Is it possible to accurately remember a given colour? Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Mark Fairchild says "no"! Surprisingly, the brain is poorly equipped to remember colors. At best, Dr. Fairchild notes, "we can remember only general categories of color represented by significant color names. That's why there are so many sophisticated ways to name, organize, and measure color."
Here's a way to test your own colour memory. Close your eyes and imagine a red stop sign at a traffic intersection. It's a colour that drivers see every day in the European Union, United States, and many other places. Then open your eyes and see if you can identify the official stop sign colour from amongst the following imposters:
Answer: According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the official stop sign colour is HEX: #B01C2E, RGB: 176, 28, 46, Pantone® 187. It is the last colour in our lineup. Did you guess correctly?
Here's a second try, with fewer options. Close your eyes and imagine the giant yellow "M" of the McDonald's® franchise. It's an eye-catching yellow known the world over. Then open your eyes and see if you can identify the official McDonald's® yellow from amongst the following imposters:
Answer: According to the McDonald's® Global Logo and Trademark Standards Reference Guide, the official yellow is HEX: #FCC917, RGB: 252, 201, 23, Pantone® 123. It is the first colour in our lineup. Did you guess correctly?
You can explore Dr. Fairchild's research on color perception and imaging at his website.
Cover by franz66.
About the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Craig 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