Why Colour Matters (Or – How The Contrasts You Use Can Make Life More Difficult Than You Think)

The “Colour” referred to in the title of this blogpost doesn’t relate to people – it refers to text and background.

I was looking on Facebook when I saw a status requesting people to create a logo – which caused me to see red. Literally.

The person behind the request wanted the logo for a project which was supposed to be inclusive for all.  So – why did he request the logo to be printed in red???

I have blogged before about how different colours affect me.  However, it is not just people like me who have difficulties with certain colours and contrasts.  I know of at least one human with a driving license who has severe red/green colour blindness.

There are also instances where the contrast between the colour of the text and the background is too shallow for me to be able to compute at the first attempt.

If you are going to use white text – please make your background as dark as possible.

There is one very interesting difference between the current uniforms of the Dutch and UK Police (the scruffs on the front line – bring back the tunic and the white shirt).

I can easily identify a Dutch Police Officer from a distance but I would have to almost be nose to nose with a UK one (unless they are wearing their luminous outer wrapper).  Why???

A navy or darkish blue jacket or T-shirt with a luminous yellow stripe around the chest (and back) is not something I would expect most people to wear – especially if I can see the logo of the Dutch police on it.

The UK Police have just about lost all their identifying features as far as their uniform is concerned.  Dressed head to toe in black (unless in the previously mentioned outer wrapper) with small labels announcing they are “Police” in white text doesn’t quite work for me.  White shirt, custodian helmet, and a black stabvest announces that I have a UK Police officer in front of me.

We need to be a little more open-minded when it comes to redesigning things for either “ease of visibility” or “ease of identifiably” – if only to make sure everybody is included.

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