Color is a cameleon

posted in: Color | 0

samesameordifferent.comI’ve had a long-standing love affair with color. One of the things I like to talk about when I do color lectures or color workshops is how color is a cameleon. It changes based on the things surrounding it. Robin Ferrier pointed me to two really cool illustrations of this.

The first one to check out is This website will show you two rectangles of color. In the center of each is another rectangle of color. You try to determine if those two smaller rectangles are the same or different colors. Once you’ve made a decision, click on “smoosh.” You’ll be amazed how two very different looking colors are actually the same (or maybe not). It perfectly illustrates how our perception of things aren’t necessarily reality. It also shows why sometimes we pick out fabrics for a quilt, and they end up looking so different when the quilt is put together.

colorisrelative.comThe second website to visit is This site has a series of pages which illustrate the cameleon character of color. When you go to the website and you move your mouse across the first illustration, the background changes, and you can watch the interaction of the squares with the background. (This effect will not happen on my website; you need to follow the link.) Be sure to click “next” at the top left of their site to go to additional examples. screen has sixteen stripes of color gradating from two parent colors shown on either end. As you move the curser across the stripes, the background changes to that color. It’s amazing how the stripes seem to change colors as well. is very popular now, so it’s important to understand what it does to color. In addition to changing the background to a color, this page gives you the opportunity to change it to white, black, or two shades of gray. Pay close attention to how vibrant the colors looks on black and how much darker they look on white. What happens with a gray background?

I hope you’ll take some time and have fun!