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colorfluency - Learn Some Colors

Color is a very abstract thing. You can see colors. You own things that have color. You might even have a favorite color, but how do you describe colors?

Here's the problem: you don't. At least not in a very objective way.

  • "Those socks are white."
  • "That curry is green."
  • "I like beer."
  • "I've got a red tie."
  • "We wore matching blue shirts."

You use color to describe color. It's pretty unhelpful without any other frame of reference. How do you pinpoint, precisely, what a particular color is?

Web designers and digital artists use numbers. One way they describe color is in terms of the amount of red, blue, and green light needed to reproduce a color on a computer screen. Equal quantities of the three give you a hueless shade of gray between black and white. Using different proportions of the three give you different colors. Knowing intuitively which ratios of red, blue, or green it takes to recreate a color takes a lot of practice. You can rely on color picking software to translate between RGB values and the colors you want, but efficient designers know how to reproduce at least most of the colors they need for rough drafts of designs, and can generally read those numbers and know what the color looks like.

Designers get a second language to talk about colors. Wouldn't it be cool to learn it?

Practice through Play

A website released a game about kerning. Method of Action hasn't come out yet, but they have the stated goal of making content and games to help people become better designers. That's pretty cool.

They already came out with a color game when I was in the middle of coding this up, but I still feel like color fluency will be more applicable to some skills used by designers in their work.

Game Modes

The Plan:

There will be a lot of interplay between the objective, computery ways to get to colors and back again. RGB values, hex, whatever. Both to the numeral way and back from it.

When I get more time into this I'm going to add stuff about the mathematical relationships of color palettes-- how tetrads and complimentary colors show up in design and artwork.

I want the play modes to be especially fast-paced, and to nurture as much of a gut feeling about color decisions as possible.

Accuracy will count, but getting close will be gratifying. Also-- the range is so wide that a five-pixel finger slip shouldn't cause a penalty. That's no fun. I think the low bit ranges will be more fun, and better for building up your intuition about what color something is.