Color Trends

It’s been just a few months since Chameleon was released. The response has been fantastic, and I thought it’d be cool to share a sampling of some of the custom colors that people are purchasing.

icon color samples

It’s interesting to see very specific colors being chosen (in general, as opposed to web-safe). To me, that’s a sign that the custom engine thingy was a good idea. It’s also fun to imagine how these specific colors are fitting into their designs. Would love to see examples out in the wild, should anyone want to share.

And for what it’s worth, endless shades of blue seem to be far more popular than any other color. Hooray blue.


  1. Kim Siever says:

    Have you been tracking the popularity of the colours? t would be interesting to see if, even with the ability to customise the colours, if people were picking some colours more than others.

  2. Kim – Cool idea. I randomnly picked to show the samples above, but querying the database for duplicates would be interesting. Now a to-do.

  3. James says:

    Couldn’t view the image, so I went directly to and got this:
    You don’t have permission to access /img/cham-samples.gif on this server.
    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

  4. Not bad Mr. Dan, not bad. Of course it’s blue :-D That’s the swank corporate trendy color of the year. I think I missed your initial release on it, so I’ll pop the question here:
    Is the engine for switching colors open-source and available for others who have fantastic ideas for its usage?

  5. The image doesn’t show for me either. After trying to load it, I saw the same error message as James.

  6. Odd, the image is perfect now.

  7. Jemaleddin says:

    What would be cool is to sort the colors into a rainbow where each purchase is 1 pixel wide so we could see which parts of the spectrum are more popular…. =-)

  8. Sam says:

    My guess is ImageMagick –
    Do I get 2 points?

  9. Some interesting choices, especially the two that are quite low contrast…
    I think it’s a pity the custom colours don’t carry your exquisitely judged gradients – just the silver in the pre-packed :-(

  10. Nathan Smith says:

    I’m partial to #693 and #c90, nice shades, and easy to remember, not to mention short-hand in CSS. :)
    Chameleon is such a cool idea. I wonder, and I’m not sure if it’s possible, to do something similar, yet allow for gradients (as in some of your other icon packs)? This could maybe be accomplished with PNGs of varying transparency, which get overlaid on top of a color, then flattened, and outputted as GIFs.
    I have no idea the actual technical-side of how that would work, just think it’d be cool.

  11. Mani Sheriar says:

    Hmmm … and I thought orange was the new blue!
    Shows how much I know. ;o)

  12. Si says:

    Of course blue will be the most popular colour choice – its the techies favourite! And only techies need to download pre-designed icons as they can’t design for squat.
    No offence to your work though Dan – your icons are really nicely done. If I was in a rush for some good icons, I know where I’ll be heading!

  13. Blair says:

    Actually (for a bit of color theory), blue was, is, and always will be popular due to the psychological response it evokes — in one word, “calming.” Furthermore, blue has become associated with “tech-business,” more likely than not a direct result of Paul Rand and good ol’ Big Blue.

  14. Doug Arcuri says:

    Hmm ImageMagick… my boss swore I was using black magic. I demostrated that we could create an on the fly PDF file with a matching jpg preview… prior to it being sent to a print vendor. I was able to slice the jpg into a full pdf view and maginifed view all in one jpg all on hitting submit. Some of the options are mind bending.
    Anyways… I like these icons… perhaps I will buy a set ;)

  15. A T McMurray says:

    (croons) …tangled up in bluuuue… icons.

  16. Paul Yasi says:

    What about white? I guess the icon in the middle would have to be inverted though, and maybe the edges too.

  17. Dood says:

    I bought these for the redesign of my new site, but I use the comments icon already on the old version while we build. Check out any article and look for the comments icons. Thanks Dan.
    P.S. Oh yeah, they’re blue ;)

  18. Jeff Wheeler says:

    I really liked the idea of such a unique icon set. It was brilliant (of course, I’m in love with all you work, so I’m biased… I guess). It’s interesting to see the colors chosen.

  19. jeremiah says:

    Awesome, Very Cool

  20. Jennifer says:

    The reason blue is most popular is because most designers are guys. Do a survey of the guys you know, any age, and see what their favorite color is.
    Also, notice the gender of all the people commenting on this post.

  21. Jessica says:

    I agree Jennifer I think if women were running the show it would be pink not blue, or maybe a purple but not defenitly not blue.

