In the blog series, Subtleties of Color by Robert Simmon, he discusses the importance, power, and underlying issues with using color. Like most forms of retinal indicators, colors are complicated and become even more complicated when you begin exploring the psychology and mental processes that go into our perception of them. Interestingly, we do not perceive colors the same way as they are scientifically perceived. For instance, the cones in our eyes are RGB, but the way our brains interpret colors can be much more complicated, taking into account hue, saturation, brightness, and even contrast. Another aspect of this is how computers come into play, he writes “Computer colors are linear and symmetrical, human color perception is non-linear and uneven” I found this well said and interesting, when we use colors to help us use color, we are trying to apply a non linear approach to a extremely linear one. Both grayscale and color gradients hold power for data visualization but also can become problematic when it comes to them being used in an incorrect manner. A good thing to always take into account is to use a consistent change of gradient with each important value. Also, while using divergent color palettes, it is important to keep your colors saturated in order to keep their visual importance, desaturated colors often lose emphasis. The most interesting part of this blog to me was the discussion of intuitive colors. Intuitive colors are often meaningless and just become intuitive due to our preexisting mental schemas. For instance, the use of blue for chilly and red for warm. I find this interesting because of how often these intuitive colors are applied to scientific things and digested as science. In this case, the colorized images created by NASA, the images that are originally black and white are colorized by humans to increase visual information, yet the colors are intuitive to some extent. Color theory is an endless project, there is really no way to define the correct scientific use of color but there are definitely correct and incorrect approaches.

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