The Conspicuous Colors Of Chameleons

The Conspicuous Colors Of Chameleons

For years scientist have known that chameleons' ability to change color served three purposes: camouflage, body heat regulation, and social communication. However, the most widely accepted hypothesis as to what drove this adaptation, up until now, was camouflage, but some recent research has brought new light as to why chameleons have become know as the color changers that they are, and scientist now believe that social communication is the main driver behind this adaptation.

There are more than 160 species of Chameleons known, and their body size and shape varies widely from 1 inch up to 31 inches. Most of them can be found in Africa, Madagascar and other tropical areas. While chameleons have many unique physical features, such as their independently moving eyes and extremely long tongues, their ability to change color has always been the most fascinating.

Photo by sukanto debnath

All chameleons are able to change color, with different species exhibiting different color ranges that include pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown and yellow.

Color Change

Chameleons have specialized cells, collectively called chromatophores, that lie in layers under their transparent outer skin. The cells in the upper layer, called xanthophores and erythrophores, contain yellow and red pigments respectively. Below these is another layer of cells called iridophores or guanophores, and they contain the colourless crystalline substance guanine. These reflect, among others, the blue part of incident light. If the upper layer of chromatophores appears mainly yellow, the reflected light becomes green (blue plus yellow). A layer of dark melanin containing melanophores is situated even deeper under the reflective iridophores. The melanophores influence the 'lightness' of the reflected light. All these pigment cells can rapidly relocate their pigments, thereby influencing the colour of the chameleon.
- Wiki:Chameleon

Photo by Pashka

The study

Scientists ran experiments on 21 species of southern African dwarf chameleons to figure out why these color-changing abilities formed.

If camouflage drove the evolution of color change, the species of chameleon that display the greatest diversity of skin coloration would have the greatest variety of backgrounds to match their habitats.

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The Art Of Tokidoki

The Art Of Tokidoki

I'll never forget the first time I discovered Tokidoki. It was about two years ago, and I was walking in downtown San Francisco with a friend when I saw a girl walking down the street in front of me carrying a Tokidoki bag. Being a fan of cute art and vivid colors, I followed her (discreetly!) for several blocks, trying to identify more about her fantastic purse. Of course, it wasn't long until I had solved the mystery, and soon enough I had more Tokidoki bags than I would ever need.

Italian Tokidoki creator Simone Legno founded his company in 2005 with the help of business partners Pooneh Moohajer and Ivan Arnold. The word Tokidoki means "sometimes" in Japanese, which Legno gives more background on in the form of a little enclosure card that comes with the majority of Tokidoki products. His story started back in 2003, when Pooneh Moohajer and her husband Ivan discovered Legno's website. Pooneh was the co-founder of popular cosmetics line Hard Candy, and she saw something distinctly marketable in Legno's design style.


Legno released his first collaboration with the company Le Sportsac in Spring 2006. The bags met a tremendous reaction from fans, who soon were rabid to collect any and all things Tokidoki. To this day, the bags that are out of print fetch up to $400 on Ebay. There are also multiple fan sites who categorize all the releases and aid collectors in finding the bags they want to add to the burgeoning collections. The best of these is Tokidoki blog, which not only updates on the bags but all the other collectibles as well. It's an excellent place to begin if you find you have a gnawing hunger to own one of these delightful creations.


Legno's signature style caught the eye of the designer toy world quickly as well, and soon many collectible sculptures were available. While he has collaborated with most major designers, the most popular series seems to be the one made by STRANGECo, who released two major lines, Cactus Friends and Moofia. The Cactus Friends were small animals wearing cactus-like armor, such as the little green dog Bastardino. The Moofia series was based around milk products. Fans reacted positively to these as well, as they were not only adorable but also affordable. Having been welcomed into the designer toy universe with open arms, Tokidoki found itself reaching a whole new group of fans.

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Artists In Color: Ron Haselden + Dennis Ichiyama

Artists In Color: Ron Haselden + Dennis Ichiyama

Today we are highlighting the work of light, electronic, sound and film artist Ron Haselden and woodblock type artist Dennis Ichiyama.

