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About the 80 million dollars Blue (#0044cc)

Thursday, March 18, 2010 { 7 Comments }

Yesterday I find out about $80 million blue via Luke Wroblewski tweet . Naturally I got curies and watched Paul Ray video about the Bing redesign . Definitely interesting video and covers topics that I’m very fond of like Golden triangle and the reading process.

But the most important part is blue of the links that brings Microsoft revenue of 80 million dollars.

From Paul Ray slides: (#0044cc) This blue is worth at least $80 million dollars.

I was little Wow, right now I’m working on my search engine and I know how difficult and important that decision. I’m also interested in color theory. So I was super curious about the holy grail of blue and how can affect our design decision in the future. So I opened Photoshop and Excel and run some tests.

And I was very surprised of my findings.

Before you go on with further reading do you want to take Red or Blue Pill :-)

First a little intro in colors and color theory. Like you know RGB is (Red, Green, Blue) and every color on our monitor is made by mixing this colors. The values of each color can go from 0 to 255. So in other words:

Red is mix of (Red:255, Green :0, Blue:0) or #ff0000

Green is mix of (Red:0, Green :255, Blue:0) or #00ff00

Blue is mix of (Red:0, Green :0, Blue:255) or #0000ff

This are pure colors.

And this is Bing Blue:

(Red:0, Green :68, Blue:204) or #0044cc

So mix of 68 Green and 204 Blue(1:3 proportion) = 80$ million dollars blue.

Cool 204/68 = 3 so this proportion makes perfect mathematical sense.

But something was troubling me with this number. In color theory the thing doesn’t work like that.

In order something to be complete red + green + blue should be 255.

But in this case we have (0 Red + 68 green +204blue = 272) And 272 <> 255.

I even made Excel experiment

So the right blue will be (0Red + 51green + 204 blue = 255) or #0033cc

So I tried to insert this new number directly in Bing with Firebug and I was surprised to find out there was no trace of #0044cc but the number for the links was #0033cc.

I was little flattered that I came out with this number all by myself.

But the question was Why someone on Mix presentation will present false number!!?

Than all suddenly all came clear to me! It is a mind puzzle!

I will explain everything in a sec.

We have 204blue and 51green which is #0033cc the color used on Bing site for links.
204:51 = 4:1 = 80% :20% or 80%blue with 20% green.

This is 80/20 rule also know as Pareto principle is one of the basic rules in many areas and one of the key principles in design.

It is not 80 million of dollars but 80% of blue used #0033cc.

Is the 80 million just pure accident ? I know one turtle who will say There are no accidents ha,ha :).

Anyway to get serious no matter what blue you will choose you will fail if you don’t balance the rest of the page. Is not just the blue but everything around who says that design is easy. The color theory is very challenging and powerful thing ,you can easy transmit a message to our subconscious mind. My compliments to Bing and Microsoft that finally started to invents seriously in design .


Here is my $618 million dollar blue (#00619e)

It is made by using the Golden Proportion (0Red : 97 Green : 158 Blue) or 38.2 percent Green and 61.8 percent Blue.


7 Responses to “About the 80 million dollars Blue (#0044cc)”

  1. // Anonymous Anonymous // 3/18/2010

    are you stoned?  

  2. // Blogger Vladimir // 3/18/2010

    @Anonymous: Ha,ha No just constant lack of sleep. I know that for many of you this article looks like resolving some "conspiracy theory". But actually lately I'm obsessed with the golden proportion also with profound study of color theory and color mixing etc. I'm also working on my personal search engine so I'm familiar with the problem of finding the perfect blue. And maybe the most important part I'm curios about things ;)  

  3. // Blogger Unknown // 3/18/2010

    "In order something to be complete red + green + blue should be 255."

    You lost me on this line... can you please elaborate ?  

  4. // Blogger Vladimir // 3/19/2010

    @Glamdring: Maybe the word "complete" is not the right one. I should probably dedicate one post about this issue. Red Green Blue when there are in pure state they have the value of 255.So we have from 0 to 255 or how much white or black the color contains. You probably played with gray like #333333 or #999999 so somewhere in the middle you have #555555.
    or (85,85,85) = 255. I know is no easy task to understand it, I'm still struggling with this issue truing to understand more about colors and how we elaborate colors. So I will probably write more in detail in the future.  

  5. // Anonymous Anonymous // 3/19/2010

    Each field in the RGB color set can have a value of 0-255 (FF). Although adding up the values of each field doesn't mean anything, if you did the total would be 765 (255*3), not 255.  

  6. // Blogger Vladimir // 3/19/2010

    @Anonymous: I'm saying pure RED is (255,0,0). Naturally that we can have something like (255,170,255) or (1,2,3) or (255,255,255). But the trick that Bing is using is different, they compensate the lost of one color with the other but the sum in the case of Bing blue also Bing green is 255.  

  7. // Anonymous Eric Swanson // 2/07/2014

    Or, perhaps they were simply practical in their approach balancing the business of color theory with the constraints of reality: "44" blue was really the research choice, but they just implemented it with "33" from the 216 colors from the web safe color palette (combinations of 00, 33, 66, 99, CC, FF).  

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Name: Vladimir Carrer
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