When I design a website, a question about consistency of colors across multiple computers often comes into play. A business owner will typically review their site on many computers, and often, the colors used on the site, in the logo and on the photos won’t match from computer. Or, the colors of the website won’t print as the business owner hopes.

But, this is just the nature of computers, unfortunately. Each type of monitor comes with slightly different color calibrations installed. And, each monitor offers the end user the opportunity to change those settings even further – to modify the color balance, contrast, and brightness of the monitor. So, each monitor winds up with unique display preferences set. Because of that, the same color will wind up looking quite different on each monitor.

For example, it’s common for colors to look a lot lighter and brighter on Macintosh monitors than on PC monitors, because of the factory settings.

There’s no way to control this in the design or code of a website. But, you can minimize it by using darker colors.

This is because monitors display colors using light. White is created on a monitor by turning all 3 of the color “guns” all the way up. Black is created by turning them all the way off. For darker colors, less intense light is involved in creating that color. The less intense the light involved, the less the individual settings of the monitor will shift or change the color on the screen. So, dark colors – blacks, navy, forest green, maroon, and even some bright colors like primary red will have less of a shift than light or pastel colors.

If you’re very bothered by shifting colors, don’t design your website using pastel colors.