Ron Haselden

Ron Haselden mixes the hard materials of buildings with the soft media of light and sound. He also likes to incorporates a mix of high-tech and low-tech, often using people as an element in his works.

La Noche en Blanco. A light performance for 470 people. A series of changing images, based on the theme of Family Garden and drawn by local children.

New Street Square A large-scale neon light work planned for a new development in the City of London.

Dennis Ichiyama

Dennis Ichiyama is Professor of Art and Design and a former Designer-in-Residence at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. His experimental work with wood type has a complex impact that is created from the use of simple forms and colors.

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The Color of Language: English Color Etymologies 4

The Color of Language: English Color Etymologies 4

This is the fourth post in a series on English Color Etymologies. Today we are looking at the colors that come from the names of places and foreign words.

English is a colorful language. Since its birth among the tribes of Europe, English has built its color vocabulary with the wealth of words it has inherited from Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, Latin, and Greek. Collected here are 172 colors that standard dictionaries (I used the American Heritage and the Random House) classify as specific color nouns (these do not, of course, include the standard ten – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, grey, white – or any Crayola inventions). This treasure of colors is broken down by etymological origin: is the color the name of a flower, an animal, or even a historical person? Some colors appear twice (when I felt two origins were sufficiently different). Others appear only once though they could certainly fit into several categories.

Ever wonder how a color got its name? Refer to the following and enjoy your new grasp on color!


Photo by gadl

From Europe to Asia, place names have become color names. It is not surprising that Italy, birthplace of the Occidental Renaissance, contains many such places.

From Pompeii, Italy (and the color found on the walls of its houses).
From Venice, Italy.
From Burgundy, France (and the color of its wine).
From Sienna, Italy (short for: terra di sienna, ‘the color of the earth in Sienna’).
From Manilla, Philippines (and the color of
manilla hemp used to make the paper).
From Champagne, France (and the color of its sparkling wine).
From Cambodia (and the resin of trees specific
to southeast Asia).
From Chartreuse, France (and the green liquor made by the monks living there).
From Prussia. The dye was discovered by a
man living in what is now Berlin (and was
Königsberg, the Prussian capital, at the time).
From Lajward, Turkestan (where a stone of similar color was mined).
From Lajward, Turkestan, modern-day Afghanistan, (where the stone, lapis, was mined).
From Persia.
From India.
From Solferino, Italy (where a battle was fought in 1859, the same year the dye was discovered).
From Tyre, ancient Phoenicia, modern-day Lebanon.
From Magenta, Italy.
From Damascus (where the plum tree grows).
From Mocha, Yemen (a port from which coffee was exported).
From Gagas, Lycia, modern-day Turkey.
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Color Changing Products

Color Changing Products

Over the years we've all come across color changing products that may have been amazing or disappointing - especially disappointing if you tried to wash you hypercolor t-shirt using hot water only to find out that you have now permanently changed it to the lighter color, but since those trying days of the 80's and 90's, color changing products have continued to develop.

Now, many researchers have applied some of the science behind color changing for applications in public safety, like when water is hot, or streets are cold and covered in ice, and they have also developed some technologies that would allow us to change the color of our cars and clothing with the push of a button. Here is a look at some of the color changing products currently available or in development.

Car Paint

Photo from gizmodo

With a switch of a button your car could change color. Scientist have developed a material that uses an electrical charge to create different colors. The Coating has the ability to reproduce the full spectrum of colors, and it only takes about a second to change from one color to another.

The process starts out with a standard galvanized piece of automotive sheet metal steel. A special polymer is applied to the steel with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles embedded within it. The nanoscale crystalline particles of magnetite (iron oxide) are controlled using a low grade magnetic field which is used to effect the spacing of the colloidal crystals and thereby controlling their ability to reflect light and change color.

Note: Nissan is not actually releasing this product.


