There is a lot of blue on the internet. Why?

Go Google something. Okay, now, go and check Facebook. Great, okay, now, pop onto Twitter. And, just to seal the deal, take a peek at your LinkedIn.

You know what you just saw a lot of? The color blue.

Blue is the most popular color on the internet by far. But as to why, well, that seems to be up for debate.

Blue has long been the go-to color for links. But no one can seem to agree on exactly why, and who made that decision.

Internet folklore traces the popularity of links back to the father of the internet, Sir Tim Berners Lee. Some of the earliest pictures of him that feature links on his computer screen show links colored in blue.

When Mark Zuckerberg was building Facebook, in the days when he was still working out of a college dorm, the choice to make blue its main color was a no brainer. Mainly, because it wasn’t really a choice.

Zuckerberg is colorblind, unable to see red or green, and so blue is the only color he can fully interpret, which made his decision to make Facebook blue a pretty easy one.

The social network being one of the most popular sites in the world, and surely something most of us look at multiple times a day, has continued the trend of blue being the color we see most often online.

41 shades of blue

Apparently this is your favorite shade of blue. How do I know? Well, nearly a decade ago, Google, which was not exactly considered a purveyor of design, had an inconsistency.

Its homepage featured a button that used one shade of blue, and Gmail featured a button that used another.

They decided to standardize the shade they were using, but which blue were they going to choose?

To find out, they ran a bunch of user tests, testing a number of shades of blue that were almost imperceptibly different. How many blues? 41 to be exact.

As is talked about in the biography, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, this story has become something of a legend. A tech company, and a manager, who, rather than trusting the gut of their designers, used data to make a design decision.

I’m not saying it’s good or bad. But, what I am saying is that the winning blue has been one of Google’s main colors ever since.

So, why?

Perhaps it is because the sky and sea are blue. Perhaps it’s because one influential person just decided he or she liked the color blue. Whatever the truth is of its origin, blue is the internet, and indeed, the entire world of design’s default color.