How to Battle Color Blindness

First of all, why should I battle color blindness? Usually your genes decide if you are colorblind or not and this you can’t change for your whole life (at least not until today). That’s why you just have to accept it the way it is. But on the other hand, why not try to compete it and try to overcome the handicap.

If you are suffering from any kind of color blindness you know that this handicap follows you through everyday life. In the supermarket when you buy some fruits or vegetables, at the office when you read the newest diagrams of your sales figures and even at home when you try to choose the right tie for the candlelight dinner with your new girlfriend (approximately 8% of men and only 0.5% of women are affected by color blindness, therefore it’s more likely that you are a colorblind man than a woman).

So why not make life easier and try to overcome this burden. You could just try to learn colors by heart. Remember a color and its name every time you see/hear of a new one. This is like learning new words in a foreign language, the first step isn’t that easy to take but after a while it should get easier learning new colors.

Sadly this doesn’t work for me. I can’t learn a color on a shirt and then fit this color next time when I buy a fruit at the local store. Of course when you once know the color of your shirt you, well, know it. But you just can’t transform it to something else. Not even to another shirt at a clothes shop. So this attempt failed.

Let’s make another effort and take pictures. Pictures on a small digital camera. A camera which you can take easily along with you in your trouser pocket. This gives you the ability to compare the picture gallery with a thing you don’t know the color yet. Just find the best fit and you know it. This way you even get a growing archive of colors to fit and are therefore less helpless when you should buy knew trousers and don’t want to ask the young beautiful shop assistant who is approximately twenty years younger than you.

I know, this is also not a breathtaking idea. Let’s go one step further. Look around for a not colorblind girlfriend. A small lightweight which you even could carry in your bag. This way you have your color matching voice always along with you. You will never bite in a green banana again…

The conclusion out of this is that not the colorblind persons have to battle color blindness but the color viewing persons. They should think more actively about it when drawing a diagram, preparing a presentation, designing some new color codes or developing a new product. And this also means to me that the industry has to take into account that almost every tenth person has some kind of color vision confusion.

Think about it.

Color Luminator

I just recently wrote about the ColorLuminator and how this tool could help get Color Vision for Colorblinds. Two students developed a tool at school and are on the way to win a big check to push the ColorLuminator further into production. Their science teacher Stuart Garth contacted me by email because the internet voting on the Nescafé Big Break competition starts soon. Please read what he says:

Dear Daniel
My name is Stuart Garth and I am the science teacher of Ian Cannon and Rickystan Savaiko, the students who have designed and constructed the ColorLuminator. Firstly, I would like to thank you for your promotion of the boy’s product. Internet voting starts on September 19th and goes to October 31st. The most votes we get, the greater the chance of winning the $100 000. […]

Dear colorblind friends and friends of the colorblind: Visit the competition homepage and leave your vote for the fabulous ColorLuminator!

His note continued and showed, that the device has already quite a success story and how it made its way around the globe:

[…] We have already had interest from Austria, Holland, Italy, Canada, Japan and USA. The International Standards Organisation is also interested in the device and they will be reviewing the ColorLuminator in Lyon, France, October 2006.

Stuart Garth
Science Teacher
Redeemer Baptist School
2 Masons Drive
North Parramatta
NSW Australia
ph +61 2 9630 6311

I also included his address. Please don’t hesitate to contact him. He is happy to help anybody who is interested in the ColorLuminator.

Further readings:
Nescafé Big Break: Finalists 2006
Hot recipes for niche success

Related article:
Color Vision for Colorblinds