A number of faucets have been designed to change from blue to red as the temperature of the water increases. They simply use some sort of temperature sensor and a LED light, but can be very helpful in warning of a potential burn situation.

Wall Paint

Eclipse wall paint from Alsacorp will get lighter when heat of some kind is applied. It is also available with extra effects called CrystalFX, SpectraFX or Funky Munkey.


At frst these candles seemed like they had been touched with 'the magic' until I read a little more and discovered that there is a LED light in the bottom, but the fact that it turns on when you light the wick, using an optical sensor, is impressive enough to include in the lineup.

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What’s Your Color? The Zodiacal Colors

What’s Your Color? The Zodiacal Colors

"In deciding upon a proper color, neither the zodiacal nor the planetary values should be considered separately but blended as an artist mixes paints upon his palette." - Manly P. Hall

There are many theories as to which color is associated with each segment of the zodiac. While there does seem to be some sort of consensus among experts, and non-experts alike, large discrepancies still exsist , even in the COLOURlovers library.

Today we are going to look at three theories. Two put together from historical references from Manly P. Hall and Finnish astrologer Juhani Nummela, and a newer theory proposed over at Plus, we'll see what people in the COLOURlovers community think their colors are.

Colors associated with the 360 degrees of zodiac

The visible part of spectre of electromagnetic waves is what we call light. More exactly, from the entire range of electromagnetic radiations, the human eye can only perceive those with the wavelength between 380 and 780 nanometers (nm). Below 380 nm, there is the ultraviolet radiation, beyond 780 nm there is the infrared range.

I think there is a correlation between the visible light of different wavelenghts and the zodiac: the visible spectre begins with red and ends with violet, this can be associated with the range of 360 degrees of the zodiac, from Aries to Pisces.

Since the light with a wavelenght of 780 nm is a red light, and the light with a wavelenght of 380 nm is a violet light, a correlation can be considered between the light of 780 nm and 0 degrees Aries and so on, ending with a correlation between the light of 380 nm and 29 degrees Pisces.


Manly P. Hall: brilliant red
Juhani Nummela: red, carmine red between 780nm #610000 - 747nm #A70000


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Loïe Fuller, Illusionist Of Light And Color

Loïe Fuller, Illusionist Of Light And Color

One of the most spellbinding color illusionists of the last century left her spectators dazzled to near-mystical proportions.  Loïe Fuller (1862-1928) was pioneer of choreography and an innovator of theatrical lighting, holding patents for creating color gels and using chemical salts for luminescence.  When she took to the stage dressed in flowing silk costumes specially lit according to her own schemes, she transformed into a full-fledged magician.  When modern dance founder Isadora Duncan first witnessed Fuller's shape-shifting wizardry, she was bewitched by an alchemy of color and movement that left the impression of a once-in-a-lifetime miracle.  Employing only voluminous colored silks illuminated by beams of light, Fuller performed what amounted to a shamanic ritual, convincing her spectators that a sacred metamorphosis was unfolding.  Fuller evoked the primal power of the bonfire, depicted the wonder of new life, and enacted the elevation of the soul into boundless essence.  Though the experience left Duncan in a state of wordless awe, she couldn't help attempting to account for the sheer magnitude of what she beheld:

Loïe Fuller at the Folies Bergère

"Before our very eyes she turned to many-coloured, shiny orchids, to a wavering, flowering sea-flower, and at length to a spiral-like lily, all the magic of Merlin, the sorcery of light, colour, flowing form.  What an extraordinary genius!  No imitator of Loïe Fuller has ever been able even to hint at her genius!  I was entranced, but I realized that this was a sudden ebullition of nature which could never be repeated.  She transformed herself into a thousand colourful images before the eyes of her audience.  Unbelievable. Not to be repeated or described.  Loïe Fuller originated all the changing colours and floating Liberty scarves.  She was one of the first original inspirations of light and changing colour.  I returned to the hotel dazzled and carried away by this marvelous artist. . . . I was more and more enthusiastic about her marvellous ephemeral art.  That wonderful creature—she became fluid; she became light; she became every colour and flame, and finally she resolved into miraculous spirals of flames wafted toward the Infinite."  (My Life, pp. 71-72)

