Most popular website colors are Black, Red, Blue and ... Tan?

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Is a very transparent “Tan” the default background on Google Maps? You know, the one that’s so close to the white streets so as to render the maps absolutely useless on my Windows/Dell setup at work (it’s OK on my Mac at home)?



This is the creator, Paul Hebert here. Thanks for sharing this!

Unfortunately, I believe the prevalence of tan can be largely associated with a bug that I haven’t worked out yet. If tan is found in the text of the home page it is counted, even if it’s part of a larger word.

For example the phrase ‘I understand’ includes tan so it gets counted. Here’s a full list of known caveats that I’m working to address:

Thanks for all the interest!

EDIT: Oh by the way, the site also doesn’t pull colors out of images, so it only counts CSS colors in the code. I hope to add image scraping soon!


Maybe. #d2b48c isn’t on the Material Design color guide which is what I’m using these days whenever I’m lazy. Tan is probably one of the nicer colors in the defined-by-name CSS color list.

If I was picking a light brownish background color from the named CSS colors, I’d probably go with Wheat myself.


The default blue of hyperlinks is an abomination seen nowhere in nature, is all. Every minute shade of red evokes something you might see in a photo, like a tomato or a hot poker or snow at sunset, but the only way you end up in the #00F section of the dial is by picturing LEDs or Windows 95 crashes; it’s just not a rich seam emotion-wise.


Interesting that the purest blue in the RGB space is so nasty. I quite like it as a retro link color, say, for “brutalist” web design. But I’d never in my right mind use it for any other purpose.

But RGB red is glorious.


Thanks for dropping in, Paul!


Thanks for sharing!


Once you factor in images, I think that a lot of the Internet will come out as being coloured, “flesh”. :wink:

I’m quite surprised at how much red you found. It seems such an angry colour to have on a website.


Haha, I think you’re probably right. I created a thread on HN ( and another user, Andy Bardagjy, commented, posting a project they had made in a similar vein. ( He talks about running into porn sites when doing large scrapes.

I think red is often used in small doses to highlight elements that you can interact with. I doubt many of these sites are using it for large areas of the screen.


Hm. Might need to add more purple to our site.


Personally, I’m a big fan of purple. Since it’s under-represented it can be a good way to make your brand stand out!


The blue shift is because RGB (your device screen) does not translate directly to CMYK (printed materials). It always darkens and shifts red. Also RGB blue can not be produced in CMYK, it’s to “neon”. RGB red directly translates between color modes, ie. RGB red looks the same as CMYK red. Yellow translates well also, but tans and oranges shift darker and need to have black and cyan pulled out.


Interesting post! That kind of make sense since there isn’t a pure blue in CMYK. Cyan is pretty far from pure digital blue. Thanks for sharing!

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We might as well go full-on futurist and set up some movie scenes where the Big Scary Compu Van MacGuffin is a small beige breadcrumb on an aging iPhone 7 (because @codinghorror posted that nice (single-threaded) comparison showing iPhone and i7 7663 running neck-and-neck.)


Welcome to BoingBoing, Paul, we hope you… oh. I mean, Welcome! Thanks for coming to see us and explain the tan problem!


No problem. Thanks for sharing my work!

In the future, if I have work I think your readers might find interesting is there a good way for me to get it to you?


I don’t know. It’s well above my paygrade. I’m just a lowly reader. But I’m one of the self-appointed ‘welcomers of assholes’ - assholes being people who create accounts just to say something horrible. But you said something wonderful, so I stopped myself mid-comment, and gave a genuine welcome.

(Ignore me.) :slight_smile:


I think a certain young lady might disagree.


before I arrived at my current company, an omnipresent off-yellowish tan was the background of all of our materials. Over the course of my tenure we’ve been slwoly bleeding it away, shade by shade, to avoid my boss panicking that “no one will know who we are” if it’s not there. Our company acronym starts with the letters P and D, so we lovingly named the color pdochre (pee-dee-ochre). some day, she’ll just quietly slip away…