What color was "Apple Beige"?

Getting the color right is not a small issue for restorations. This is also true for retro computers and the early Apple machines with their case painted in a color ominously called “Apple Beige”, mostly beige, but also with a hint of green? But what is it exactly? And is there a modern replacement? Ben Zoro got hold of an authentic sample and investigates…

A nice article with just the right amount of dedicated nerdyness. :slight_smile:

Via HN, discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25914502


For a post so specific about color, all of the photos were horrible. The one in “natural light” didn’t look like natural light at all.

Anyway, my local paint center has a laser matching rig. You bring a sample down. In this case I’d just bring the damn computer, and they bounce a laser off of it and then it calculates the paints you need to mix to get the color. I was disappointed the author didn’t do this.

Indeed, it feels to me that if you’re not a colour expert, taking your own photos and looking at photos on uncalibrated displays is probably not going to give the exactitude that’s being looked for here.

And I would expect any pigment to change over decades. Still, a mildly interesting exploration, for me.

Oh yes. Interesting for me too. I was just expecting more. :slight_smile:

Has anyone ever asked Susan Kare? She did a lot with the look of the interface and icons for the Mac. Maybe she has an idea or heard a rumour. I actually follow her on twitter. I’ll ask her.

While reading, I shared that feeling regarding colors and images, but, on the other hand, digital color will be always off. (You really need a well known process for this, like Ektachrome transparencies with a color key card in the image for reference. But as you scan it, and maybe also convert color profiles in the process, all the reference is gone. And as for digital photos, camera sensors are all over the place, and we haven’t even mentioned in-camera processing.) Looking for well known color references (like Pantone or other color systems) is probably a more realistic approach to conveying the information in a “portable” manner.

That said, I found the blue paper-white in the “natural light” images mildly amusing, as well. However, for the purpose of showing similarities and/or differences, it’s probably still better than adding white balance in post production, which will result inevitably in some loss of the relevant information. (Adding white balance will be just squishing a color channel on one side of the reference point and spread it on the other one, and we’re speaking here about a representation in purely unsigned integer numbers.) So, on second thought, showing the images as-exposed was actually the right thing to do.
(And, as the images are that noticeably off, I guess, it was deliberately done so, showing some consideration.)

The right people to ask would probably be Manock and Oyama, who were Apple’s early industrial designers, not Kare. :slight_smile:

Sure. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know.