The significance of Loïe Fuller's performance can hardly be exaggerated.  She embodied the Goddess of Light and the Rainbow, whether under the guise of the Greek Artemis or Iris, the Hindu Uma, the Mayan Ix Chel, the Celtic Brigid, or the Roman Diana.  Biographers Richard and Marcia Current called Fuller a "magician of light."  Befitting a goddess, Fuller had a paradoxical nature, and she created her own mythology.  Her biographers explain:

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Color In Nature: Pheasants

Color In Nature: Pheasants

There are approximately 49 species of pheasants. Their habitats range from mountainous regions in the Himalayas to the grasslands of North America and bamboo forests of China.

The color palettes of pheasants range as drastically as their habitats. Many species possess colors you might only expect to see on birds in tropical regions with feathers of bright yellows and oranges that are complimented with deep rich maroons and blues. While other species possess simple soft transitions of beige and gray. Whatever the species, pheasants are a wonderful source of color inspiration found in nature.

Elliot's Pheasant

Photo by jowo
Elliot's Pheasant

  • Other Names: Bar-backed Pheasant, Chinese Barred-backed Pheasant, White-necked Long-tailed Pheasant
  • Range: Southeastern China
  • Habitat: Thick mixed forests to about 6,200 feet.


Himalayan Monal Pheasant

Photo by peterjbaer
Himalayan Monal

  • Other Names: Impeyan Pheasant, Impeyan Monal
  • Range: The Himalayas, from eastern Afghanistan to western China
  • Habitat: Mountainous regions; in summer, they are found in rocky, grass covered meadows and winters in coniferous and mixed forests.


Silver Pheasant

Photo by benimoto
Silver Pheasant

  • Other Names: N/A
  • Range: South-western China, eastern Burma, southern Vietnam, southwestern Cambodia, southeastern Thailand, northern Laos and the island of Hainan.
  • Habitat: Diverse, both grasslands and bamboo, evergreen and decidous forests.
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Artists In Color: Stephen Bush + Sanderson Bob

Artists In Color: Stephen Bush + Sanderson Bob

Today we are highlighting the work of painter Stephen Bush and graphic designer Sanderson Bob who both show a particular excellence in their perception of color and space.

Stephen Bush

Stephen Bush's work has been described as 'technicolor realism' and he consume his painting's subjects with brush strokes and pours of hallucinogenic color. His work evokes the same emotional pull as what I experienced when I first saw the stunning visual imagination of Salvador Dali and other artist from the surrealist movement. Bush's use of color is the best aspect of his amazingly good collection of work.

Stephen Bush graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Fine Arts in 1978 and has since gone on to have a prolific professional career, recognised in Australia and the USA. Bush's career has been built on a series of works, each created through a different aesthetic approach but linked by their surreal sensibility. Beekeepers, rubbish bins, alpine scenes, Babar the elephant, men on horse, his chosen subjects are diverse and atypical. Bush's painterly range is as varied and free flowing as his subject matter. Moving from lurid abstraction to figuration realism, he creates guttural juxtapositions of the visceral and the sublime.
- Sutton Gallery

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The Girl With The Multicolored Hair

The Girl With The Multicolored Hair

Text by Jeff at Omegaword, palettes from the COLOURlovers library

The last time I saw the girl with the multicolored hair, she was following sunbeams through the kitchen door and ran, laughing, out into the world to find another bright friend.

The last time I saw the girl with the multicolored hair, she flew above the treetops where the wind blows warm, and clouds were not allowed to interfere with such a perfect sky.

The last time I saw the girl with the multicolored hair, she sang to the sparrows and the green, green grass, and rain was always welcome, but only after noon.

rainbow hairHair
HairsprayHairdohairsprayHair Madness

Cover img by permanently scatterbrained.

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.comCraig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow
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