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Understanding web color

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Understanding web color

As we start to explore working with color on the web, we have to understand that color on the web is displayed and interpreted in a different way that you might not have seen before. In traditional design, we think of color as being a formula that's comprised of different values of channels, like RGB for red, green, and blue; or CMYK for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. On the web, it's still RGB color, but it utilizes a system known as hexadecimal codes in order to display the color. Hex codes are six-digit values that range from 0 all the way to the letter F, and it refers to the amount of color present in the overall appearance of the object.

Understanding web color

As we start to explore working with color on the web, we have to understand that color on the web is displayed and interpreted in a different way that you might not have seen before. In traditional design, we think of color as being a formula that's comprised of different values of channels, like RGB for red, green, and blue; or CMYK for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. On the web, it's still RGB color, but it utilizes a system known as hexadecimal codes in order to display the color. Hex codes are six-digit values that range from 0 all the way to the letter F, and it refers to the amount of color present in the overall appearance of the object.

Zero is the smallest representation of a color. It's almost a total absence of color. The letter F is 15 times the intensity of the color zero. Combinations of these digits create different shades of a particular color. Double zero is equal to the zero Hue. Double F is equal to pure color. Think of it this way: if you have double zeros, I mean you have nothing. You are broke; no color exists. If you have two Fs, you are full. F for full. So you are full of whatever color that maybe. So zero means nothing and F means full, and anything in between is just a varying degree of how full you are on that particular color.

This color representation is done three times: once for the red, once for the green, and once for the blue, in that specific order. So as you can see here on the screen in my example I have a black square in the background, and the hex code value for this is 000000. So I have no red, no green, and no blue. So I have the total absence of color, which translates to black. If I wanted to go to the opposite side of the spectrum, I could type in all Fs and I would get the color white.

Let's jump into the color picker and show you some more examples. First thing I'm going to do is default my background colors by hitting the letter D on my keyboard. That's just going to set my fill and stroke back to the default of white and black. I'll then double-click on the fill to open up the color picker. Once inside of the color picker, let's go down to this little corner area here, and let's start to mix up some hex codes. Let's see that I wanted pure red. Well, remember, in order to be full on a color, I need to type in the letter F. So the red comes first, so that will be two Fs: FF.

I don't want any green, so that will be two zeros, and I don't want any blue. That will be two zeros. Now, when I press the Tab key, you should see my color picker switch to completely red, just like so. Now, let's say that I wanted full-on green. Well, that's zero reds, full-on green, and zero blue. Press the Tab key. There's my 100% green. Same thing for blue. That's zero reds, zero greens, and full-on blue. Press Tab and there you have it. Now, are you going to be able to remember every single hex code under the sun? No, it's not possible, but you don't have to.

Inside of Illustrator, all you have to do is pick your color inside of the color picker and it will automatically write up the hex code for you, which you can then take and send off to your developer or use it in any other designs or CSS that you might be composing. Let's take a look. Let's say I wanted some sort of orange color, like this. As soon as I set the color picker to a specific area, it automatically gives me the hex code right here. All I have to do now is copy that and then send it off to the developer or paste it into my Dreamweaver document or wherever I might be working with CSS, and I've automatically got that color ready to be assigned to anything.

So, let's escape out of here and go back into my document. Remember, zero means you have no color, F means you are full-on with that color. So, hopefully by now, you have a better understanding of what hex code colors are, why they are used on the web, and how you can use them to implement color in your next project.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 26075 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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