Color Matters Blog

Color is always doing something. Sometimes color screams out a message, sometimes it casts a subliminal spell. So, what's happening in the world of color today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? What are the facts, what are the myths?

Designers that changed everything - and why color matters

Here’s a look at four successful designs, the artists who created them, and why color matters. I hope it inspires everyone whether you’re an amateur, pro, or just love to dabble.

Gmail logo mess fixed by amateur

gmail icon fix
When it was introduced in October, Gmail’s new logo looked off. The colors looked choppy. Now, thanks to an Evan Blass, an amateur designer, the logo was rebuilt. The new Gmail logo creates an illusion that the colors are overlapping – so blue and yellow make green, and yellow and red make orange. It makes more sense and it’s evidence of the importance of consistency in designing with color.

Covid designer

gmail icon fix
One image defines Covid-19 more than any other. There’s a lot to learn about scientific illustration and color when we look closely at the design and the designer behind the covid image.

Two medical illustrators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were assigned the task of creating something dramatic that would catch the public’s attention, a health emergency alert that would pop out of the page. In one weeks time. Designer Alissa Eckert explains that getting the colors to work correctly with the textures took much trial and error. In the end, they resulted in colors that relate to the public health warning aspect.

Her background is inspiring for all of you who are drawn to design: In her fourth year of college as a biology major, she was planning on going to veterinary school. She had taken art classes on the side but had never intended on doing it professionally, until she found out about medical illustration. She found a program at the University of Georgia and ended up at the CDC.

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Languages without words: Colors and emojis

The language of emojis is like the language of colors. They both communicate without words. This article compares their powers.

New emojis

emoji new apple

There are more than 2,823 emojis set by the Unicode Consortium and more are coming soon. Apple just announced a preview of those approved earlier this year as part of the Emoji 13.0 release by the Consortium. The dodo bird, piñata, and a ninja are three examples. Which one would you add to your vocabulary?

New colors?

electromag spectrum nanometer 24

The normal human eye can theoretically distinguish 7.5 and 10 million hues. New pigments, such as YinMn Blue, have been discovered. Also, Pantone and paint manufacturing companies frequently add new color swatches to their collections.

On the other hand, it’s scientifically impossible that a human being might see a color that’s never existed before. Our eyes can only see a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum because the visible colors on planet Earth originate from the light emitted by the sun. More information here and from Wikipedia.

If humans could visit a planet around another star - and depending on that star's color and the conditions of the planet’s atmosphere - a new world of color could be revealed. There’s also the possibility that evolutionary changes in human eyes will allow us to see broader areas of the light spectrum, in which case the brain will interpret this new information as a new color.

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Here comes trouble: Paint matching apps for the iPhone


It’s supposed to solve the dilemma of winding up with all those cans of paint in colors that are too bold, too dingy, or not quite right. Both Benjamin Moore's Ben Color Capture and Sherwin-Williams' ColorSnap applications for the iPhone work the same way: Take a picture with your iPhone, zoom in on an area of color that you want to match in paint. Click “match” and the application gives you a range of paint options just like a real paint strip from their catalogue (either Moore or Sherwin). On the plus side, it shows the color’s nearest neighbors, in both lighter and darker shades.

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Liar, Liar, the Color Wheel is on Fire


Does the web provide an open door for "color experts" to dish out bad advice? Maybe in the dark days before the web, the color wheel was on fire but no one could see it. Whatever the case may be - and on the heels of last week’s Benjamin Moore report - there’s a new one.

The latest bad advice is based on the assumption that the "old rules" about how to use and combine colors are out the window. Here’s the exact quote from an interior design professional:

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