Browse Prior Art Database

Color-Conscious Icons

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000111098D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 110K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hanna, PF: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Icons are used to represent objects in many graphical user interfaces. Color selection for icons is done assuming a static relationship between foreground and background color. Most Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) allow the user to change the background color of the icon but not the foreground. Users may select background colors that conflict with icon foreground colors, making the icon less effective. This disclosure provides a solution to this problem through the application of color theory and dynamic updating of application icons.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 50% of the total text.

Color-Conscious Icons

      Icons are used to represent objects in many graphical user
interfaces.  Color selection for icons is done assuming a static
relationship between foreground and background color.  Most Graphical
User Interfaces (GUIs) allow the user to change the background color
of the icon but not the foreground.  Users may select background
colors that conflict with icon foreground colors, making the icon
less effective.  This disclosure provides a solution to this problem
through the application of color theory and dynamic updating of
application icons.

      Color mapping is currently a static characteristic of the
foreground plane of icons.  The invention described herein is an icon
which is dynamically "conscious" of the screen background color.  The
Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) color values of the window background
colors are specified in the system utilization file.  A color
conscious icon queries these window background colors in the system
initialization file when the application is launched.  Depending on
the window background RGB values, the foreground plane icon colors
are dynamically re-set during application launch to ensure they
complement and not clash with the user-specified window background
color when the application icons are eventually loaded to the screen.
The RGB values for the foreground plane icon colors are selected on
the basis of numerical RGB values derived from a mapping of split
complementary colors against the background color RGB values.  Split
complementary colors are colors that are adjacent on the color wheel
to the complementary color and soften the image.  For example, the
complementary color to yellow is purple.  However, the use of red and
blue (the split complementaries) soften the complement.  The color
conscious icon senses the screen background and based on the RGB
values of the background plane color, selects foreground plane colors
that complement rather than conflict with the background plane
colors.

      The palette used by a color icon is composed of a number of RGB
color elements each of which defines a specific color in the palette
for the icon.  The RGB color element is a set of three values giving
the absolute intensity of each of the device's primary colors: red,
green and blue.

      The number of possible RGB color elements in the palette is
determined by the bit width of each pel in the bitmap for the picture
area (i.e., 4 bits allows designation of 16 elements or colors, and 8
bits allows 256 elements, etc.)  It is these RGB elements which must
be changed to change the colors in the icon palette.

      Complimentary colors are numerically calculated by taking the
present RGB amount and subtracting it from 255.  The differences
become the RGBs of the complementary colors.

      In theory, the modification of these RGB elements to achieve
the desired color composure is a straight forward process.  The icon
palette (color table) is...