Category Archives: fun

colour and personality

Can you deduce personality based on colour choice?

A new quiz on playbuzz suggests so. You are asked to rate each of 10 colour palettes with either yes, no or not sure as to whether you like them or not. The test is created by Christina Yang.

I guess it’s just a bit of fun. It reminds me somewhat of the Luscher test, a colour-personality test invented by Max Lüscher. This test does have some credibility and is used by some psychiatrists. However, a number of papers recently published have caste doubt on its effectiveness. My feeling is that personality is probably too complex and multi-varied to be easily assessed by a few colour selections. Much the same could be said about horoscopes.

what colour is your passport?

passport colours

Whenever I am travelling to a conference and standing in a line at an airport it seems to me that everyone has either a burgundy passport like me or a red one if the are from USA. It turns out that most passports really are the same colour as this great infographic shows. Well, one of only about four colours so it seems. It’s interesting the way they are grouped; I wonder why Africa tends to use green or black. For the full story see. here.

Do women use more colour names than men?

I just came across this funny cartoon about the difference between men and women in terms of colour names.

doghouse_color_wheel_altered

But on the same page I found the results from an actual colour survey where over five million colours were named across 222,500 user sessions. One aspect of the results is shown below:

doghouse_analysis

It does seem that there is some evidence that women use more colour names than men – though generally there was agreement between how the names were used. For further details see the original article.

#TheDress

I was asked to comment on the radio today about a dress which is topping the trends of social media in the USA in particular today.

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The dress has sparked controversy because different people say that it is different colours. There is a group who say it is blue and black and another group who say that it is white and gold. What do you think?

I will give my explanation but it is not simple so …

Now, about 1 in 12 of all men in the world are colour blind. But if we consider the rest of the population you may be surprised to know that there is variability in our colour vision. This is mainly due to the colour receptors in our eyes. Put simply, some people have more red receptors and some people have more green receptors, for example. So we know that we don’t all see colour in the same way.

There is a second complexity and that is just because we use different names for a colour doesn’t mean we see it differently. This most often happens with brownish colours where some people will refer to it as more of a green and others will be adamant that it is definitely a brown. So words – colour names in particular – are not always very precise. We can see at least 3 million colours in the world and how many names do we have? A few hundred at least.

There is a third complexity which is that people think the camera never lies – that is, that they take an image of something using their phone and put it on the internet and everyone is seeing a faithful reproduction of the thing they took a picture of. Sadly, the camera does lie. Variability in the light that is used to capture the image, the settings on your display (whether you have a warm white or a cool white, for example) and how bright the light is in the room when you look at your screen – these can all dramatically affect the colour. Take a look at the picture below:

dress_original

This is the manufacturer’s photo of the dress. Taken professionally, I think most people would see it as blue and black. But the image that is on the internet is very different. I suspect it was taken in a very bright light and the colours are consequently a bit washed out.

So, in summary, the camera does lie. I think the lighting conditions under which the photo was taken were far from ideal and have changed the colours from how they would have appeared if you had been there. However, that is only half the story. Since people looking at the same image on the same screen are disagreeing with the colours. To fully explain what is going on you need to invoke the knowledge that we can sometimes see colours differently (because of variability from one person to the next) and even if we see the colour the same we might give it a different name (because colour names are crude ways to communicate colour).

Of course, fundamental to this is the idea that things are not coloured at all but your brain constructs a colour from the signals it receives in the eye. This allows us, for example, to discount changes in colour that may occur when the light source changes (this is known as colour constancy). We have evolved to discount the effect of light being bluer or yellower, for example, so that we normally see the colours that the object would have in neutral daylight. In the case of the dress image it may be that people are using different processing strategies and discounting the effect of the light source in different ways.

Which all goes to show that colour is complex. But if you have been reading my blog you already know that, don’t you?

guess what – red is sexy

red is sexy
Guess what? Another article that concludes that women wearing red are more likely to attract a mate. Scientist claims women are reflecting their sexual intentions ‘from the beginning’ by wearing bright red clothing. It’s a shocker!!! Who would have thought it!

It must be true because I read it in the Daily Mail.

Colour and Manchester United

van gaal

It’s not often I get to write about two of my favourite things at the same time. So I couldn’t resist remarking on a story today in the Daily Mirror about a colour code that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal uses to describe different players in his squad. Apparently:

Blue:
“A blue player is intellectual and is always looking for structure and security in his job on the pitch.”

Red:
“A red player is creative, full of power, will want to work and is always focusing on the future.”

Green:
“A green player is very emotional, sensitive for different emotions or a different atmosphere in the squad.”

See the original article for the colours that the newspaper thinks that different players should be be allocated.

new designs for UK flag colour

I blog about anything related to colour and I am interested in all sorts of aspects of colour whether they be based in arts and design, cultural studies, evolution, chemistry, physics, biology or technology. But a couple of themes keep cropping up and I end up posting about them at regular intervals. So, in 2012 I posted about the historical development of the UK flag – the union jack. And then earlier this year I posted about an article on the BBC about the possible redesign on the union jack is Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom in the forthcoming referendum there. Some of the designs that were being put forward were really horrible. Perhaps I am too attached to the union jack. A few days ago I came across another BBC story which included 25 readers’ designs for the union jack should Scotland leave. . I must say I much prefer the readers’ designs rather than those previously proposed by experts – the BBC reliably informs me that such experts are known as vexillologists. I like this flag (by David and Gwyneth Parker) – where the blue of Scotland has simply been swapped for the green of Wales, thus preserving the traditional look. (If you wonder why the green of Wales is not in the current flag see my earlier post.)

flag1

And I also like the following design (by Matthew Welch), where England and Wales are represented in the top left and bottom right corners respectively and the diagonal stripe represents Northern Ireland of course.

flag2

You probably have to be from the UK to understand this humorous design (by Al Main).

flag3

You can see all 25 readers’ designs at the BBC here.

If you are interested in vexillology (is that a word?) you may like to read another BBC story about a potential new flag for Norther Ireland. And finally, I was interested that the CIA apparently has a flag database that it makes available to the public.

School of Design hosts Leeds Sustainability Jam 2013

IMG STAFF WEBSITE

The weekend of the 22nd November saw the school of Design host the Leeds Sustainability Jam 2013, part of the Global Sustainability Jam taking place simultaneously across the world. A “Design Jam” is similar in concept to a Jam session in music: people come together, bringing their instruments, skills, and open-mindedness. Someone sets up a theme, and everyone starts to Jam around it and together you build something which none of you could have built alone.

The Leeds Sustainability Jam involved a gathering of students and non-students from different areas of study, research, cultures and experiences. The design-based approach to creativity enabled everyone to participate in the discussion of sustainability and consider the environmental, social and economic aspects. Throughout the weekend the emphasis was on “not just talking but actually doing”. By the end of Sunday the teams had turned their ideas into concrete designs or plans of action which could be shared with the global design network and then realistically put into action the next day.

The resulting projects from the Leeds teams included “Be a good Bean”; a network of sustainably sourced local suppliers all connected by a cup, “The Food Experience”; a system of events making lunchtime an experience to enjoy, reconnecting people with the idea of food as being an experience in itself, and “Walk-in Wardrobe”; a university clothes sharing scheme, initially starting with jumpers, where people get to rethink their perception of fashion, consumerism and ownership.

It is now up to the teams to implement these projects across the University campus and local community!

For more information on the projects and the list of Sponsors follow the links:

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