Browser-Safe Palette

Definition of Browser-Safe Palette

The Browser-Safe Palette refers to a collection of 216 specific colors that are designed to display consistently on all web browsers and computer monitors. This palette originated in the early days of the web when computers had a limited color display capability, and it was used by web designers to avoid color inconsistencies across different screens. While modern devices now support millions of colors, the browser-safe palette can still be useful in specific situations where color consistency is essential.


The phonetic pronunciation for “Browser-Safe Palette” is: Browser: /ˈbraʊzər/Safe: /seɪf/Palette: /ˈpælɪt/In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), this would be written as:/ˈbraʊzər seɪf ˈpælɪt/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Browser-Safe Palette consists of 216 colors that display consistently across different browsers and platforms, ensuring your website maintains a uniform appearance for all users.
  2. These colors are created by combining 6 levels of red, green, and blue (RGB) in various combinations, resulting in a range of Web-safe hues perfect for designing accessible content.
  3. While the Browser-Safe Palette may be limited in color options compared to modern capabilities, it remains a reliable choice to avoid dithering or color distortion when compatibility is a priority in your website design.

Importance of Browser-Safe Palette

The Browser-Safe Palette, also known as the Web-Safe Color Palette, is an important term in technology as it refers to a selection of 216 colors that display consistently across different devices, web browsers, and operating systems.

Prior to the widespread adoption of true color displays, many people had 8-bit color monitors, capable of displaying only 256 colors at a time.

The Browser-Safe Palette helped to ensure that web pages appeared uniformly, minimizing variation in color rendering and enhancing the user experience.

Although it has become less significant today due to the prevalence of high-quality displays, the concept of browser-safe colors remains relevant in terms of maintaining backward compatibility and accessibility for viewers with visual impairments or dated technology.


The Browser-Safe Palette was conceived during the early years of the internet, when most computer monitors had limited color display capabilities. This restricted environment brought forth the need for a standard color palette that could be universally recognized and accurately displayed across multiple platforms and devices.

Developers and designers alike adopted the Browser-Safe Palette, consisting of 216 colors, to ensure that their web content appeared consistently on screens with varying resolutions and color depths. Its purpose was to provide an accessible and harmonious visual experience to a broad audience in a time when technology was still advancing.

As technology progressed and display capabilities improved exponentially, the need for the Browser-Safe Palette faded. However, it still serves as a reminder of the early challenges faced by web developers and designers in creating a cohesive experience for users.

Today, although not as critical, the principles behind the palette continue to inspire the development of adaptive web designs and accessibility for diverse devices and user displays. In essence, the Browser-Safe Palette was a key innovation for its time, which bridged technological limitations and fostered consistency in the ever-expanding realm of the World Wide Web.

Examples of Browser-Safe Palette

The Browser-Safe Palette, also known as the Web Safe Palette or 216-color palette, was a widely-used color palette in the early days of the web. It consisted of 216 colors that displayed consistently across different browsers and platforms. Here are three real-world examples of the Browser-Safe Palette in use:

Early Web Design: During the early days of the web (mid-1990s to early 2000s), web designers relied heavily on the Browser-Safe Palette to ensure their designs were both visually appealing and consistent across various browsers (Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, etc.) and platforms (Windows, Mac, etc.). By picking colors from the Browser-Safe Palette, web designers ensured that the colors they selected would not dither (appear pixelated) or change when displayed on different devices and monitors.

Web Design Tutorials and Tools: Many web design tutorials, classes, and tools from the late 1990s and early 2000s focused on teaching people how to create visually appealing websites using the Browser-Safe Palette. For instance, Adobe Photoshop and other graphic software included a version of the Browser-Safe Palette as a color selection tool, enabling users to create graphics that would display well on any browser or platform.

Graphic Formats and Compression: The Browser-Safe Palette played a significant role in the development and usage of early web-friendly graphic formats like GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). Since GIF images were limited to 256 colors, the Browser-Safe Palette helped ensure images displayed consistently across different browsers and operating systems. As a result, many early web graphics, like icons, buttons, and banners, were designed using the Browser-Safe Palette to keep file sizes small and maintain color integrity.Although the Browser-Safe Palette has become less relevant with the advancements in display technology, modern browsers, and the wider use of other color palettes, it played a crucial role in the early days of web design and development.

Browser-Safe Palette FAQ

What is a browser-safe palette?

A browser-safe palette is a collection of 216 web-safe colors that are designed to display consistently across various web browsers and graphic software. These colors consist of a fixed set of shades that ensure graphics appear accurately without dithering or color distortion on different devices and platforms.

Why use a browser-safe palette?

Using a browser-safe palette ensures that the colors in your graphics and web designs will be displayed consistently, regardless of the browser, operating system, or device used by the viewer. This helps to maintain the quality and structure of your design, minimizing any unexpected changes for different users.

How is the browser-safe palette generated?

The browser-safe palette is generated by combining the primary colors red, green, and blue at six different intensity levels, ranging from 0% to 100%. By combining these 6 levels of each primary color, a total of 216 consistent and reliable colors are created, forming the browser-safe palette.

How can I use a browser-safe palette in my designs?

To use a browser-safe palette in your designs, simply choose colors from the 216 available options for your graphics, icons, buttons, and backgrounds. You can find several browser-safe palette tools and resources online that provide hex codes to implement these colors in your HTML, CSS, or other design software.

Is the browser-safe palette still relevant in modern design?

While the browser-safe palette was initially created as a solution for older browsers and devices with limited color display capabilities, its relevance has diminished with advancements in technology and display capabilities. However, it can still be useful as a starting point for color selection or for creating designs that need to be accessible and consistent across a wide range of devices and platforms.

Related Technology Terms


  • Web-safe Colors
  • Color Limitations
  • Hexadecimal Values
  • RGB Conversion
  • Cross-platform Compatibility


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