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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How I (color blind person) see the world!

A lot of people were asking me "so, what do you see!!". This post is to make you understand what exactly I see. Well, after 27 years I discovered that I see the world in a different way than others, and I am a successful web designer, my color schemes are always bright and nice (this is what people tell me)

I was asking myself, do the green fields which i love look red to normal people?! do normal people see orange like my blue?! when you are born your parents teach you colors, they point to that box and tell you "this is green" they point to this red circle and say "this is red". To them it is green box and red circle but they don't know how you see it! you might see that red circle as what they see blue! so you will point to every blue color you see and say RED (they told you it is red), which they actually see as red! so they won't tell you, you are wrong!

This is of course wrong , I see red as you see it and same with green, but, I see it with different shades. After browsing the internet searching to understand more about color blindness and different types of it, I discovered that I'm red-green color-blind, I also found these images which will help you to better understand what I see.

The images above are a tool to make normal people able to imagine how color blind people see what they see.
In the first image, normal people see a number. But if they look at the 2nd and 3rd images they will see what color blind people see in the first image. The difference between the 2nd and 3rd is just different types of color blindness.

In the upper 3 images I can't see a difference in them, they look the same to me, but to you as normal person you'll see a number in the first one.

In this gradient you (as normal person) will see every number in a box of color which is different to the one next to it. I can't see these boxes, I just see numbers from 0 to 5 as one block with gradient from lime green to yellow but no boxes! same happen from 10 to 15 just a gradient.

The first earth image shows how normal people will see it. The second one shows how a person with a red-green color deficit (deuteranopia) would see it and the third shows how it looks for a blue-yellow color deficit person (tritanopia).

The first colorful hats image shows how normal people will see it. The second one shows how a person with a red-green color deficit (deuteranopia) would see it and the third shows how it looks for a protanopia person, another form of red-green deficit.

People with color deficiencies may have difficulty distinguishing certain colors (e.g., a red-green color deficiency means that reds and greens are more difficult to distinguish). But as this photo demonstrates, many other colors are just as distinguishable to a person with a color deficiency as to someone with normal color vision. The first image shows how normal people will see it. The second one shows how a protanope person would see it and the third shows how it looks for a tritanope person.

The first dotted image is an ishihara plate commonly used to check for red-green color blindness. While on the second image it is what a red-green color-blind person might see. Note that the digit (3) is practically invisible.

You now understand more about what I can see!
hmm, you can start donations now! :)

It is really important to make color tests to your kids!
Color test 1
Color test 2
StumbleUpon Toolbar


Blogger Daniel said...

Nice article and how you explain your color blindness. I'm always astonished how a colorblind can be a designer, for me it would be an impossible task to accomplish.

February 20, 2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger Mostafa Mourad said...

me too is astonished!! :)

February 21, 2007 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not color blindness - it's evolution. The people calling it color blindness are like the fish in the pond who made fun of the fish who had big flippers and could get around land.

May 5, 2007 4:31 PM  
Anonymous dan bruce said...

More important, do you see in the infrared; many color blind people do. You look at a verdant live tree and were taught that it was green, but the infra red in a live tree way overpowers the green, so you see the infra red and were taught it was green. If you took a branch and broke it, the infra red fades and you see the green. It looks very different, yet people still tell you it is green. Hence red, infrared and green confusion. This ability of people with "infrared eyes" was used in WW II to spot camouflage. Broken boughs and shrubs still look green to normal eyes, but green to infrared eyes, so infrared eyes pick them out instantly. As well, green paint and netting look green to normal eyes, but not infrared as would living foliage. My father had red-green color blindness and could pick broken twigs out of shrubbery in a snap. If you do have infrared eyes, a living healthy tree looks one color, infrared, fungus infested trees another, and insect infested trees a third color. In the balance, infrared eyes is not such a bad thing if you learn to take advantage of it.


May 5, 2007 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm color blind too, this is a cool idea. As for Bruce's comments about infrared, that's just not the case. No humans can see in the infrared, it's just not possible the way our eyes are set up.

