Editorial Feature - The Return of Cyan
|Published:||Jan 25, 2007|
The Return Of Cyan
by Sue Pichotta of Icons-icons.com
Once upon a time (about 20 years ago), monitors could display only 16colors. There were the easy colors, like black, white, blue and red, andthen there were variations that made things interesting, like limegreen, bright yellow, magenta, and everyone's favorite (really!), cyan.
Cyan (pronounced like sigh-ann) is a blue-green color, and looks a lotlike turquoise or aqua. It's a basic color used in inks and colorprocessing. You have probably seen colors noted as RGB (Red Green Blue)values; maybe you've also seen colors noted as CMY (Cyan MagentaYellow). Cyan is, in a way, a basic color.
The color cyan became immensely popular during the early days of colorcomputing. It was blue enough to appeal to the majority of computerusers (blue is the most popular color in the world), and cyan could bebright enough to be a great accent color.
For years, you could see cyan everywhere you looked. In software, inicons, on websites, it became the "cool" color. It was as though someonesaid, "Want to look hip and modern? Use Cyan." Microsoft used cyan intheir Office icons (at left). Software developers everywhereincorporated cyan into their software, on screens and in graphics(above). And early websites loved cyan.
As more colors became possible for use, cyan gave way to a whole paletteof blues - every variety of blue imaginable. As more blue colors andshades became popular, cyan became dated and old.And then comes Vista. Blue is still cool, but now gradients and glassy looks are the thing. (Gradients are colors gradually shifted from one toanother.) If you want to use blue (and it seems that everyone does), andyou stick with standard color theory, the gradient can go two ways...From blue to purple-red, or from blue to cyan-green. Purple is notusually considered a real guy color (and software design is mostly a guything), so that leaves green. And what is in the middle of a blue-greengradient? It's cyan, baby!
Vista uses cyan not only in gradients, but also in their new glass-lookicons. Cyan is back, but it's not your father's cyan. This cyan isshaded in gradients, and highlighted with glass and light effects.
I predict that we're going to see a lot more of cyan in the future: insoftware, icons and websites. It's a good, safe color, close to blue,but a little different. Strong, professional.. and even a little pretty.
The return of cyan to popularity is a good thing, and inevitable, in itsown way. All things cycle: What was old is new again. Go, cyan!
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Sue Pichotta has been involved in the computer industry since 1979, when she majored Comp Sci at the California State University, Chico. Since then she's worked as a software developer, business owner, internet marketer and graphic artist. In the past, Sue founded AISIP (the Association of Independent Software Industry Professionals), wrote and sold a bidding software package, worked on various contract programming jobs in interesting areas (like gold mining), and maintained the payroll and election software for the City of Reno. These days, Sue loves internet marketing and graphic design, and uses both to sell icon sets and related graphics from her website, icons-icons.com