Monday, November 7, 2022

Seeing color differently


Seeing color differently


Frédérik Ruys (an infographics friend) took this photo at his local sports center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. A multi-use floor can be a visual challenge when it has markings for korfball,* volleyball, badminton, baseball and soccer. Frederik says he can’t properly watch his children play korfball because of a color-vision condition that makes it difficult for him to separate the relevant set of court markings from the others.
(I suspect it could be quite hard work for me too.)

*A non-contact sport, similar to netball and basketball, but with four female and four male players in a team.

Some example images from the well-known Ishihara 38-plate test (which was first published in 1917). The numbers in the circles are repeated at the bottom of this post.
You can take it, and other vision tests, here:

Numbers and variants
Around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have a color-vision deficiency of some form. Approximately 300 million people worldwide are affected. So this is clearly a topic that all information designers should consider. Deuteranomaly is the most common type of red/green color deficiency, and is mild. Many people are not even aware they have this condition, unless they take one of the tests. This is the one that affects Frédérik.

Below, a TV test card seen through a color blindness simulator, which can be downloaded here:
First, the original image.

Protanopia: Relatively common.

Deuteranopia: Relatively common.

Tritanopia: Rare.

Achromatopsia: Extremely rare.

EnChroma makes color-recognition-correcting glasses. I don’t have any information about how effective this technology is, but it’s an area worth investigating.

Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have built-in proofing for protanopia and deuteranopia available under View > Proof Setup > Color Blindness. And there are other online resources, like this:

Editor’s note: “Color blindness” could perhaps imply a complete lack of color recognition, so I’ve tried to avoid that term here, although it is still widely-used to describe color deficiency.

(The sample Ishihara test numbers are 12, 8, 5, 2, 26)

Extreme architecture


Extreme architecture


Here in Ohio, we have a giant picnic basket building. It was the headquarters of the Longaberger Company until 2016, and is a surprisingly accurate representation of their Medium Market Basket. Last year it was sold to a developer.
Photograph by Derek Jensen.

The National Fisheries Development Board (India) has an interesting regional office. It’s in Hyderabad.

The Piano House in Huainan, China is built in the shape of a piano and violin. It’s currently a showroom for the district of Shannan.


This might look like a cathedral, but it’s a very large house. For one person.

William Beckford’s extravagant Fonthill Abbey was also known as “Beckford’s Folly,” and unlike some of the other examples below, it was actually constructed. Work began in 1796, and was completed in 1813. Beckford lived on his own in the house and only used one bedroom. Guests would have been quite impressed entering through the Great Western Hall.

Unfortunately, the 270-foot tower (82 meters) collapsed in 1807 (shown below). A replacement tower of the same height took six years to build, but it also collapsed. So over the following seven years, another tower (much shorter at 145 feet tall, 44 meters) was built. A footnote: after Beckford sold the house, the third tower collapsed too.

Antilia is a much more recent example of an extravagant private residence. This 27-story, 568-foot tall, house (173 meters) is owned by Mukesh Ambani, and opened in 2010. It’s in Mumbai, which has a lot of poverty, and consequently the house drew considerable criticism. At a cost of around $2 billion, it’s the world’s most expensive residential building. A few items for a real estate listing: Nine elevators. Three helipads. Over 400,000 square feet of space. Parking for 168 cars.

Photograph by A.Savin.

Adolf Hitler had some big ideas for Berlin. His new capital, Welthaupstadt Germania (World Capital Germania), was designed to celebrate his victory in World War II. Albert Speer was the architect of the grand plan, which was (obviously) never realized. The colossal Volkshalle would have been over 656 feet (200 meters) high with room inside for 180,000 people.

The Arch of Triumph, at around 330 feet (100 meters) tall, would have been large enough for the Arc de Triomphe (Paris) to fit inside it’s opening. The structure would have shown the names of the two million Germans who died in World War I.

Étienne-Louis Boullée designed a cenotaph for Isaac Newton in 1784. It was intended to be an impressive 500 feet (150 meters) tall. Holes in the dome would give the illusion of stars in the night sky.

Work on Moscow’s gigantic Palace of the Soviets began in 1937, but was stopped in 1941 because of the German invasion.

It would have surpassed the Empire State Building with a height of 1,624 feet (495 meters).

The stainless steel Gateway Arch in St.Louis is the world’s tallest arch at 630 feet (192 meters).

Photograph by Daniel Schwen.

Emojis from Musk