Re: CNS colors

Mike Wexler (
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 15:31:34 -0800

> However, to take your other points in order:
> > Most HTML markup will soon be performed within an editing program, where
> > instant visual feedback of color choices will be the norm. Being forced
> > to choose from an arbitrary set of 627 colors is an unnecessary constraint.

> A natural language syntax is used for hand typing. It is easier to say
> 'vivid blue-green' than to figure out the #RRGGBB values, which many
> less experienced HTML authors have trouble with (as countless postings
> to usenet newsgroups will attest).
> A GUI system obviously hides the details of colour specification and so
> can use RGB specification, thus limiting the user (with current syntax)
> to 16.7 million colours. For the purposes of CSS, this is probably
> enough.
In general, I agree with your post, but I don't think that a GUI should
be generating RGB. At least it shouldn't if you want the same color to
appear on everyones monitor. We should at least have the ability to
support a device independent color format such as CIE-LAB. We should
recommend that editing tools use this instead of RGB.

> > For CMYK printing, millions
> > of color mixtures can be specified, and millions of distinct colors
> > can be produced on a good monitor.
> Monitors do not use the CMYK colour model. CMYK is intimately tied to a
> particular ink set, screening algorithm, printing press and paper stock
> and is of no use whatsoever for online presentation which is the main
> aim of CSS. Systems such as Adobe Photoshop which allow on-screen
> preview are converting from CMYK to CIE LAB (using these printing
> details) and thence to RGB (using the monitor details) for display.
> Even with all this effort, the colour match between the screen and print
> representations is often not good, as I am sure you are well aware.
> CMYK is of zero use for CSS.

Although CMYK is probably not appropriate for CSS, we should keep in
mind that some HTML documents will be printed and we should allow for
reasonable color matching.