You should mention though, that there is more than one type of color blindness, and different extents. For example in the dot charts I can't see the numbers, but I have no problem making out the gradients (I'm red/green colorblind). Also, you should throw up one of the dot charts where colorblind people see a number but regular people don't!

May 5, 2007 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very disappointed with this article. We've all seen these number images; they are nothing new. I don't know why the author thinks he is sharing something new with us.

What I was expecting, and what would have been awesome to see, was images of real world scenes that had been image processed (Photoshopped) to appropriately change the colors into what colorblind people (or at least some of them) see. Now THAT would be cool to see.

May 5, 2007 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's quite cool - thanks. I have a few colorblind friends and that helps me to grasp it better. I was going to mention the camoflage, but someone beat me to it :)

May 5, 2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those charts are interesting.
I have red and green dis-vision. The circles of color blobs all look similar to me, and I don't see any numbers --
But in the yellow rows of boxes, I clearly see the outlines of each box, and different tones.

Thanks for putting this up --

Paul Worthington

May 5, 2007 7:36 PM  
Blogger Tez said...

While I'm not as bitter as the guy who's upset this isn't anything new, his idea about side-by-side Photoshops of the same photograph would be VERY interesting to see.

May 5, 2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Thomas David Baker said...

Why do you say, "It is really important to make color tests to your kids"?

We found out my newphew is colour blind the other day. But it doesn't really affect anything, does it?

May 6, 2007 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy above voiced what I have always thought.

But how can he take a picture and recolor it to show how he sees it?

Mostafa would have to totally reproduce a picture from scratch to try to make it like the image that he is observing.

But it would be great to see this topic fleshed out more.

The roar of the crowd is for more! :)

May 6, 2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

This post has been removed by the author.

May 6, 2007 5:29 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Good post, but if you used these images from elsewhere on the web, you should provide a link to those sites or at least add a note where they came from.

May 6, 2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one!!!ingenious i must say is the person who designed these tests!!!

May 7, 2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger wtanksley said...

A minor comment: I've never heard about "infrared eyes" before, don't know if that's true -- but contrary to a later poster, it's true that humans can see infrared. Our eyes are very slightly sensitive to the highest-energy frequencies of IR; so slightly, that normal light overpowers them entirely. But anyone can see it with a filter. I use deep red and deep blue (the sort that emergency flashlights come with); place them both over one eye, close the other, and walk out into sunlight. Once your eyes adjust, you'll see odd patterns and new colorations in many places, mainly in plants.

Be careful about taking the filters off -- your eyes will be adjusted to very low light.

The trick is that the filters are each very efficient at blocking all visible light except red and blue; but they happen to be very inefficient at blocking infrared (since we don't see that anyhow, and since if they did block it they'd heat up much faster). So put together they block visible light well, and let through IR; including the part to which we're minimally sensitive.

I've never heard of color blindness having this effect; but I suppose it's possible. Interesting!

May 7, 2007 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those asking for image comparisons. I'm not color blind but my brothers who are say that they can't tell much of a difference between the images this site makes.


P.S. Yes it is possible for two brothers from the same mother to be color blind and not color blind.

May 7, 2007 8:29 PM  
Blogger kaydub said...

This is similar to the tests the optometrist did to me when I discovered I was color blind. Cool images, now I can show people what I see when they ask. Cool article.

May 8, 2007 4:04 AM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

This site is great I am going to save this and send it to people I know that always are asking me things like what color does this look like to you or so do you see things like dogs in black and white. I have grown to hate these questions.

May 8, 2007 6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was experimenting and discovered that if you look at the color test samples with a blue filter (like the one on a pair of 3D glasses), you can see exactly what the article describes:

1) In the first examples, the numbers disappear and the colored circles all look the same.

2) In the second example with the numbered boxes, the "lines" between the left-hand boxes disappear and it turns into a gradient. The right-hand boxes remain visible.

So, if you want to see how something you're designing looks to someone with this form of colorblindness, just use the blue filter.

