The tension between #7F7F7F and #808080
Let’s start with the idea of hexadecimal RGB colors where black is #000000 and white is #FFFFFF.
Now let’s say you want the gray that is halfway between those two colors. Would you pick #7F7F7F, or would you pick #808080?
There is probably no discernable difference between the two on your monitor since they are only one tick apart. The trouble is mathematical:
- #00 is 0 in decimal
- #7F is 127 in decimal
- #80 is 128 in decimal
- #FF is 255 in decimal
Neither one of the middle gray colors is exactly in the middle. How annoying!
- #7F is 127 away from #00 but 128 away from #FF
- #80 is 128 away from #00 and 127 away from #FF
The number in the middle would be 127.5 but that number is not possible with hexadecimal colors.
I have picked both colors over the years without having a strong reasoning for one over the other. And since the colors look virtually the same on the screen, there is no sense in even thinking about it. Yet here we are...