Painted wall

Over many years I’ve wondered about colour, and my perception of it. Does what I see as a particular colour match what someone else sees? Does what I visualise when someone says “She was wearing a bright red dress” match the colour or shade that was being described? Since starting working with yarns and threads I’ve started to be even more curious about colour vocabulary and descriptions of colour displayed on websites selling yarn. Even when an online shop has photographs and descriptions of it’s yarn colours, I can pretty much guarantee that what turns up isn’t exactly what I imagined I was buying.

Within the past month, I’ve stumbled across a few different discussions on colour which have made me ponder this all the more.

First, I heard about the BBC Radio 4 programme Technicolour via someone on twitter. This is an excellent journey across 5 different colour related topics:
* Colour vision
* Colour Naming - this was my favourite
* Feeling colour
* Making colour
* Selling colour

And then my friend Ash posted a link to these two related articles - The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (Part 1) and Part 2. There are some excellent comments on these articles as well - one such gem is > “orange” didn’t enter English as a color name until the 16th century, after the fruit itself was first brought to England, quite late in the evolution of our color vocabulary, which is why we still refer to “red” hair.

which is also refered to here.

Also linked to from Part One, but worthy of it’s own mention, is the xkcd colour survey which is a nicely explained study.

Finally I went along to the excellent Festival of the Spoken Nerd sci-comedy performance in Brighton as part of Brighton Science Festival and Steve Mould did a thing about colour, and particularly about magenta. Make sure you take a look at the animation and alternate between focussing on the black cross for a bit and focussing on the blinking magenta blobs.

All really interesting.