Multiple colours for one element


I’m writing a site where the logo’s going to be a word where the middle characters are a different colour to the outer ones; e.g.

<style type="text/css" media="screen>
    .logoG { color:blue; }
    .logoGo { color:red; }
    .logoGoo { color:yellow; }
    .logoGoog { color:blue; }
    .logoGoogl { color:green; }
    .logoGoogle { color:red; }
<span class="logoG">G</span><span class="logoGo">o</span><span class="logoGoo">o</span><span class="logoGoog">g</span><span class="logoGoogl">l</span><span class="logoGoogle">e</span>

I want to keep the text as text; not use image substitution tricks to hide the text and replace it with a logo background image. i.e. I want the HTML to look like this:

<span class="logo">Google</span>

…and for the CSS to do the hard work by doing something along the lines of:

logo {visibility: none;}
logo:after {visibility: visible; content: "G"; color:blue;}
logo:after:after {content: "o"; color:red;}
logo:after:after:after {content: "o"; color:yellow;}
logo:after:after:after:after {content: "g"; color:blue;}
logo:after:after:after:after:after {content: "l"; color:green;}
logo:after:after:after:after:after:after {content: "e"; color:red;}

…or better yet:

logo:first-letter  {color:blue;}
logo:nth-letter[2] {color:red;}
logo:nth-letter[3] {color:yellow;}
logo:nth-letter[4] {color:blue;}
logo:nth-letter[5] {color:green;}
logo:nth-letter[6] {color:red;}

So far the closest trick I’ve found is this trick for rainbow text:

I’d also ideally like this solution to avoid javascript if possible; too much?


Here’s some sample code which works based on hacking the rainbow – however the moment you resize the text (e.g. ctrl + +) it quickly breaks.

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=UTF-8">
  <title>Google Demo</title>
  <style type="text/css" media="screen">
    h1 {
        linear, left top, right top
        , color-stop(0, blue)
        , color-stop(0.018, blue)
        , color-stop(0.018, red)
        , color-stop(0.030, red)
        , color-stop(0.030, yellow)
        , color-stop(0.040, yellow)
        , color-stop(0.040, blue)
        , color-stop(0.054, blue)
        , color-stop(0.054, green)
        , color-stop(0.058, green)
        , color-stop(0.059, red)
        , color-stop(0.108, red)
        -webkit-background-clip: text;      
<body lang="en-US">


A pure CSS solution is to use a gradient background colour to

  • create your rainbow (background-image: linear-gradient(to left, violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red);)
  • use -webkit-background-clip: text; to apply this background only behind text (the actual characters; not the non-character pixels around them)
  • make the text transparent (color: transparent;) so that you can see the background behind those characters.
  • Ensure the width of the background matches the width of the text; since if the gradient takes the full page width whilst the text is just a few chars on the left of the page, you’ll only see the left-most colour(s). This can be done via width: fit-content;.
.rainbow-text {
  background-image: linear-gradient(to left, violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red);
  -webkit-background-clip: text;
  color: transparent;
  width: fit-content;

Details and example here:

Note: This isn’t one colour per character; rather it’s a continuous gradient of colours through all characters

ps. Here’s a javascript version for anyone with a similar issue but no js concerns. This uses Jesse’s trick of nth child alongside some code to put the relevant tags in play.

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=UTF-8">
  <title>Google Demo</title>
  <style type="text/css" media="screen">
    h1 .x:nth-child(1) { color: blue; }
    h1 .x:nth-child(2) { color: red; }
    h1 .x:nth-child(3) { color: yellow; }
    h1 .x:nth-child(4) { color: blue; }
    h1 .x:nth-child(5) { color: green; }
    h1 .x:nth-child(6) { color: red; }
  <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">
    function fancy() {
        var h1s = document.getElementsByTagName('h1');
        for(var i = 0; i < h1s.length; i++) {
            var h1Text = h1s[i].innerText;
            var h1InnerHTML = '';
            for(var j = 0; j < h1Text.length; j++) {
                h1InnerHTML += '<span class="x">' + h1Text[j] + '</span>'; //nb: innerHTML is a dodgy hack, but fine for demos / works in Chrome
            h1s[i].innerHTML = h1InnerHTML;
<body lang="en-US" onload="fancy();">

Answered By – JohnLBevan

Answer Checked By – Mildred Charles (AngularFixing Admin)

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