Visual Notes


The official purple Northwestern University for web pages is defined below. Use of this color is not required.

  • RGB: 82,0,99
  • Hexadecimal: 520063

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 and JPEG are the most common formats for web graphics. However, if you decide to use PNG for its superior transparency properties, you must implement this PNG JavaScript fix for cross-browser compatibility (Internet Explorer 6 and 7).


  • Better for smaller graphics with text.
  • Supports animation.
  • Render with a transparent background to avoid dithering.
  • Smaller file size.
  • Smaller color palette.


  • Smaller file size (5%-25% more compressed than GIF).
  • Best for transparency.
  • No jagged edges and no need for matte color matching.


  • Better for images with subtle variations of color (supports 16 million colors).
  • Higher compression tends to degrade quality: adjust compressions to avoid large file size and bad image quality.