RE: [css-color] Exposing "brand"/"accent" color

> From: Tab Atkins Jr. []
> Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:01 PM
> To: Bogdan Brinza
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [css-color] Exposing "brand"/"accent" color
> On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 6:50 PM, Bogdan Brinza <>
> wrote:
> > There is a concept of "brand"/"accent" color on many operating systems
> that web apps / sites want to use in CSS (we in IE get requests often
> enough):
> >
> > - On Windows Phone 7/8 this is called "Accent color" and you can use this in
> browser with CSS color highlight.
> > - On Mac OS X this is called "Highlight color" and you can use this in browser
> again with CSS color highlight.
> > - Windows 8/8.1 has "Accent color" and "Background color" that are NOT
> exposed in CSS (CSS highlight gives hardcoded value), but you can get this
> through WinRT with JavaScript in Windows web applications (WWAs).
> > - I can't really comment iOS / Android / Chrome OS - perhaps somebody
> can add this information if it's valuable. Brief investigation suggest there is no
> customizable system accent color, but system accent color is present.
> >
> > Looking at css-color history there was a concept of "flavor" color
> ( that is
> capturing something different, but close enough to the accent /brand color
> present in Windows/Windows Phone/Mac OS X. The existing definition
> focused on hardware, and modern concepts come from software color
> accents.
> >
> > With the requests to implement Windows accent color in IE coming our way
> quite frequently from internal and external partners, we're feeling the
> system specific CSS color concept is starting to build up and is worth revisiting
> (though it would be nice to avoid X11 / system color deprecated in CSS).
> While it's possible to expose Windows accent color as it's done on Windows
> Phone / Mac OS X as CSS highlight - this has few drawbacks - since CSS
> highlight color is ubiquitous you can't really provide your own specific brand
> color on systems that don't have concept of accent/brand color.
> >
> > Another implication is that in all systems that have this concept exposed to
> CSS (Windows Phone / Mac OS X) the color is updated whenever user picks
> new value in system settings. It would make sense to expose corresponding
> event to listen to system accent color / theme changes and be able to react if
> necessary (perhaps to find a matching secondary color).
> >
> > Internet Explorer can always follow existing implementations and expose
> Windows accent color through CSS highlight, but that really feels like fitting
> modern concept into existing one.
> >
> > It's interesting to get WG opinion on this topic and address this in css-color
> module.
> What are the requests you're getting for exposing theme color to websites?
> What are they trying to do?  What are these colors used for in the OS, and
> what do people want to use them for in websites?
> It sounds like you're just asking for a new system color; is this right?
> ~TJ

My apologies for replying so late.

Yes, essentially, however such color does not have a fixed value. For example see this page - that lists available colors and impact on operating system presentation. 

One of the current consumers within Microsoft is our JavaScript/CSS framework WinJS -, they want to consume the user selected accent color and we want to expose this in CSS. Many other teams within the company that have web content have expressed interest in similar scenarios.

Now the reason for me bringing this is up is that concept of user selectable "special" color is not unique to Windows. Mac OS X has highlight color that serves similar purpose and perhaps there are more examples.

Received on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 00:13:26 UTC