Visual Notes


The official Northwestern purple hexadecimal code for web pages is #4E2A84.

Web-safe Colors

Web-safe colors are not required for two reasons: 1) a minuscule percentage of users still use 8-bit monitors; and 2) a simple workaround exists: Use transparent backgrounds for images. Web-safe colors were advocated in the past because older monitors were only capable of displaying 256 colors.

Graphics and Photography

GIF, PNG, JPG, and SVG are the most common formats for web graphics. 


  • Supports transparency and animation.
  • Good for images with limited colors or with flat regions of color.
  • Best used with smaller sized images.
  • Limited to 256 colors.


  • Smaller file size (5%-25% more compressed than GIF).
  • Best bitmap image format for transparency (such as logos and icons).
  • No jagged edges and no need for matte color matching.
  • Not suitable for large images due to large file size.
  • Cannot be animated


  • 24-bit color, with up to 16 million colors.
  • Rich colors, great for photographs
  • Better for images with subtle variations of color (supports 16 million colors) such as large photos.
  • Higher compression tends to degrade quality: adjust compressions to avoid large file size and bad image quality.
  • Does not support transparency or animation.


  • XML-based graphics language for vector shapes, text and embedded raster graphics.
  • Strong mobile support due to scalable nature.
  • Supports transparency and animation.