Random Color Scheme Syndrome

Did you ever hear of the random color scheme syndrome? Saucygrrl tries to explain what this is all about at Stop the madness.

She says, it’s something like color blindness, only that you are not colorblind but have a real bad taste when it comes to color matching. Free under the motto, everything fits well.

I would says, I definitely suffer under the random color scheme syndrome—at least when other people look at my color matching experiments.

But aren’t all you colorblind fellows suffering from it, are you?

Sunsets, Rainbows, Stop Signs for Colorblind Guys

John Trask is 76 years old and is Dealing with color-blindness is whole life. He says,

“I’ve never seen a sunset or a rainbow.”

Is it really possible that somebody can’t see a sunset or a rainbow because of his color blindness? – I can’t believe it.

SunsetWith not seeing a sunset he can only mean not to see the beautiful colorized sky and sun during a sunset. Seeing the sun going down behind the horizon can’t be a problem even for a colorblind person. And to my eyes also some beautiful colors can be perceived.

I’m red-blind, or at least strongly red-weak. And a sunset can be something really beautiful even to me. Of course, it will never be as colorful as for a person with normal color vision. But isn’t everything just less colorful for us colorblind guys?

RainbowAnd it’s the same for a rainbow. I can definitely see a rainbow—just less colorful.

A rainbow consists of the whole color spectrum and this with a blue sky or gray/white clouds in the background. So if you can’t see a rainbow, you must not be able to distinguish all colors either against blue or gray. And this could only be the case, if you suffer from a complete color blindness.

I don’t believe, that somebody with red-green color blindness can’t see a sunset or a rainbow. You can see them, but just less colorful as everything else on the world.

Stop SignBut what I agree on is another of John’s statements.

“Stop signs disappear,” Trask said. “The white lettering I can pick out, but [the rest of the sign] just fades into whatever is in the background.”

What are your experiences with sunsets, rainbows and stop signs?

Pictures by vtveen, Mundoo and overundulate.

Interview with Chris Rogers from COLOURlovers

Chris Rogers—also known as the lover named ruecian—is the man behind the site blog of COLOURlovers. I already reported about them, when they covered the topic of red-blindness just a bit more than one month ago.

Out of this first contact evolved the idea of an interview-exchange between the color blindness lovers from Colblindor and COLOURlovers.

As Chris is an expert on the topic of colors, in exchange he asked me some more details about color blindness, including positive and negative aspects of it. I hope you enjoy the following answers from Chris and make sure that you also visit the counterpart of this interview-exchange.

Colblindor: What is your favorite color and why?

Chris: I surround myself with blue because it’s such a daydreaming, imaginative nature. As someone who experiences synaesthesia, a sort of crossing of senses, blue is also the colour that has the best texture to me. With colours, I experience textures along with the visual aspect, and with music, I experience colours and textures. I like a lot of yellow, brown, and blue songs, so, I’ll say that those are my favourite colours.

Colblindor: COLOURlovers is a big resource concerning different aspects of colors. What are the main purposes of your website?

Chris: What I’ve come to find about COLOURlovers is that it’s sort of a playground for creativity, as the site has attracted colour-passionate and colour-oriented professions from fields of design and art. We also have people whom have said they would have never dreamed of playing with colour before stumbling about COLOURlovers, and have since become ‘colour addicts.’ I’d say we’re here to give an open, supportive space to the minds that want to come out and play, and I try to do that with my blog posts by posting something of interest, whether it be science or something inspirational.

Colblindor: Do you think color blindness might be some sort of handicap to join your community of lovers?

Chris: Oh, I don’t think so. Some of the palettes that users (colour-deficient or not) create might look a bit off, and the palettes that are based off of emotions might not convey the same message, but it all ends up meaning something to someone, as I feel colour and colour symbolism is loosely based in interpretation. Just as everyone feels differently about Picasso, everyone can find their own enjoyment in seeing a red palette, even if they don’t know it’s red.

Colblindor: You’re writing all about colors. When did it first come to your mind, that there is also a community of colorblind people and do you offer also some information, help or support for them?

