Ask Ashley, Volume 1: Color Display Variations

ask ashley:  variations in color display

Q: Why do websites seem to be in different colors depending on what computer is viewing it? Some of my blue colors look green, yellows look greenish, etc. HELP!

There isn’t a single reason why this is so. Some variations are out of our hands: for example, for a long time, Macs have had a higher gamma value than PCs, which makes colors and graphics much brighter and lighter for Mac users. The good news is that many of these settings are in the user’s hands, so if you suspect your monitor is displaying colors incorrectly, check into calibrating it. Windows has a helpful guide here.

For designers and photographers, color management is even more important, and there is a lot of debate surrounding the best options to use. Photoshop, for example, has a million and one different color settings (or, you know, at least a handful). This article is very helpful for explaining exactly what they are and how to set them up.

The bottom line? At this point, it’s practically impossible to expect colors to display identical for all users, regardless of what type of equipment they use. If colors are displaying drastically different for you all of the time, like images that should be grayscale have a bluish tinge, check into calibrating your display. If you’re a designer struggling with color inconsistency, read up on color settings and how to properly set them in your editing software.

Have a question you want answered? Use the ‘Ask Ashley’ form in the sidebar to ask me your most pressing questions!