via Weather Sealed by Stephen Von Worley on
6/7/10


I’m an incorrigible data hound.  So, once the tempting aroma of XKCD’s color name survey results
tickled my nose, I had no choice – but to run to the dining room, stand up on my
hind legs, and yank that statistical top sirloin off the table!  Om nom nom
yum yum yum!

For those unfamiliar, XKCD is the popular webcomic, and on its sister blog, author Randall Munroe announced his
survey as follows:

I’d like your help for a color name survey!  The survey shows you
colors, and you type a name (word or phrase) you might use for that
color.  The names can be as broad or specific as you want.

During the next two months, over 200,000 people named more than 5,000,000
random hues.  Soon thereafter, Randall delivered a frequently
side-splitting analysis of the
results, artfully punctuated by his wonderful Color Map: an
illustration detailing the territorial dominance of each name in
fully-saturated RGB space.  The kicker was that the magnanimous
Munroe made the individual survey responses – possibly the largest body of
such information in existence – publicly available for anyone to use. 
Kudos for freeing the data, dude!

Now, deep in the cockles of my drama queen heart, there’s always been a
little shrine for the colors with the charismatic, less-spoken names. 
Could periwinkle roll
off the tongue more adorably?  Maroon?  Aye,
there be pirates about!  And yeah, burgundy and chartreuse do
sound a bit boozy, but they’re hella more fun
at parties than “dark red” and “yellow-green.”

Their Achilles’ heel?  The lack of a verbal tether to the
common colors, causing the occasional mix-up about what they mean.  Case in
point: until yesterday, I thought that khaki was an
olive-type of green, but per my wife and other experts, it leans more towards
beige and brown.

Egads!  I’d been afflicted by the embarrassing scourge of color
confusion!
  So that no one else should suffer it – or have to
wear Dockers to know what
“khaki” means – Weather Sealed’s design team went to work on a cure.  The
resulting visualization, borne of the XKCD data, shows the primary color
names, their lesser-used brethren, and the relationship between them:

The Color Strata.  Click to see it bigger!

The Color Strata includes the 200 most common color names (excluding
black-white-grayish tones), organized by hue horizontally and relative usage
vertically, stacked by overall popularity, shaded representatively, and labeled
where possible.  Besides filtering spam, ignoring cruft, normalizing grey
to gray, and correcting the most egregious misspellings (here’s looking at you,
fuchsia), the results are otherwise unadulterated.  As such, similar
color names, like sea green, seafoam green, and seafoam, each appear
separately.  They’re synonymous… or are they?

Anyways, once you’ve had your fill of that, bliss out on this:

The Strata Smooved.  Click to see it bigger!

It’s the same basic graph, but with flipped shading, label-free, stretched to
fill the vertical, and whipped until creamy smooth.

Ahhhh.  On that note, we conclude today’s episode of color
research.  Subscribe to
stay tuned for more – we might even pull Crayola
crayons
back into the mix – coming soon!

 
 

Things you can do from
here:

 
 
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