Digital Web Magazine

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Color Theory for the Color-Blind : Comments

By Mario Parisé

August 1, 2005


Anne Fruitcake

August 2, 2005 1:00 AM

Hi Mario, thank you for your interesting article. Seems like I have designed my own website especially to scare away colorblind people.;-( Sigh…more redesign.

Janis Gonser

August 2, 2005 6:58 AM

Thanks for the inside on color accessibility issues. This is another thing to consider how to make a web site accessible to everyone. It would be nice to see a list of general dos and don

Tania Schlatter

August 2, 2005 8:34 AM

Interesting article. A good tool for designers concerned with color perception and accessiblity is on the Visicheck site:
It simulates how a web page or image looks to color blind people.

Lachlan Hunt

August 2, 2005 4:38 PM

Very good article, but I hope your aware that red, blue and yellow are not primary colours, they’re just very rough approximations. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the real primary colours of pigment (there’s a reason they’re used in printers!), each of which are formed by mixing two primary colours of light.
Green + Blue light = Cyan
Red + Blue light = Magenta
Red + Green light = Yellow

Conversly, the primary colours of light can each be formed by mixing two primary colours of pigment.


August 3, 2005 6:12 AM

Hi Mario, I have been waiting for this article of yours to appear: good job!

I think that too often, colour-blindness is overlooked: in a sense, they are an invisible minority because they can see but colour perception may be off which an outsider can’t tell just by looking at them or watching their behaviours. It is interesting how you are able to learn colours from the hexadecimal codes: your intellect compensates for your colour-blindness like hearing compensates for blindness.

Thanks for the reality check!


August 4, 2005 9:46 PM

Great article on color. One thing I always bang my head about when creating a new web page is deciding what color scheme to use. I think this will help me a lot.


August 5, 2005 7:19 AM

Web-safe colors are actually pretty easy – if the three HEX colors are pairs, then it is web safe!

e.g.: #0033ff = web safe #99aaff = web safe #ffcc00 = web safe #f0f0f0 = NOT web safe #aacc3f = NOT web safe


August 5, 2005 7:42 AM

@Anne: I actually quite like your website, despite my own advise. The background strains my eyes a little bit after a while, but it’s still rocking.

@Janis: thanks for the good word.

@Tania: I wish I woulda known about that tool sooner!

@Lachlan: I’m a bit red-faced, as I did not know this.

@Jules: I’m glad you liked it! I should probably develop a t-shirt with the image at John’s post on it (
Maybe I’d be more visibly color-blind? :)

Anywho, thanks y’all for reading my article and the good feedback. Peace and love.

John B

August 5, 2005 9:47 AM

I like the article. It describes most of what I’ve been doing for the past 10 or so years to deal with my red-green color blindness. One bit of advice I received a long time ago, which I hope someone finds useful, is to design the composition in black-and-white and then consider color scheme. A teacher once told me that adding color won’t make a bad design good. If you design in black and white first, it’s also easier to tell if you have enough contrast for readability.


August 5, 2005 1:16 PM

Excellent advice John B. :)


August 7, 2005 3:32 PM

If you have the java runtime engine installed on your computer (automatically there if you have a Mac running OS X and probably there if you have a fairly new wintel box) then help yourself to a free utility I wrote several years back:

It does web safe, color schemes, RGB, HSV, CMY and CMYK, has a large preview area, and it generates “code fragments” for using your colors in (X)HTML or CSS. It’s a little on the clunky side (heaven knows the web site sure is!), but it works well. Of the 10,000 or so people who’ve downloaded it, no one’s ever asked for a refund.


August 17, 2005 6:54 PM

Thanks – a very informative and interesting article. What I do find frustrating (with Jakob Nielsen too)is the recommendation of black text on white as the best way to display main content. I have difficulty focusing on words with such high contrast. I find it much easier to read with a light-coloured background (that goes for screen and print).


August 18, 2005 10:25 AM


If black on white is too contrasting, which I appreciate (albeit it works best for me), I’d recommend a slightly lighter color for text but still on a white background. This is similar to how Digital-Web does their text, except I’d still go darker. Probably just a few shades lighter than pure black would be my suggestion.


August 24, 2005 6:50 AM

thanks this will help me design a wed page colors


August 26, 2005 6:48 PM

A great article, however one suggestion would be to include an image of the color wheel. It’s one thing to describe the colors in and their relative placement in the wheel in paragraph format but I think a visual is essential.


August 29, 2005 11:18 PM

Excellent article. I am colour-blind with shades of red and green. (This might be obvious from my website!). Good to know that there are some strategies to look at design from a more scientific perspective.


November 16, 2005 8:21 AM

As a color-blind designer myself, I really appreciate you taking the time to write this article. I am fairly new to the profession and am learning how difficult it can be at times to know if the colors I’m using work or not. Thanks for the inspiration and advice. I will use the resources and info throughout my career.

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