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Compliant style

26 Sep 2003

Joe Clarks’ Fawny blog talks about a category of web design he’s noticed and labelled “The International Compliant Style” (IC-Style). He describes this as being “employed, though not necessarily through conscious decision, by the majority of developers and designers who are committed to following official specifications”. He mentions stopdesign as an example of someone subverting the rules of the style, but I thought that mezzoblue would be an even more radical example. Hicksdesign is one the of the sites that Joe lists as following the rules of IC-Style.

Joe gives some explanations, but I have my own reasons for using the colours that I do. Perhaps I’ll share a little secret with you (and risk losing any client that ever visits this site). You see, I’m colourblind, and more specifically, I have problems distinguishing between blue and purple, and green and brown. This is called ‘red/green colourblind’. I can see tones, but hold up a blue square and purple square, and I’ll probably just see 2 blue squares (handy that you had some coloured squares lying around though).

To test for this, you’re made to look through a book of what looks like random colour dots. Your ability to see the numbers or letters within the dots tells you what colours you are affected by. These can be really frustrating, and leave you crying “No I can’t see anything – its just dots!!”. Many teachers would tell me that I’d drawn “a very nice picture of a green monkey”.

Over the years I have ‘taught myself colour’ through print design and the CMYK palette. I know that 50% cyan and 100% yellow makes green for example. I’ve always had people I could ask as well (my wife gets the brunt of it). There’s also common knowledge. For instance, I know that grass is supposed to be green, therefore when I look at grass I say “hmm… green!”. However, in summer when grass dries up and goes brown, I actually see it as light green. Any concerned clients reading this might now need to reassure themselves that I have a double life as a wildlife illustrator, so I can get by.

What does make life hard are the tiny colour swatches in apps like Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. When small, and all placed together in one large block, its very hard for me to distinguish colours. I now have a large printed(!) chart, with a good range of hex colours with the colours labelled. Choosing colours can still be a bit of ‘process’ though, and thats my reason for using grey a lot!

Instagram Hickstagram

  • 16 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 16 “The Pilot” - a response to @hicksmade’s barber shop poster. Experimenting with a different style on this one #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #pilot

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 15. @hicksmade’s staircase led me to this. There must be a hairdressers somewhere called this? #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #hairwaytosteven

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 14 - from @hicksmade’s theme of escape, and tonight’s Dr Who, with a return to classic theme: running!. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #drwho #pictogram #signage

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 13 is more of a doodle as time was very short! There was a bird in @hicksmade’s day 13 so I ran with that. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 12 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 12. Thinking about @hicksmade’s lumos led me to this “please don’t turn me off…”. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #sadlightswitch

  • 11 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 11. The shape of @hicksmade’s spoons made me think of the Mandrake - a root that looks like a tiny human. There are lots of legends around it, but this one is based on the Harry Potter interpretation. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #mandrake #harrypotter

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 10. @hicksmade led with a lovely bee, which made me think of the Jesus and Mary Chain song “Just like honey”. Fancied trying something different so went for a 60s typographical thingy . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #honey

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Beautiful morning at North Leigh Common!

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 9, as the crow flies. An obvious link from @hicksmade’s scarecrow, but I’m much happier with this one compared to yesterday’s. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #crow

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 8 and boy am I cross with how this one turned out. It’s utter pants. Supposed to be Bill Murray and Scarlet Johannsen in Lost in Translation, not that you could tell from this. Bill looks like a zombie, and goodness knows what that is on the right. It put me in such a bad mood last night, but I need to let it go and move on. (I even cheated a bit and touched up some bits in Photoshop!). The one bit I’m happy with is his neck, and that’s it. Rant over #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

Contact us

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

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

Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom