Sorted CSS colours

Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas, right?

Those that know me from a web development perspective know how much I love CSS. Here’s another simple tool to add to my design toolbox.

Sorted CSS Colors [sic] by Mustafa Enes Ertarhanacı is an elegant tool to sort the named CSS colours in a way that shows related colours together. And that’s it.


Incidentally, the middle colour shown above is called “rebeccapurple”. Every modern web browser supports it. It has a hex value of #663399 but its value to the web community is much more than that.

Eric Meyer is an American web developer, author and champion of CSS standards. I have more books about CSS by him than I have by anyone else. He has done more than anyone I know to promote and educate people about CSS. If you are interested in learning more about CSS then read his blog, buy and read his books—you will learn a lot and not just about web technologies.

On 7 June 2014, Eric’s daughter Rebecca died of a brain tumour on her sixth birthday. On his blog, I followed the story as it unfolded (and beyond as he continued to write about the process of grieving as a parent). That he shared such an intimate and heartbreaking journey is testament to his openness and grace. I had never met either Eric or his daughter but at my desk at work, as I read the news, I sat and wept.

Two weeks later, on 21 June 2014, the CSS working group posted this message:

Following a proposal sent to social media, it is suggested to add the named color ‘rebeccapurple’, for value #663399, to CSS Color Level 4. This is a tribute to Eric Meyer’s daughter who recently passed away and a mark of support from all the Web community to Eric. I requested to ping Eric to be absolutely sure he is ok with this; he responded “he was honored by the gesture, and would love to accept it”.

CSS Working Group

I love that this small memorial is embedded into the hearts of every browser.

The funny thing is, I had a friend called Rebecca who died in 1995. She loved purple too. I always think of her too whenever I see color: rebeccapurple in any CSS code. Rest in peace beautiful Rebeccas.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 50 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Sky. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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