There are many web design tutorials that cover Web color in detailed scientific terms. However, for our objectives, let’s briefly discuss Web color and how it will be used in the Web portfolio. You will need to develop a color scheme for your Web portfolio pages. This means that you will designate colors for your page background, the type used on the page and any other static elements that reside in the page. There are two types of color that can be used in Web graphics. The colors can be associated with the Web graphic file formats we just mentioned: GIF and JPG.
GIF files use index color. Index color consists of 216 common colors found on all computer monitors and within all Web browsers. These common colors reside in a Web palette. The Web palette of colors is available in Macromedia Fireworks and Adobe Photoshop so they can be used in design of Web screens without variance of color when the pages are on the Internet. Also, the Web palette is the standard color palette in Macromedia Dreamweaver and Macromedia Flash. This allows us to achieve consistent color across Web applications and Web browsers. We use Web colors for:
• Web text/HTML text
• Web page backgrounds
• Web page colors used for table or layer backgrounds
• Web links
• GIF files
JPG files use red, green, and blue (RGB) for graphical color. RGB color is also known as full color. Full color items include bitmap graphics or photographs. We want to utilize photographs as much as we can within a Web portfolio to add to the visual rhetoric and the narrative that we are trying to present. Extensive use of photographs, especially their manipulation in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, require a brief description of the RGB color model. RGB color is known as additive color because of all colors, red green, and blue were added together at their full intensity that would create pure white.
The mixtures of the relative strengths of these colors, “create the millions of colors computer monitors can show” (Kimball, 2003, p. 95). The strength of these colors is set in from zero to 255 with zero being the least intensity and 255 being the highest intensity. When red, green and blue are combined at zero intensity the result is black. At full strength, high intensity, where the values are set at 255, 255, 255, the result is pure white.
To remember this, here is a simple metaphor. Think of the red, green, and blue as light switches. Each light switch using a slider has a range of zero to 255. When all the white switches are set at zero the room is dark. What all the light switches are set to 255, the room is lit at full intensity. Once you begin to use image-editing applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia fireworks, you begin to explore computer color within your graphics and photographs.
When discussing color usage, full color or RGB color is present in photographic JPG files and other created artwork. Full color images should not be saved as GIF files because of the limited number of colors. By having limited colors, the full color image will represent the true colors using the existing Web palette of 216 colors.
This creates a poor, dithered, and ugly image. That is why it is very important to use the right file format for each specific graphic. When converting print images to the Web, it’s important that you do not use the CMYK color model for anything including graphics. The CMYK model is not a monitor friendly color space. The CMYK graphics cannot be seen in CMYK on the Internet. They can only be represented by the RGB color model or the Web safe (indexed) color model. Here are the rules for Web color:
• Full color images (RGB palette) and photos are saved as JPG.
• Flat graphics (Web 216 palette) with limited color are saved as GIF files.
• For Page backgrounds use the Web safe palette (Web 216 palette) in all computer graphics, multimedia, and Web development applications. Now, let’s discuss Web page and graphic size.
Web pages are measured in pixels. Pixels are the unit of measurement for the screen. A Web page can literally be any size. Standard Web pages usually fit into a few sizes:
•W × H
• 600 × 800
• 640 × 480 (Dreamweaver default)
• 1024 × 768
• 550 × 400 (Flash default)
The default Web page sizes provided in Web friendly applications and listed earlier are a great place to start. You will probably use a smaller, custom size for pop-up windows. The Web page size you choose is up to you. Remember to use actual space for the Web page effectively so that the content is in the proper proximity to the user’s navigation patterns. Web page size affects the way users move around the Web pages and the Web portfolio site.
One rule: Pick a size for all main screens and stick to it. Consistency in page size r should be used on each level of the Web portfolio design flowchart. You will need to understand size in the image editing application when you develop screens and Web graphics. We must keep our graphics within the page size guidelines otherwise they will over extend the Web browser and the user will need to scroll to see them.
That is not a good thing and will definitely turn off the user. When you are looking at Web screens and graphics in an image editing application such as Macromedia Fireworks or Adobe Photoshop, you can see the exact size the image will occupy on a monitor when the view is set to 100 percent.
This means that you can get an accurate indication of how a page will look before going through the process of making it an HTML Web page. This helps with design and production. It helps eliminate guess work when develop- ing pages. Size also depends on resolution. Let’s discuss resolution next.