Arlene Evans Books About Color Blindness

There are not many books who try to explain the phenomenon of color vision deficiency. Arlene Evans wrote two of them to support the understanding and get a better grip on this topic.

Seeing Color: It’s My Rainbow, Too is trying to explain color blindness to kids and is therefore definitely the one and only book in this area. There are as many kids colorblind as adults and this is often not recognized until school time. Kids can read this book to find out what is different in their vision compared to others. It is also a good resource for school teachers and shows which pitfalls have to be avoided.

The other book is called Color is in the Eye of the Beholder and written for teens and adults. This one goes into further details about color blindness and even complete color blindness as known as Achromatopsia.

If you want to learn more about the books of Arlene Evans and what she is up to go and visit her homepage about Color Vision Deficiency (CVD). She even wrote some very interesting introductional articles about color blindness including “real life stories” of some colorblind guys.

Bread Wrapped Up In Colors

I am a bread-lover. Yes I do really love to eat bread, can’t get enough of it, every day. But you have to know here in Switzerland there are many bread-lovers because it is just so good. If you ask somebody coming home from a long vacation or being abroad what they missed the most, you usually get the answer: bread. So one could call us a nation of bread-lovers.

Now, if you don’t bake your bread at home (what I do quite often) you go to a grocery and buy some as you do it all around the world. We have some very well groceries which you can find all around the country. And one of them had a great idea a few years ago.

Bread is usually sold in open paper bags to keep it fresh and crusty (yes, our bread is crusty and we love it). The question is now: how do you find the bread you like in the rack? There are white, dark, half-white, half-dark, wholemeal, corn, spelt and different grains bread – just to start with. All wrapped up in open paper bags, stuffed into a wooden reck.

Colors; the answer is colors. They started to use three different colored bags: yellow for whitish breads, green for wholemeal breads and red for darkish breads. Of course they didn’t choose Ferrari-red nor sunflower-yellow nor grass-green. The colors aren’t shiny at all and this is the root of all evil.

I mean you can’t ask the employees, it would look strange because, you know it, the breads are packed into colored paper bags now. And you don’t want to walk around with a sign “I am colorblind, please help me choosing my bread.”

The problem is that now the different breads are not as well sorted anymore as they were before. Why should they be there is no reason anymore. And therefore everybody suffering from color blindness, and there are many, has to watch closely, hold the bread, turn them around, read the ingredients just to find out it is the wrong sort of bread.

For me this is very funny. This nice colored paper bags brought more a burden than a relief to my shopping experience. And why is it funny? Because I hold a bread in my hands, try to figure out if it is the right one just to hear my wife’s voice ten meters away: “Didn’t you want to buy this and this bread? You hold on to the wrong one.”

Tetrachromats: A Life More Colorful

I call this Damn Interesting.

Damn Interesting is a very nice blog about damn interesting stuff. They post every day a new story about stuff everybody is eager to know. I found this site just a few days ago and subscribed to it immediately. And what happened some hours ago?

Cynthia Wood writes a post about A Life More Colorful which guides as behind the curtain of color blindness and tetrachromacy. Simply put colorblind people are dichromats (having two different color receptors), people with normal vision are trichromats (three different receptors) and well tetrachromats have four different receptors. Hard to imagine but they can tell apart even more colors. I as a red-green colorblind guy would say – very very hard to imagine.

I would say the people behind Damn Interesting really care about their readers. But go on and learn more about tetrachromats at A Life More Colorful.

Color Blindness at the Blogoshpere

At Cynical Chatter From The Underworld the Morningstart talks in a recent post about his living with color blindness and its implications. Suffering from color blindness not only follows him in his daily living, most notably during the childhood, but also restricted his choose of profession. He ends with a very nice quote whereas I take the liberty to reproduce it at this place.

The question is not just how to make the blind see, but how the blind can explain so that the sighted can see as well.

Aaron talked at his blog In Leftfield about being colorblind and how your children can easily outpace you. He also mentions his purple tennis shoes which I think is a very nice committment to color blindness :-) And as his last point he quotes how each wife can support her colorblind husband.

Mike works up just yesterday his color blindness in his journal I’m Going Sane in a Crazy World. He posted three posts in a row about it: Color Blind, Color Blind 2 and Color Blind 3. I like the Ishihara picture in the last post because I also can’t see a sh**. But he talks about fruits which are synonyms for colors and children who try to teach you the colors. Of course – I mean if you can’t them by now you have to learn them finally – it is as simple as this.

And also Steve Pallina writes about his color blindness in a not so recent post from last may. It was followed by some very interesting posts about being colorblind, computer colors and tetrachromats.

I suppose there are many many more colorblind people in the blogosphere and writing about it. I’ll definitely do a follow up on this.

Color Quiz

Being colorblind and testing your personality through a ColorQuiz, I thought this could maybe give me some special insights into my soul.

Taking the test is as easy as winking: They show you eight squares in eight different colors, where I have to say for my eyes the colors were not at all colors I associate with my psyche. But anyway, you have to choose the order of the colors, starting with the one you like most and click them away one after the other. If you are done you have to do the same again with the same colors. They are only shown in a slightly different order. The big clue is: You have to wait for three minutes before you accomplish the second round of color clicking. I nominate those three minutes to todays most boring minutes.

When you are done they show you a very detailed view of your personality. My one looked like the following:

  • Your Existing Situation
    Sensitive and understanding but under some strain; needs to unwind in the company of someone close to him.
  • Your Stress Sources
    Wishes to be independent, unhampered, and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which he imposes of himself or by his own choice and decision.
  • Your Restrained Characteristics
    Unhappy at the resistance he feels whenever he tries to assert himself. Indignant and resentful because of these setbacks, but gives way apathetically and makes whatever adjustments are necessary so that he can have peace and quiet. Egocentric and therefore quick to take offense. Sensitive and sentimental, but conceals this from all except those very close to him.
  • Your Desired Objective
    Feels that there is little prospect of achieving his hopes and therefore surrenders himself to a life of sensuous ease, free from any problems.
  • Your Actual Problem
    Seeks security and a position in which he will no longer be troubled by demands being made on him.

