Do you remember the early days of color television? Where only a handful of TV channels existed and programs were not running 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Those days were the glory days of test patterns, also known as test cards.
The patterns were originally real cards used to calibrate the cameras. Soon they were replaced by patterns generated by test signal generators which could be used to adjust the equipment for optimal functionality.
Seen through colorblind eyes a modern LCD computer monitor has a many times better color reproduction than any color television. When looking at these pictures this feeling gets supported very much. The colors feel dull and almost interfere with each other. There is not a clear and crisp vision of the colors at all. This observation raises the question to me: Does somebody affected by color blindness have an even worse color impression on a color television compared to normal vision?
I don’t know the answer. Maybe some of you made some similar observations and share this feeling.
But let’s get back to the test patterns. If you look at the colors on the second and third image they are very badly chosen for somebody being red-green colorblind.
I will try to show you what I mean by listing my view of the colors starting at the left hand side:
white or very light gray
orange or light green
light green or orange
pink close to blue
dark blue or purple
The colors of the stripes 2 and 4 and of the stripes 5 and 7 are very close together for my eyes. These are very typical colors to be mixed up by protanope or deuteranope people. What perturbs me a bit is, that stripe number 6 is a clear red to me. No way this could be green even though I am red-green colorblind.
Please all read aloud: Colorblind People are Dumb. Now this is from a man of genius. It is written with green letters on a red background — a nightmare for red-green colorblinds.
But I can read it. (Think). My doctor says I am very much colorblind. And even some color blindness tests show me that I am definitely not only slightly red-green colorblind.
What about you? Anybody here who can’t read it?
A smart guy with a smart idea and a dump realisation. Maybe he should have asked a colorblind friend of him (and he will definitely have one as there are so many affected) before he released the picture at flickr.
…that’s what it says on the shirt you can buy at TShirtHell.com. Do they target at colorblind people or better at not color blind people? Or maybe people knowing somebody who is colorblind? Girls with colorblind boyfriends…
I don’t know and I suppose I never will. The only thing I know is that I will not buy one of those. I’ll wait till the slogan gets a bit more friendly to us colorblinds.
By the way, they use a so called ishihara pictures to hide the message from us trapped by red-green color blindness. To find out what it reads I used two different methods. First the daltonize tool from Vischeck and second eyePilot a tool for colorblind people. Funnily enough both showed me the same result :-)
BP recently had an advertisement campaign going on at Waterloo Station, London. The used some Ishihara pictures to deliver their message.
I found a photograph of one of those ads at Flickr. It was taken by Thomas Loudon and I was really puzzled when I saw it the first time. As I am suffering from red-green color blindness I can’t read a single word on none of them.
Only asking my wife gives me the answers. They read: SOLAR, BIO-FUEL and WIND. But why on earth should BP use those Ishihara pictures for their campaign which definitely can not be read by us colorblind?
A few hours after sending an email to BP I had an answer. As I understand it, this ads belong to a whole storyboard which starts with some black and white ads showing the words for common energy sources: Oil and Natural Gas.
But they push further into new fields of green power like Solar, Bio-Fuel and Wind. And that’s what they show on the ads you can see here. I still don’t completely understand, why they used Ishihara pictures to pass on their message and therefore we colorblind were excluded. Maybe we should investigate, talk with others, think about it? I don’t know. But to get your own picture of this go ahead and read the answer I received from BP:
Dear Mr. Flück,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write to us about the advertisements you saw on the tube.
First of all, we are sorry that you feel excluded from the messaging of our advertising. We do understand how you feel and we would like to assure you that we have taken — and continue to take — the matter seriously, especially in planning a way forward.
We thought it might be useful to give you the background and the thinking behind this particular campaign. Hopefully, this will shed some light on the way we approached the creative process.
The execution uses black and white patterning in the first few panels (Oil and Natural Gas were spelt out of all the countries BP has visited to secure these sources of energy) – to convey the extent of the Group’s reach to ensure energy security. The latter half used the type of colours and style reminiscent of a medical ‘colour blind test’.
We were sensitive to the fact that some colour deficient people would not be able to distinguish the colour panels and so we interviewed 3 colour-blind men to see if they could comprehend the messaging. We modified the creative accordingly and tried again so that the three interviewees were comfortable that they could understand the copy. A summary slide in normal copy was added to the end of the advert to make sure that the work was branded and the message briefly ‘recapped’ e.g.: ‘ We’re looking to a greener future’. In addition, we inserted the web address www.bp.com, so that consumers needing to better understand BP’s approach to finding greener energy sources would have a more extensive source.
Depending on whether the challenge is red-green colour blindness or blue-yellow colour blindness, the ad should be understood after repetitive sightings. Incidentally, research on these particular sites indicated that people using the travelators at these stations, tend to use them regularly as part of their daily commute. Our intent has been to make the message visually intriguing and compelling – not necessarily digested in just one visit.
We appreciate the opportunity to explain the process and the due diligence we went through to create this particular campaign.
Unfortunately we do not have any images of the poster that we can send to you for your blog.
Again, please accept our apologies for making it hard for you to read the words in some of the panels. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information or details.
Dear people from BP, I accept your apologies and thank you for your fast response time.
This pictures try to show how the earth, the world, our globe, our planet or at least a picture or a map of it are seen by people with some kind of color blindness.
Color blindness is spread everywhere. In every hemisphere, in every continent, in every country, in every district, in every town almost in every family you can find somebody with some kind of color vision deficiency.
The eyes are for most of us the main tool to accomplish everyday life. And there are so many under us who don’t have the same view as we. Everybody looks at things different. How can we be sure that we even talk about the same colors when we name them?
But let’s face it, if we wouldn’t have this small differences, handicaps and advantages it would be boring. The world be an indistinguishable mass of the same individuals, how boring.
Nothing to google up – nothing to say. Nothing to talk about at the bar and nothing to laugh about (What? You can’t see that!).
Isn’t it beautiful, our planet? Even without all the colors – it’s just colors.
I found this photograph taken by David Shrigley through a journal entry of hickdesign. Isn’t it great? The question is now: Can I see the sign or not? And as the question already implies, I can see it despite my red-green color deficiency. And why can I see it?
Red-green color blindness doesn’t implicate that these colors can’t be seen at all or are simply grey. They can be seen but intertwine smoothly into each other. A strong green and a strong red can be seen and distinguished very well under certain circumstances:
If each color is not mixed out of different shades.
If there are no big structure changes in the colors.
As an example think of a forest. A forest has many different types of green mixed into each other. On the other hand you have many structures (leafs, blades of grass, differnt plants, …) twined into the whole picture. This makes it very hard or almost impossible to spot say some red blossoms. The colors can’t be told apart from each other and therefore everything melts closer together and makes up a big green shaded picture. The green makes up the main color and a lot of other colors lose in this background noise.
In opposite to this the above photograph has clear structures and strong colors. The reasons to make it readable even to me and a good source for a smile.
This picture was taken about one and a half year ago in Locarno, a village in the italian part of Switzerland. I think those frontages show some very nice colors. But see yourself if you can spot any differences.
No differences or all completely different? To me the original image and the protanope and deuteranope simulations look almost the same. The deuteranope one is maybe a little bit more pale. And the tritanope simulation looks almost like a greyscale picture to me.