Chris: I made a colour maybe what I guess to be about a year ago called ‘of Colourblindness,’ which was grey. And I remember having a note passed to me asking about colourblindness, and it was really my first venture in trying to explain it to someone. I had always understood the concept, but never had to put it into words. The idea had been in my mind since about that time, and surfaced soon after the blog began as the article that you found, which I wrote on Protanopia.

Colblindor: Do your users ever bring up the topic of color vision deficiency or is it almost not existing among lovers?

Chris: It has been asked before. There was a post on the forum about it, someone mentioned that they suffered from colour-deficiency, and needed some help pulling colours accurately from a painting. I do know that there are at least a few colour-deficient users on the site. It’s not a typical topic, though. I think hearing ‘COLOURlovers’ can be a subject of much fear for someone who can’t see colours like others can, but it’s really not about who does colour better, it’s about a love of colour, and I don’t think colour-deficient or colour-blind people are exempt from that.

Colblindor: Can you tell us something about the ‘headline’ of COLOURlovers “Fight for love in the colour revolution”?

Chris: As far as fighting for love, there is a rating system in place that ranks colours and palettes by how many votes they received and how many users have added them to their favourites lists. I think it’s also about how many comments are left, but I’m not sure about that one. I believe that COLOURlovers is changing minds about colour by bringing it to a field where anyone with hand-eye coordination can play, rather than having it restricted to artists with paint, or tailors with cloth. When I first stumbled upon the site in 2005, I was really cautious about my colour choices, and I created a lot of colours that were already in my life. The community is so very supportive. I’ve yet to see something negative said about something. In fact, I’ve even seen, “I love how ugly this is,” and it gets voted high. In getting used to COLOURlovers, I’ve essentially discovered a whole new world and my thought process as a synaesthete has been allowed externalisation. That’s what I think is meant by the ‘colour revolution.’

COLOURloversIf you enjoyed Chris answers, be sure to also check out his questions, published at the site blog of COLOURlovers. And if you enjoyed my questions, you might like to subscribe to the RSS feed of Colblindor, which ensures that you get frequently the latest updates and insights on color blindness.

How to Color Charts Respecting Color Blindness

If you are suffering some type of color vision deficiency you definitely know those situations: You try to read a beautifully colored chart, whereas the biggest challenge turns out to be matching the legend to the appropriate part inside the chart itself.

All the different type of charts usually have one thing in common, they have a color coded legend. This looks very nice and helps to differentiate between the labels and the information you want to highlight. But this doesn’t take into account, that colorblind people might have great difficulties to match the correct labels to their counterparts or even tell the different segments apart from each other.

Blue Yellow Graph
Blue Yellow Graph

Just recently the guys from evolgen asked A Question for the Colorblind, where they try to find good colors for some informative charts. The solutions vary between using only shades of gray and random color suggestions from non-colorblind people. I don’t think this is the right answer to the question on how to color a chart taking into account also colorblind readers.

Scott from Standardzilla tries to go a more elaborate way. He is looking for good color combinations and analyzes the color contrast as well as the simulations of different color vision deficiencies. Introducing his thoughs with Color Blindness and Graphs and analyzing it at Colour Contrast Chart for Colour Blindness.

I propose we even have to go one step further. Here is my recipe on how to color charts respecting color blindness in three steps:

  1. Start with the theory of color blindness. The confusion lines are a great resource to discover colors that are and aren’t distinguishable by all three types of color vision deficiency.
  2. After you have chosen some colors which are not on the confusion lines of neither protan nor deutan nor tritan defects, enhance the color contrast as much as possible, while adjusting the brightness of each color.
  3. Check the adjusted color combination with one of the many available color blindness simulation tools. If the simulated colors look to close to each other, start all over again.

This three simple steps are not as easy to follow as it sounds. I suppose it will consume quite some time to really find the best colors for your colored chart while having in mind, that also colorblind readers should be able to catch your information easily without spending to much time on color legend deciphering.

There are also some quicker ways to improve the readability of your charts:

  • Patterns: Not only use colors but also patterns to mark your charts.
  • Label Inside: If possible, label the charts inside themselves or…
  • Label Outside: …attach each label to its segment (e.g. around a pie chart).
  • 1 Color and Brightness: Use only one color and alter only its brightness.
  • Grayscale: And of course, you can use just different shades of gray.

