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This page was rewritten to reflect the wiki's documentation purpose. The original forum thread on this topic contained mostly subjective opinion on favourite colours, etc.


De gustibus non dispudandum est.

Colour theory is a complex and advanced topic, but some things can quickly be understood about it:

  • The perception of color depends on the medium it is presented and the context in which it is presented.
  • Perception itself is highly 'subjective', however recent neuroscientific discoveries have given explanations on why color, contrast and shadow are perceived the way they are
  • People's tastes for colour are influenced by many subconscious factors:
    • Genetic makeup and, arguably, natural selection.
    • Previous exposure and association with colour
    • Contextual presentation of colour with either positive or negative subconscious signals and juxtaposition with other visual features
    • Fashion
    • We could take ANY colour at all, even omg-ponies-pink, and make it awesome, due to the above factors.
  • People don't like anything new, and they don't like anything old. But they eventually will like anything if it contains some familiar aspects but is different enough to be recognizable.
  • Colour is branding. The name of the site may imply colour. For example, in IRC and forums members of the community wished the site to be green because Soylent Green was part of their preconception of what must go with "Soylent". We have not changed colour at the moment mainly because no major style changes are planned until the site moves beyond alpha (new features are being implemented every few days), the name is finalized and enough human resources are available to implement a reskin.

Colour Quantity

  • Because the main emphasis of this project is text, colour needs to be used sparingly and only to emphasise content. Colour usage in branding (logos, stripes, etc) should be enough for differentiation but no more than that.
  • In the current near-original layout of the site, red is the chosen colour for now, but there is a great deal of it, to the point that it is distracting and a bit off-putting.

Colour Quality

  • Notice that the high saturation of red changes the perception of the neutral grey of the rest of the page to be a warm grey. In, a fully saturated royal blue is in use, which turns the neutral grey perception to be a cool grey. Neither of these versions has optimal colour balance, nor has any consideration been given to complementary colours and how they may offset imbalances. Complementary colour can also help with uncallibrated or low colour gamut displays where the hue of a site can vary wildly.
  • The choice of colour should take into account people with disabilities regarding colour recognition. As such, this issue can be avoided more or less by not having two colours of similar saturation and brightness juxtaposed and having consistent layout of elements that have a certain colour so that if not recognized by other means, their location can be predicted. Traffic lights follow this principle (Red is always at the top, and Green at the bottom).