I'm not a design-y person for the most part, but I had the opportunity to work with a few designers in college. One of the things they did that I could never understand was look at two colors and immediately say "make that red darker, or else it'll look exactly like that blue when you convert to grayscale."

I'm thinking I might have to do some amateur web page or logo design soon. I doubt I'll ever get to the point where I can just eyeball colors like my design friends, but I'm happy to use technology to my advantage. How can I tell whether two colors will look different when they are, say, printed on a black-and-white printer?

3 answers


Here is a nice explanation about color space. I hope it can help: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/composing1.shtml

Answered almost 9 years ago by Patkos Csaba
  • So then, I just need to compare the amount of saturation between the two colors? Lord Torgamus almost 9 years ago

Your friends were guessing. Channel and profile manipulations can make any color translate into any grayscale value the user desires.

Answered almost 9 years ago by Nathan Duran

For a web page, take a screenshot and then load it into Photoshop. At that point, you can drop the Saturation to 0 or convert to greyscale. Then if you think you've lost detail, you and hover with the eyedropper and see how close the values are.

But since the chances are slim that you and your site visitor have identical monitor calibrations, you can't know that they will see the same colors as you.

If you're working in print, you can calibrate your monitor and then be sure that you're using the same color profile as your printer, but there's no way to get that level of control online.

Still, if it looks pretty good in greyscale, you're probably okay (but for a long time there was an airline - Southwest I think - that had select boxes that looked like black on black to most Mac users. You had to Select All to reveal the text)

Answered almost 9 years ago by Tom Lambert
  • Those methods of grayscale conversion simply use arbitrarily chosen default channel mixing percentages which are not representative of anything in particular and have little relevance. Nathan Duran almost 9 years ago