Do You Have to Order Your Markers to Know Their Colors?

How can you remember the color of your markers or crayons if you are colorblind? You can not, if you don’t use any trick which helps you to remember the colors they have.

The following reader question reached me a few days ago and points out this well known problem. Everybody suffering from color blindness will remember the time, when he had to use some kind of a system, when the marker box was to large to tell the different colors apart from each other.

My friend claims he is red-green and blue-yellow colorblind and said that as a kid had to put all of his markers back in the box in order so that he would know which color was which in school. I know the receptors in the eye are red, blue, green, and yellow? So can he see any color at all?

I would like to split this question into three different parts, each one covering a one part of the above statements.

He is red-green and blue-yellow colorblind. To chance to suffer from both types of color blindness at the same time is very very very low. If you really suffer from blue-yellow and red-green color blindness, you will definitely mix up a lot of colors. But on the other side, even if you are red-green colorblind this doesn’t mean you only have problems distinguishing red and green but many different colors like: orange/green, blue-green/gray/purple, red/dark-green/brown, and more.

The receptors in the eye are red, blue, green, and yellow. Well, that’s not quite right. With normal color vision you’ll have three different color receptors which are most sensitive to blue, red, and green respectively. If you are colorblind, at least one type of color receptors is either missing at all (dichromatism) or the peak of sensitivity is displaced (anomalous trichromatism).

So can he see any color at all? Yes, he can see colors and does not only precept shades of gray. There is only one exception to this, when you are suffering from achromatopsia (monochromatism). But as he can use markers he must be able to see some colors. When you are colorblind you still can enjoy a very colorful world, which is just less colorful compared to somebody with normal color vision.

So each one who is colorblind needs a trick to handle the problem of an oversized marker box. I also remember the time at school where I just knew by heart which crayon had which color. When I had to use the box of a friend of mine, I was lost. And unfortunately this doesn’t stop with marker boxes but accompanies you through your whole life.

You have to learn colors and remember them, again and again, and of course you get better when growing older. Don’t you?