This raises the question: Is it allowed to take this test even if you are suffering form color blindness? Or does this tamper the result? If I look at the results I think they don’t fit at all. So the big question is: Can this be tracked back to my color blindness or is this test just to simple and superficial?

Personally I think the test is based on an oversimplifed pattern. Different colors affectations don’t deduce different types of personality. I think every person grows up in a environment stamped by colors and this pertinents the liking and therefore the order of colors you choose in the ColorQuiz test. Color blindness pushes this problem even further because the colors appear to a colorblind person differently than to a person with no color vision deficiency. Some colors may be almost glowing for your eye but look completely pale to my ones. My conclusion is: It was fun to try it but the outcome is worth nothing.

Maybe you colorblind and not so colorblind fellows out there could help me out. It takes only a few minutes to make up your mind. But take caution, the chosen colors are truly awful.

Green versus Orange

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. And as I learned from the blog community people are ‘obligated’ to wear something green, otherwise they get kicked in the ass. From Jeff we can learn some more about being colorblind and St. Patrick’s Day.

I am glad we don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Switzerland. Otherwise I definitely would have the same problems. Maybe I would once go and shop a green shirt and mark it all over with: This is green; wear me for St. Patrick’s Day; open your eyes stupid, I am GREEN. Maybe this could help. – Oh man, I need a green beer now.

BP advertises with Ishihara Pictures

BP Advertisement SOLAR

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.

BP Advertisement BIO-FUELS

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.

BP Advertisement WIND

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, 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.

Kind regards,

Dear people from BP, I accept your apologies and thank you for your fast response time.

Pictures taken by Thomas Loudon. Comments are welcome.

How the World is seen trough Colorblind Eyes

Earth Map With Color Deficient Vision
Top: Normal View – Second:
Protanope – Third: Deuteranope
– Last: Tritanope

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.

Color Blindness Test by Dr Shinobu Ishihara

Unfortunately the Ishihara plates are not available at this adress anymore. But I posted them in a new article on Colblindor and you can find them all at: Ishihara’s Test for Colour Deficiency: 38 Plates Edition. Make sure to also visit my Online Color Blindness Tests, to check your color vision abilities.

The Ishihara Color Blindness test – named after a Japanese Professor at the University of Tokyo – is the most well known tool to test for red-green color blindness. Mr Ishihara developed this test almost 100 years ago. It was first published in 1917 and is used since then to check if someone is suffering from protanopia or deuteranopia, the two different kinds of red-green color vision deficiencies.

A collection of 38 plates filled with colored dots build the base of this test. The dots are colored in different shades of a color and a number or a line is hidden inside with different shades of an other color. But enough theory, take the color blindness test by Mr Ishihara yourself and be surprised (or not) of the result.

The above link showes the so called small test. The small test consists of 24 different plates (or cards) and the large test of 38. The plates follow a setup of four different test designs:

  1. Transformation plates – anomalous colour observers give different responses to colour normal observers. [Plates 2-7]
  2. Disappearing digit (Vanishing) plates – only the normal observer is meant to recognize the coloured pattern. [Plates 9-13]
  3. Hidden digit plates – only the anomalous observer should see the pattern. [Plates 14-15]
  4. Qualitative plates – intended to classify protan from deutan and mild from severe anomalous colour perception. [Plates 16-23]
Ishihara Color Blindness Test Plate
Ishihara Plate

It has to be mentioned, that tests like this one are never 100% accuarte. This is due to the two following facts: First of all, every computer monitor has its own color correction. So it never can be guaranteed that the seen colors are really the colors which should be seen. This can falsify the results. And second, easily put there can always be some false positives. This test can therefore not be considered as a medical test for color blindness.

Now let’s have a look at the outcomes. I will show you my results and you can, if you like, compare them with your own ones:

  • CARD 1: 12. Of course, everybody should see that.
  • CARD 2: 3 with a slight shade of an 8.
  • CARD 3: A very confuse 29.
  • CARD 4: Some dot clusters, that’s all.
  • CARD 5: A slight circle at the top.
  • CARD 6: Some dots here, some there.
  • CARD 7: Dots everywhere.
  • CARD 8: Nothing. I mean, I can see the big circle full of little colored circles, but that’s all.
  • CARD 9: Nothing.
  • CARD 10: Nothing.
  • CARD 11: Nothing.
  • CARD 12: Nothing.
  • CARD 13: Nothing.
  • CARD 14: Some lines and clusters but no number.
  • CARD 15: More lines and dot clusters.
  • CARD 16: I would say a 6 on the righthand side.
  • CARD 17: 2, righthand side.
  • CARD 18: A blue (?) line more at the bottom of the circle.
  • CARD 19: Two crosses. One on the left and the other on the right side of the circle.
  • CARD 20: Many colorful dots.
  • CARD 21: More colors and more dots.
  • CARD 22: Some kind of inner circle with three gaps.
  • CARD 23: There is a line, but it has huge gaps in between.
  • CARD 24: I can see that one…

If I try to make a conclusion out of my views I would say I am suffering something between strong protanomalia, protanopia and complete color blindness. Yes, I knew it before and I know it even better now: I am colorblind. But at least I could spot the first and the last plate easily.

Further readings:
Ishihara Color Blindness Test at Wikipedia
The Ishihara Color Vision Test
Ishihara Test for Color Blindness

Direct link to The Color Blindness Test by Mr Ishihara.