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Is the Web-Safe palette dead?

The age of high resolution colour...



11:30 am on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think the title speaks for itself. I've always been lead to believe that we used so-called web-safe colours to avoid cross-platform misrendering. Is this still true though?

I can't imagine it's much of an issue any longer, especially with the leaps and bounds browsers and graphics cards have made over the last 36 months.

What do you think as designers?


11:44 am on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Howdy NG - welcome to the forums (missed you on the way in the door).

I've not used web safe colors for over a year. With a couple of graphic oriented sites, I'm sure I would have heard some screaming about the colors if there where a problem.
Few people are writing browser safe html, let alone taking the time to do safe colors.


11:56 am on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

LOL - know what you mean! Is it just me, or does MSIE actually promote bad coding in general?

Certainly seems to be that way, although I can't fault it's DOM handling as of yet.


1:52 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Does anyone else have any experience of designing a site - for clients - which doesn't depend on the web-safe palette?


2:14 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

the only thing I stick to web-safe colours for is background colour...either for the page or for large divs or tables...to be honest I've never really worried about it for anything else


5:11 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I've been doing client sites that are hi-resolution color for over a year. Noscreams of protest so far. The one caveat I've found is to be sure they work in both 16-bit and 32-bit color.

Even bgcolor has not been much of a problem. I use a single color gif for a background image in addition to bgcolor. That solves a lot of little issues, and if someone's browser needs a web-safe palette, it will snap to the same color that the images on the page snap to.


7:58 pm on Aug 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The concept of simplifying a palette is always necessary for artistic creation. It's a lot like a musical instrument--it has a finite number of notes, carefully chosen from the infinite number of possible frequencies. By picking a logical set of notes ahead of time, you are more likely to come up with combinations that are in harmony.

My personal habits have been to stick to the color cube when using large flat regions that will have the same color, but to let the colors fly when doing spot graphics.

I also am not opposed to using extremely light colors that will turn into white on low-color machines, such as #EEEEEE for a nice light grey.

The problem comes when you have a page or table background of a non-color cube color, and a graphic that sits on top of it that's supposed to blend in. If the color in question is 9F3A00 then the graphic might dither, while the background will snap to 993300... suddenly the edges of the graphic are visible.

I don't think that the 256-color, 640x480 machine is going away anytime soon. And what's more, a lot of those dawgs run Windows 3.1. I've got the logfiles to prove it! :)


8:36 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Bolotomus,

Sorry for such a simple question, but what do you mean by the color "cube"?


Robert Charlton

12:59 am on Aug 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

As I understand it, the ongoing problem isn't with graphic card or monitor limitations... it's with the default settings that many machines are shipped with. I've heard (but have not verified) that it's very common for new machines to be set to 256 colors, and most users, as we well know, never change their defaults.


9:01 am on Aug 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Mike -

Bolotomus is refering to the web-safe palette, which is often set out in a cube-like format - there are 6 websafe shades (00,33,66,99,CC,FF) per colour channel, so RRGGBB = 6x6x6.

Check out this link [stars.com] for a simple example of a web-safe colour table.


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