Colour notes: Do we all see the same colours?

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Do we all see the same colours?

colouragainProbably not.  You and I might look at a rose and describe it as ‘red’ but that’s because we’ve been taught that’s the name for that colour. But if we looked through each others eyes we might see completely differently.

Remember, not everyone sees colors the way you do.

In fact, one person is twenty is medically classified as colour-blind. Most of these people are men (heehee). But for every person with a medically recognized colour-deficiency, there are many, many more who have a lower degree of color blindness.

There’s a  popular misconception that people who are ‘colour-blind’ see everything in black and white. This isn’t the case. The most common colour-deficiency is an inability to differentiate well between green and red.

See the image at the very top of the page? If you’re like me you immediately see that there’s a huge pop of colour thanks to the gorgeous red bloom. Anyone with red-green vision problems wouldn’t see such a contrast between the two colours. In fact, some might not even see the difference at all. See a simulation below.


So if you’re in business, it’s important to make sure that the colours used in your project are visible to everyone.

As we’ve said before, designers don’t choose colors because they ‘look pretty’. Of course, designers make color choices partly because of aesthetic reasons but there are several additional reasons such as the color wheel, the meanings of colors, the emotions colors evoke and more.

When clients select colors themselves, if they are not trained and experienced in the theory of color things can go badly wrong.

I’d venture to say that no matter what your product or service actually is, approximately fifty percent of your clients could be men; even if you are selling ladies’ underwear. (In fact, I’ll bet that more than 50% of Victoria’s Secret’s customers are men.) Do they see your logo, website, brochure? Do they see it properly? On your website, is the navigation clear to people with color deficiencies? I’ve seen sites which just can’t be navigated by these people. And what a shame – the BUY NOW or CONTACT US buttons can’t be seen at all.

If you decide to ignore your designer’s advice and choose your own colors, make sure that they are thoroughly tested – or your potential clients may just not see you at all.




Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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