  22. Jesse says:

    I see an icon and I want to paint it black…
    I’d love to see the colors by popularity. Good idea all around.

  23. Banu says:

    Hi Dan. You could convert the RGB colours into HSV and then analyse if certain hues were being used a lot.

  24. Greg says:

    So Dan, any predictions on the hot colors for 2006?

  25. Dood says:

    Just finishing up my redesign now and just realized i might have to actually get another set of you icon in a different color. Anything for repeat customers? ;)

  26. Congratulations on the success Dan!

  27. studlyspam says:

    I disagree. I am female and I despise pink. Not that I speak for all females, but I don’t think it is necessarily a gender thing. Who knows, maybe there is some research out there on the color preferences of female web designers. I have seen some research on the topic, but not that specific, and the results vary too much. I use a lot of blues and greens in my designs.

  28. Steve says:

    Of course it’s blue. Blue is the color of trust. I too would like to see some examples in use in the wild.
    Maybe I’ll whip up a smaple site page and try it out…

  29. Sven says:

    Unless you have mass buy from Chinese I don’t think blue will ever leave the first place.
    The reason for that is that it is the most popular colour in European culture (that means Europe but also America and Australia).
    I don’t have the data here but Chinese prefers red and Japanese too.
    This means that if you want a company visual identity to stand out of the croud try not to pick blue…

  30. Simon says:

    Could it be due to the fact that almost no one has a blue colour-vision deficiency?
    Red and green colours (and shades thereof) are most affected by colour blindness, but nearly everyone can see blue (or, more accurately, almost everyone can distinguish blue as a colour different from others).
    Checking your sample image above using Etre’s Colour Blind Simulator seems to suport this idea.

  31. I’m digging the #C90 and #693. Although I’m a techie, I don’t think I’ve ever used the blue based colours for my webpages.

  32. I agree with Jessica if women were running things the color would be a pink or a purple and not blue!

  33. Anastasios says:

    Dan, I think your work is great. Regarding the blue issue, I may be one of the only guys in the world whose favorite color is purple (I prefer black but I am told it doesn’t technically count as a color hehe). When I got married, I decorated my bedroom in purple and people assumed that it was because my wife liked purple (wrong!!) Poor thing, now people buy her purple when she much prefers blue and pink :)
    On my site I have been working on a redesign that uses blue. I actually would rather use green but users preferred blue. Maybe I will just use multiple style sheets and let users pick their own color :)

  34. Alex says:

    Wow. Some of those colors are quite specific. How do people arrive at such hex values? Hours of careful research and comparisons? Or simply clicking somewhere on the spectrum in Photoshop and using it’s hex value?
    Also, I couldn’t help but notice that your comment preview page is slightly outdated. It doesn’t contain the style sheet switcher buttons, the footer is quite different, and the textarea text seems rather small. Was this on purpose?

  35. Jacob says:

    Forgive me if this has already been asked, but have you considered making a dingbat font of these icons? That way people could make their own custom-color versions without putting you through any extra work!

  36. Eric True says:

    So *you’re* the one who chose that pink color for Odeo! ;-) No, it’s not bad — it just seemed a little odd at first — it’s really bright, but not cheerful (in my eyes). I’m curious about why it was used. In any event it’s an unmistakable color and I immediately associate it with the brand, which is very cool.

  37. Eric – Actually, I didn’t choose the pink for Odeo. The logo was designed by Noah (and possibly Ev as well). But the hue was something I immediately loved about it. The distinction. That you associate it with the brand is wonderful.

  38. Hi!
    I have noticed that all the icons are 2 color images except for the silver icon set. I take that one of the reason for that was the simplicity of generating new images.
    However it would be possible to generate custom color images and retaining decent amount of colors used by image as well. Simply the custom color provided by user would be the equivalent to the darkest color in the silver scheme, and remaining colors would be computed as a mixture of white and custom color in the same proportion/manner as it has been done for silver set.
    I believe the result would be quite outstandng. What would you say?

  39. Swedish research a few years back showed that peoples willingness to accept a fine from a parking attendant without arguing too much increased when the parking attendant was dressed in blue uniform as opposed to the previous green one.
    Also, some of mother nature’s best berries come in blue