Color names

Chirag Mehta has made a little application that will return a color name if you enter a hex code. Take the html web palette for this site, for example (the blog palette is slightly different). web palette You’d probably get a blank look if you said to someone, “Tom’s site is, you know, DDAA77, 996633, 880000, 819D90.” According to Mehta’s program, what you should say instead is that it’s in “tumbleweed, potters’ clay, red berry, and oxley.” Doesn’t that sound wholesome?

Just for fun, let’s try this with a few other sites, chosen more or less at random (the sites may use additional colors besides the ones I list).

  • Michelle Richmond’s Sans Serif is in “espresso,” “coffee,” and “Lisbon brown”
  • Buried Mirror also uses uses “Lisbon brown,” along with “Saratoga” and “yellow metal”
  • Classical Bookworm is “lonestar,” “brown pod,” and “rosewood”
  • ChezNamasteNancy uses “dusty gray,” “dove gray,” and “wedgewood”
  • India, Ink is “emperor,” “Bali Hai,” and “shuttle gray”
  • Edward Champion’s Return of the Reluctant is “emerald,” “Portafino,” and “blue zodiac”

Which brings us to the part of this post where we admit that this exercise has proven largely pointless. I don’t think you can visualize the color schemes of the sites very well through the color names offered. That’s partly because the names are inconsistent in nature. “Emerald” might reference an object with a certain color, but “Portofino” is completely subjective and arbitrary. Quick, what color is “lonestar”? (It’s a kind of vermilion red.)

I think that colors largely take their meaning from their juxtapositions with other colors. You can probably give a better sense of a color scheme by describing the response it evokes than by using arbitrary and inconsistent color names.

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1 Comment

  1. Heh. I like it.