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What Color Is the Internet?


Among the waves of pigments and pixels that saturate us every day, one color rules the internet.

A simple analysis of any browser will note, among all the colors of the internet, the primacy of white, (or what one might call the simultaneous irradiation of all the primary colors). White, though, is notably not the most frequent color in the digital data flow. An analysis by designer, Paul Hebert, revealed that blue is the undisputed king of the internet.

In picturesque allusions to the fascinating study of color, blue has been designated as a gradation of a suggestive darkness. Also one of the principle attractions of black, blue transmits an uncertain serenity. With a good long look, though, blue is as elegiac as it is restorative.

This severe paradox was demonstrated by Goethe in his theory of color, which warns that “we love to contemplate blue; not because it advances towards us, but because it calls us to follow.” Some of this may hint at the fact that, according to Hebert, the ten most popular websites on the internet use an attractive blue beneath their many pixels.

To understand how companies like Google or Facebook devise their color schemes, Hebert explored the 140 colors most commonly used in these online platforms. Blue was so omnipresent he even had to add another category to distinguish the turquoise. One of the most symbolic graphic colors on the internet, blue’s level of saturation is immediately apparent:

Hebert’s findings aren’t surprising. Blue has been, at least until a few years ago, favored in works of art, in business, in the sky and the sea. Perhaps blue’s dual character explains this predilection – often both studied and strategic, blue is also unconscious and natural.

Digital reality is defined by laws that simultaneously entwine themselves with nature. Among them, we know, now, that one of the most precious of these is the reign of blue.

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