How is colour notated? For example, if you want to refer to a specific red colour, say the red in the basic MS Paint colour palate, how do you notate this? Do you write Hue: 238, Sat: 205, Lum: 125; Red: 237, Green: 28; Blue: 36?

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    HSL is a different way of describing a colour from RGB. You don't need to specify the HSL values if you already have the RGB values (and vice versa). – Billy Kerr Nov 10 '19 at 11:48
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    Whatever the way fits your need I guess? With a hex value you only need one value for example, something like #8B0000 for dark red. Or triads for RGB/HSB/LAB/whatever color space. There're also 140 predefined color names in web browsers. – Sergey Kritskiy Nov 10 '19 at 12:48
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    It doesn't matter. Whatever works for whomever you need to read the color. – Scott Nov 11 '19 at 19:35

Red: 237, Green: 28; Blue: 36?

Some common ways to "describe a color" are a bit different than this. (But you still could use the one you wrote and people will understand)

  • R237 G28 B36

  • RGB 237, 28, 36

  • RGB 237 28 36

The other color model, the HSL is still a good option but less used by far.

  • H238 S205 L125

  • HSL 238, 205, 125

  • HSL 238 205 125

Personally, I think the second option on the examples I provided are faster to read because of two reasons.

You pick up really fast which color model you are referring to (I am adding some more):

  • RGB

  • HSL

  • CMYK

  • HSB

  • Lab

And then you only pass the values separated by commas (than can be copy-pasted into a web page's code for example)

  • 237, 28, 36

I am using quotes on "describe a color" because it is not entirely accurate, you need additional info do describe it more accurately. My typical example is:

  1. Take a water-based marker, let's say a cyan one and draw a line on two papers, one a glossy paper and the second one a newspaper.

  2. The amount of ink, one stroke of cyan, is the same the resulting color is not.

So the additional info you need to describe a color is a color profile. This gives the information about, on my example, the type of ink and the type of paper.

For a simple notation like MS Paint, the implicit color profile is sRGB. This does not mean that you should worry about it for simple usage, but when you raise your expectations you should be aware of it.


A quick and unmistakable way is to write RGB colors in CSS notation.
In your case that would be rgb(237, 28, 36)


Most common way to notate color is the hash sign hexadecimal string. In your case Red: 237, Green: 28; Blue: 36 is:

  • #ED1C24, or
  • #ed1c24

This is by far he most common notation. Many design applications and all browsers allow you to paste this in. The only downside of this conversion is that you need to do the hexadecimal conversion. Technically you:

  • integer divide the channels by 16 (237\16 = 14) (28\16 = 1) (36\16=2)
  • Take the modulus of 16 the channels (237%16 = 13) (28%16 = 12) (36%16=4)
  • Pick for each of these values a number 0-9 than ABCDEF, whereaA is 10 and F 15

    (14, 13 => ED) (1, 12 => 1C) (2, 4 => 24)

  • Concatenate and prepend hash sign (#ED1C24)

Fortunately there is not a computer on the planet that does not come with a converter for this.

PS: if you ask wolfram alpha it knows how to answer your question

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