If you either try to find some good colors for your chart which suite everybody—even the colorblind people among us—or if you take a quick-win doesn’t really matter. Just bear in mind, if you offer a chart with a bad color choice, one out of ten males might have problems with its readability, which doesn’t really help to get your point across.

Carnival of Colors IV – Strolling

This is already the fourth issue of Carnival of Colors. Please welcome the contributors and dive into the beautiful world of colors.

For the Carnival of Colors IV we have again some great submission which I would like to share with you. And be prepared for the next time, because for the first time Carnival of Colors will be hosted not by Colblindor but by the famous birdwatcher Mike Bergin from 10,000 Birds.


« While Irina was at a cafeteria she found this little nice garden. Strolling through it she took some really colorful pictures and realized, that she’s Surrounded by Beauty. This doesn’t really look like living dangerously to me does it? »

« You can see some more beautiful colors at Spring Days on the Riverbank. Riversider, the author of the Ribble Cycle Diaries, says “The predominant colour here is green”. It definitely is, but I can spot many more nice colors there. »

« To take some beautiful and colorful pictures you don’t have to go far. Christopher from Photographer’s Journey found the Colors of the Rainbow just around the corner. »

« Going round the corner and strolling pass a florist, don’t pick the red flowers for your beloved, because this are just Guy Colors. Doug knows more about it at Doug Green’s Garden, saying, “A politically incorrect but true story about garden flower colors.” »

« So you shouldn’t pick the red flowers but what about seeing red while you are collecting tokens. Alejna knows more about all the red folks out there. »

« I suppose Mike was strolling around almost a bit too long tonight. Watching maybe some late-night birds out of his 10,000 Birds. But anyway, it’s never to late to jump on the boat. And the birds which ‘Color me Rosy‘ just fit in nicely into this series. »

« Special entry by Suzan: Just read her story about the Blue Scratch and learn more about it, her and her blogstory at Behind the Politeness of It All. »

A great thanks to all the contributors. Stay tuned for the next release and join in whenever you have something to say about colors. You can find everything you have to know about the carnival at Carnival of Colors or just send me a note including the link to your article to be included in the next upcoming issue.

Blogtipping the Blogosphere

I was getting blogtipped last month by Scott from Standardzilla which was really a surprise—even if he still owes me a real tip. This first of the month I would like to keep the ball rolling.

Blogtipping was brought into being by Easton from Business Blogwire. It’s more than a year old and his doing it every first day of the month. So what is blogtipping?

  • surprise a fellow blogger
  • point out three great things you enjoy
  • share a tip

As I said, I would like to pick it up and do my first blogtipping today on June 1st. I have the following blogs ready for you and hopefully as a surprise for them:

Number one: Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

  • Really great tips on how to become a good presenter and improve your presentation skills.
  • Garr has always some great examples ready to emphasize his statements. He also is linking up to every other bits of information.
  • Insights into to Japanese culture and work life.
  • Tip: The articles are for my feeling often to long. I very much like reading them and learn new stuff through them, but often struggle to read through the whole posts. I personally would prefer some shorter articles.

Number two: Eye on DNA — How’s it going to change your life? by Lei Hsien-Hsien

  • This is definitely the place to learn the latest about DNA, genes, the genome and more.
  • Covers everything on the news and doesn’t forget any interesting links.
  • She is really a great back-linker and shares links to everybody who linked to her—and a lot more.
  • Tip: On certain days it’s just to much information coming in through Eye on DNA. I would prefer some less posting; but what could be dropped?

The last one is a blog written in German and therefore I’m writing the next few lines also in German.

Nummer drei: pixelgraphix von Manuela Hoffmann

  • Interessante Tipps und Tricks aus der Online- und Webdesignerwelt.
  • Sehr gute Verlinkung auf weiterführende Informationen, Websites, Downloads und Originalartikel.
  • Kurze und prägnante Artikel wie zum Beispiel Farbfehlsichtigkeit mit Color Oracle simulieren.
  • Tip: Ich wünsche mir manchmal etwas mehr ‘persönliche Meinung’ und weniger ‘Zusammenfassung’ in den Artikeln, denn ich verlasse mich gerne auf den Rat der Expertin.

That was it for this time. Maybe I’ll pick it up again in the future to have a nice little gift for some fellow bloggers.