Monthly Archives: August 2009

world’s first coloured bubbles

An inventor – Tim Kehoe – spent 15 years and £2,000,000 developing the world’s first non-staining bubbles – he calls them zubbles!! See


The bubbles contain a special dye that fades within 15 minutes of the bubble bursting. This is a clever use of a property of dyes – fading – that is usually thought of as a bad property and which scientists strive hard to eliminate. The special dyes developed for this product fade when exposed to air, light or pressure.

This reminds me somewhat of the breakfast cereal – cocopops – where the brown colorant in the cereal leaks out into the milk turning it a muddy brown colour. Not a nice thing – you might think. However, Kelloggs turned this into a marketing success with the phrase – “So chocolately it even turns the milk brown”. I’ve always thought this was very very clever. Very clever.


What colour were the dinosaurs?

Have you ever wondered what colour the dinosaurs were? Probably not, but when you think about it – how could we know. Fossils are …. well, … fossil coloured. The movies portray most of the dinosaurs as greyish, probably because the biggest land mammal we know – the elephant – is grey. Dinosaurs are also sometimes portrayed to be similar in colour to many lizzards and reptiles that are alive today – and I suppose that makes some sense. But is there any way we can work out what colour the dinosaurs really were? Probably not ….


Until Jakob Vinther’s work that is. Jakob is currently working towards a PhD in paleontology at Yale University –

Part of Jakob’s interest is the preservation of malanin in fossils. He has discovered that melanin granules survive in their original shapes and patterns, which can be compared with existing feathers to determine their original color. One possible application of this work is that we may be able to make a very good guess at what colour many dinosaurs really were based on an analysis of their fossil remains.

What a great job!

Color Designer
Nike, Inc.

Beaverton, Oregon

As a Color Designer in Nike Sportwear, you’ll work under the direction of the Design and Color Leaders to lead a category to create innovative color design solutions for a line of footwear. You’ll collaborate with category cross-functional teams to create a merchandisable line from concept to retail presentation; build innovative, retail viable color solutions for category or gender-specific lines; create seasonal direction of color; and lead color merchandising strategies and stories seasonally. You’ll also research and deliver color, design, market and lifestyle trends that influence and impact the product category process from product briefing to product concept to salesman samples. You’ll plan and execute color designs; collaborate with Design, Product Marketing, Development and Material Designers to focus color solutions for market success; finalize product details; and proactively follow through on the execution of color on each product.


colour picker pen design


The idea is that you can use this pen to point at any object in the world, the pen then ‘extracts’ the colour, and then is able to write in that colour using a mixture of RGB inks that it contains.

Unfortunately, it’s just a concept, designed by Jinsu Park.


As far as I know there are no practical implementations of this interesting idea. One could make a strong argument that the pen should use CMY (or even red, yellow and blue) primaries since RGB primaries would result in a tiny colour gamut and wouldn’t allow the pen to reproduce any real colours at all. See

automatic extraction of colour palette from image

I just came across another interesting colour site –

This site provides a free service – you can upload an image and the site will extact a colour palette from the image (you can specify how many colours you wish to extract). Palettes are notated in hex codes and RGB values.

I just tried with with one of my images and chose to extact three colours; the result is shown below:



If you want to use a photograph as an inspiration for interior design, for example, you can write down the RGB values and then go to – this site allows you to convert RGB values into commercial paint codes.

software aids colour design for colour blindness

In a previous post I talked about colour blindness and the possibility of using coloured lenses to improve colour discrimination for suffers of colour blindness –

The task of designing images or copy that are legible to colour-blind users is a major concern in design. In the past I have used websites that allow you to submit an image or even a whole website and a simulation of how it might apear to a colour-blind viewer would be produced. Today I came across a really great tool called Color Oracle – see This tool is free to download and runs on Windows or Mac systems. Once installed it runs in your system tray and allows you to simulate various colour-blindnessc conditions. The software is free to download and claims to use the latest algorithms for simulating colour-vision impairments.  Below is one of my images and a simulation of how it would appear to someone with tritanopia.


new white roof coating

A new white coating that reflects 85% of the heat that hits it is being trialled in Los Angeles. The new coating, developed by former military scientists Ronald Savin, reduces the surface temperature of the roof by as much as 50 C and thus reduces the amount of energy required to cool the interior of the building. Suffice to say, as I write this in rainy Cornwall, there is no requirement as yet for this coating in the UK!

white roof

For full story see