6 Colors are Too Many for a Colorblind Guy

I always try to be smart when I use different colors to point out something. But it happens again and again that I still mix up the colors—even if I put together a good strategy.

This time it happened when coloring a simple graphics illustrating a project lifecycle model. It consists of six modules and therefore I was looking for six different colors for coloring them. And this was where the whole problem started.

How can I choose six different colors from a set of about twenty crayons, which I won’t mix up? The simple answer is: I can’t.

I really tried to find colors which are easily distinguishable even for my eyes. But with my color blindness this is almost impossible. I’ve chosen the following colors:

  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Violet
  • Orange
  • Green

I arranged them in the above order to be sure not to mix them up. The color pairs blue/violet, yellow/orange and red/green looked very close to each other for my colorblind eyes.

But of course it didn’t work. Suddenly I didn’t had the correct order anymore and it started to get problematic. So I didn’t color red and green right away, because they are the most problem colors for a red-green colorblind guy like me. I colored them only after my presentation, when there was more time to have a closer look at the crayons.

So everything was perfect now? Unfortunately not. I couldn’t believe it but someone else (with not color vision problem like me) did point out to me, that I colored two modules in blue…

How could I just mix up violet and blue? I used the wrong color again. Unbelievable but I just can’t distinguish six colors.

And what do I learn for the next time: Ask somebody else to do it for you.