3 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Color

Color is everywhere and if you are in the design world it often has a big impact on your work in one way or another. I teach a Color Design for Interiors course at Moore College of Art and Design and when I update my lectures before the start of each quarter that I teach, I learn something new. Most people know what their favorite color is and designers usually know what color or colors would be most appropriate for a specific project. But have you ever thought about how color is actually seen? Here are 3 things you probably didn't know about seeing color.

1. People who are colorblind tend to be men because of the X chromosome. Properties that relate to color are in the X chromosome; since men have an X and Y chromosome if the color associations in X are defective then colorblindness can occur. Women have two X chromosomes so if one is defective, the other tends to compensate. Ever take an online colorblindness test? Try it!

2. Some people have something called Chromesthesia, a form of Synesthesia. People that experience this phenomenon see colors when they hear random sounds and organized sounds like music. People are born with this condition and include artists such as Pharrell Williams, Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder. Read more about this phenomenon here.

3. Humans clearly see color, but we do not see as much of a range of colors as other animals. I know, disappointing right? The number of color receptors that a living thing has determines the range of color that one can see. In general, invertebrates can see more of a color range than vertebrates. Humans have 3 color receptors while butterflies have 5 or 6. Mantis Shrimps have 16!  Learn more from the Colors podcast by Radiolab.