Hue, Saturation, Lightness

10 Feb 2011

I’ve met quite a few designers who are colourblind, but personally it affects my ability to distinguish between green and brown, or blue and purple. Tones and colour strength I can see, but certain colours are hard to tell apart.

You might already know I originally trained as a wildlife illustrator. I knew which colours to use by the helpful names on the paint tubes, and even the more obscure names like Oxide of Chromium were memorable (it’s the best base for natural greens by the way). Then when I transitioned to print design, I used the CMYK system. Even if I couldn’t differentiate colours, I knew how to create, for example, a bright red numerically. Especially as the way the colours were built up was simliar to using watercolour. It was logical.

Screen design was the biggest challenge though. RGB made no sense numerically or logically, and while others were fine using colour pickers, they were the hardest way for me to choose colour. The tiny area of colour, and it’s proximity to other colours is too confusing. Crucially, there are no labels!

When I discovered HSL colour via Molly’s Dev.Opera article 2 years ago it was an epiphany. Finally I could use numbers to select my colours, and once I’d learned where the hues sat on the scale, I was away! Not just for CSS either, as 85% of my work time is spent in Illustrator, creating either icons, logos, or illustrations.

The single thing that’s made the most difference to how I design on-screen is when I discovered the joy that is HSL colour. So, here’s to you HSL, you’re a saviour!

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Instagram Hickstagram

  • 22 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 22. Well, @hicksmade left me with a toughie to follow. Here’s my attempt at Dali taking his pet anteater for a walk. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #dali

  • 21 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 21, another bird (sorry @hicksmade)! This is the Snipe that I watched from the hide at Rusty Common on Friday. Lovely birds with beaks that defy the body they’re attached to. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #snipe

  • 21 Oct 2018

    Common Darter Dragonfly

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 20: quick doodle without planning in pencil or looking at reference, which is usually a bad idea. Your turn @hicksmade! #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Morning dog walk. Even the wheelie bins looked good in this light

  • 20 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 19. Following @hicksmade’s marshmallows with more marshmallows 🤪 #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #ghostbusters #staypuft

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 18. When @hicksmade did a prawn I was sure she was setting me up to do cocktails! #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #cocktails

  • 18 Oct 2018

  • 18 Oct 2018

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 17 . @hicksmade’s pen led me onto squid and their ink shooting abilities. I also found out that a part of the squids anatomy is called a ‘pen’. #inktober #inktober2018 #ink #leighandjondoinktober

Contact us

Call Jon on +44 (0)7917 391536, email or tweet @hicksdesign.

Alternatively, pop in for tea and cake at the studio…

Hicks
Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom