hex code.

Why are there 6 numbers or letters used?

Simple answer, RGB. Digital displays (i.e. computer screens and monitors, tv's, theaters) use a combination of Red, Green, and Blue to create all of the color that you see. There are two letters/numbers to represent each color. For instance this hexadecimal code will give you a deep red color: 99oo33 / FFCC66

FF = 153 percent red; (255 is the highest, most dense amount of color possible, 0 is the lowest)

cc = 0 percent green; and

66 = 51 percent blue.

Combined, that hexadecimal formula makes red.

What color do you think FFFFFF makes? Nope, not red. It is white. That's 255 percent of each color and because we are viewing it on a digital display, combining all of those colors makes white.

What about 000000? That's black. It's a digital world, all made up of pixels of light and the absence of light is? Black.

OK. I know. This stuff hurts your head. For now, just accept it. Keep in mind that the rules change when you are dealing with color in the real world instead of a digital one. I am not going to get into all the technical ins and outs of subtractive vs additive color and why out of all those billions of possible colors available we use only about 256 of them in web-safe colors online. Those are discussions for another day. It is, however, helpful to understand a little about the makeup of hex codes, if only because it will make it easier to be consistent with your use of color in your online documents and websites.

Getting back to the Diva Tech Tip, how can you find out what the color pallet is for a website? Well, if you don't want to learn how to use website designer tools, then check out the application on this website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and type in the URL address of any website you like. This nifty application will list all of the colors displayed on that site along with their hex codes.

Here's a short list of frequently used hex codes. Go ahead and use them. When it comes to the internet, frequently used color is good because the multitude of different technology and equipment we use handles custom colors poorly and inconsistently.

Color Code
Color Code
  Red #FF0000 White #FFFFFF
  Turquoise #00FFFF Light Grey #C0C0C0
  Light Blue #0000FF Dark Grey #808080
  Dark Blue #0000A0 Black #000000
  Light Purple #FF0080 Orange #FF8040
  Dark Purple #800080 Brown #804000
  Yellow #FFFF00 Burgundy #800000
  Pastel Green #00FF00 Forest Green #808000
  Pink #FF00FF Grass Green #408080

What you do with that hex code is the topic of the next Diva Tech Tip.

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