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Cal Poly Professor Addresses How and Why Designers Should Take Color Vision Defects into Account

Published on February 9, 2018

Cal Poly Professor Brian Lawler explains common color vision defects and why designers should take these color vision defects into account when designing maps, transactional documents, signs and other items where color plays a role in the ability to understand the messages being conveyed. He also provides insight into how color vision can be tested and tools available to verify if designs comply with good color practices.

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Discussion

By Dov Isaacs on Feb 09, 2018

It is indeed possible that Cal Poly GrC students aren't representative of the overall public in terms of ability to see color.

If someone recognizes (no pun intended) that they cannot properly see color, it is possible that they just might shy away from courses of study for which color recognition / differentiation is implied to be critically important.

- Dov

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Feb 12, 2018

One factor that most designers are unaware of and that affects the vast majority of people is that eye/brain visual discrimination is based primarily on tone difference (subject field contrast) rather than color. I.e. in a graphic element, two colors can be very different (e.g. yellow and blue) and yet if there is no tone difference between them then it's very difficult to distinguish between them.
This characteristic has been used effectively by scammers who use it to hide information in plain sight. Here is an example of a scam invoice where a color difference - but lack of tone difference -
between text and background hides the statement that it's not really an invoice so you don't have to pay it: https://tinyurl.com/yct59wam

On a less nefarious note - one constantly sees this issue in packaging and publications work.

 

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