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Web Safe Colors

Web safe colors are usually no longer needed because todays modern computers can read and correctly display millions of colors. Any computer with 24 bit color and higher has millions of colors.

Computers with 16 bit color have 65,536 colors and those with 8 bit color only have 256 colors. So if your traffic stats show you have considerable traffic with 8 bit computers then you may want to stick with web safe colors.

Hexadecimal Web Safe Color Chart

Hexadecimal Web Safe Color Chart
Used with permission by
© 2000 VisiBone

For an explanation of hexadecimal color codes see Hex Color Codes and How to Use them

How Color is Changing

Following is a graph of colors used by visitors to Lori's Web Design in 2012 which shows 52% of my visitors have 24 bit color, 47% are using 32 bit color which adds up to about 99% of my visitors having millions of colors and only 1% had 16 bit color. Being as 16 bit colors are quickly being phased out it should be safe to switch to non-web safe colors. See the difference between color bits in 2012 and 2010 below:

LWD color bit chart 2012
This image is provided via SiteMeter.com

Following is a graph of colors used by visitors to Lori's Web Design in 2010 which showed 91.2% of my visitors had 32 bit color, 2.21% were using 24 bit color which adds up to about 93% of my visitors having millions of colors and 6% had 16 bit color.

LWD color bit chart 2010
This image is provided via SiteMeter.com

Here is a site that explains Bit Depth in more detail and you can also Test Your Color Depth or check out some Pantone Color Guides. Here is a great article on Color Theory. The Color Wizard site provides an online tool where you can input a color and get complimentary colors or different shades of the same color.


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Lori Eldridge
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June 2004 - updated 2012-1-24
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