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24 ways to impress your friends

Cheating Color


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Charlotte Miller

Completely agree and it is refreshing to see I am not the only one doing this, even though I reading this in 2015!!

After all with brand guidelines the clue is in the name. They are “guides” to help you keep branding consistent.

Nate K

Excellent bit of information here. I have run into this several times and had to fudge every now and then. Your comparisons make it easy to see the improvements that can be made.

Alexis Bellido

Great article Jason.

I felt a little guilty sometimes and preferred not to “break the rules” (yes, I know they were made for breaking anyways) when a few colors didn’t look right.

Now I’ll become a color cheater and be happy once again :)

Thanks for that!

Chris Harrison

It’s amazing how subtle changes in color make a big difference on-screen. The only problem in this is that monitors don’t always display color properly (which sucks!). Colors on my Apple Cinema Display are much brighter and vibrant than a lot of screens… On more than one occasion I have had a coworker and/or client come back and ask why I used a certain color (which appeared horrendous on their screens)...

Anyways… great article.


Seems reasonable enough. But what if the client doesn’t agree on the color change? Try and make it work within the limitations I suppose.


“Cheating Color” has me sitting on an edge. I think the term “optical color” is free to be coined! It would make immediate sense to me even if I hadn’t read the rest of the article.

Doug Downing

Can anyone recommend a good method for quickly previewing these color cheats in a web authoring environment? I can picture doing this kind of finessing in Photoshop with the Color Picker tool (where the feedback is immediate), but not at the HTML/CSS stage, even with a tool like Dreamweaver—the color selection process just seems too hit-or-miss to be truly effective.

Maybe I just need to go back to the drawing board on this…

Andrew Hedges

I’m more of a programmer than a designer, but I have enough of an eye that I have found myself “cheating” colors one way or another to make them appear the same optically. Great discussion of the topic. I feel so validated!

Egor Kloos

This is pretty much commonplace in the print world and is good practise for web design, I use it often. This article illustrates the problem very well. It can be tricky to get it right though because different screen types and display settings can through things off. Also beware when using CSS constances as outlined in a previous article on 23ways.

Matt Richards

I have to agree with Andrew Hedges, originating from a development background and not having studied design I’ve found myself doing this on many an occasion. It’s nice to know that we get it right some times! Great article.

Impress us

Be friendly / use Textile