colour in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else. Sometimes this is due to personal preference, and other times due to cultural background. colour theory is a science in itself. Studying how colours affect different people, either individually or as a group, is something some people build their careers on. And there’s a lot to it. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a colour can evoke a completely different feeling. Cultural differences mean that something that’s happy and uplifting in one country can be depressing in another.
Anyone with normal colour vision agrees that blood is roughly the same colour as strawberries, cardinals and the planet Mars. That is, they’re all red. But could it be that what you call “red” is someone else’s “blue”? Could people’s colour wheels be rotated with respect to one another’s?
“That is the question we have all asked since grade school,” said Jay Neitz, a colour vision scientist at the University of Washington. In the past, most scientists would have answered that people with normal vision probably do all see the same colours. The thinking went that our brains have a default way of processing the light that hits cells in our eyes, and our perceptions of the light’s colour are tied to universal emotional responses. But recently, the answer has changed.
“I would say recent experiments lead us down a road to the idea that we don’t all see the same colours,” Neitz said.
Another color vision scientist, Joseph Carroll of the Medical College of Wisconsin, took it one step further: “I think we can say for certain that people don’t see the same colors,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries.
One person’s red might be another person’s blue and vice versa, the scientists said. You might really see blood as the color someone else calls blue, and the sky as someone else’s red. But our individual perceptions don’t affect the way the color of blood, or that of the sky, make us feel.