-- bytesmythe

May 8, 2007 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a color blind graphic designer too. What surprised ME is that you didn't keep it secret :-)
On the first day at college the art teacher told the class "... and, of course, those who are color blind can't possibly do this job..."
I had always played with the curious ones who wanted to test me, but that day I started hiding the thing. I'm 43 now, I've been cheating (and enjoying it) for 25, with very few accidents. When I retire I'll have more fun telling everyone!

May 18, 2007 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

I admit when I first read that you are colorblind, my first thought was "wow, but your site is so attractive". And then I was promptly ashamed of myself. If a deaf man can be a world famous composer (Beethoven), why not a color-blind design artist? I also recently read a fascinating novel with a colorblind photographer as the main character (The Magician's Tale - I forget the author's name).

Here's a couple fun sites I found doing preliminary research for a colorblind role-playing character:

May 24, 2007 2:35 AM  
Anonymous lr said...

Sorry you are not colour blind you are red green colour deficient. I am a kid who just recently found out this too. Many people are under the impression that we are colour blind when all it is, is our colour range is different. I think your blog describes this excellently but still idiots don't understand. I have been told that we just view everything differently and that this is quite common. Over 20% of guys have it. Anyway apparently we can sometimes be a better judge of colour combinations and colour schemes.

September 23, 2007 11:15 AM  
Blogger as_him said...

Hi! great post u have there! Seeing your work, I am really curious to know - how do you choose color combinations/schemes? How do you know if red will look great in a particular layout?

October 10, 2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wanted to ask the exact same question: "how do you choose your color combinations?"

...i am a starting graphic designer (i have been doing it for about one year now) and i find it very dificult the point i am considering doing something else (although i dont really want to)

what about when going to a job interview? do you tell the employer of your "dissablity" and risk him not hiring you because he has no clue about it and assumes you cant do the job?
or do you keep it from him and risk facing an embaresing situation later on when he finds out you lied to him? :)

the first time i went to a job interview i didnt mention it to the guy intervieing me and later on i just told the colague i was working with to take a look at what i was doing every once in a while just to be sure.
but it's pretty stressing being very happy wih your work but not being confident of it until someone else takes a look at it to be sure you dont have any colors screwed up

anyway the point is i would like to find a way to go around this so that the next time i can say: "i am color deficient but it is not a problem for me to do this job"

someone said they have "kept it secret" for 25 years.. how did you do that? :D

October 11, 2007 11:21 AM  
Anonymous John Nash said...

Great tale you tell, Mostafa. These last comments to your post about making design choices are interesting.

I've been posting a lot lately about usability and access regarding web design and the importance of designers keeping those with color blind in mind.

I have a list of tools here:

November 4, 2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found out just today I'm colour blind. I've been working for a design company for a year now and still hope to go on to great things... I just am not sure whether or not to talk to people about this disability because I don't know whether it is a good thing or not.

Thanks for posting your article. It gives me hope.

November 24, 2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Figs said...
This wikipedia picture is supposed to simulate one particular type of color blindness (there are actually quite a few types according to the article here:

Anyone who's actually color blind care to comment on the image?

November 28, 2007 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As requested! A link that shows what color blind people see when they look at the real world.

I am a deuteranope. The first two pictures of the globe and hat look totally the same to me. I can see the differences in the third pictures though.

November 28, 2007 10:59 PM  
Anonymous loz said...

very interesting article! im doing a project on genetics atm so I'm doing red green colour blindness. nice pics!

April 4, 2008 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a student taking up Art Direction and I'm really interested in how you select or come up with your color combinations, because I have the red/green color issue as well. I struggle with it, because when I design or illustrate something, my wife will walk in and ask me if I wanted that element to be that color. And usually the answer is no, I wanted it to be something else. Any help would be appreciated.

April 15, 2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a color blind individual (red/green but not too severely) and so was my grandfather (severely red/green) what suprised me was that when i looked at the cirlces i didnt see a thing. CREEPY! ive never done those kind of tests.


April 29, 2008 1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi i have a type of color blind but dont know what is some thing for color blind test i see nothing but the people that are color blind should see something or sometimes i see thing that color blind people should not see

May 7, 2008 12:24 PM  

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