The bad design of everyday things #2 — Color Names

Image by Phillip Taylor

Inspired by the awesome podcast 99% invisible and the hilarious posts of McMansion Hell i decided to start my own series of bad designed objects and places. Products that bother me a lot. And since it’s not fair for me to suffer alone, I invite you to suffer along.

We all know a whole bunch of objects that simply do not work how they were supposed to. That poorly designed product that won’t fit your hand ergonomics, or that terrible car cockpit that has just the right size to not fit your legs but still give you back pain, and we don’t even started to speak about airplane interiors or waiting rooms in bank agencies.

Well, I’m not a specialist in design, but if my humble knowledge is enough to notice that something is wrong, maybe I am not alone. So let’s play, this time I’m going to talk about Color Names.

You may think this is stupid. What’s the problem with color names? Well, none… at least for the common ones. Green, blue, red, etc… those names serve well its colors. But those are not the ones I want to talk about.

Since we started mixing colors to create new ones the need for new names came right after. Usually, those names have a relation with the story behind the color, like the name of its creator, the place where the pigment was found or produced or simply another curious fact related to it.

But there are some names that deserve special attention. Here you will find a small list of colors with some really weird names that were taken from the X11 Scheme (the same one used as Web standard). How were those names chosen is a mystery, but seriously, WTF?

Social Butterfly — What is the color of a butterfly?!? If I remember well this kind of animal is well known for being really colorful. But the Social part is the one that bothers me the most… Seriously, what’s Social supposed to mean?

Air Superiority Blue — I think this one could be called simply American Blue… Just kidding American fellows! But still… how are we supposed to know how Air Superiority looks like?

Alien Armpit — UAU! Imagine the guy that thought about this name for a minute… “Ow! I got a really nice green here, I should call it alien something… What about armpit?”

Big Dip O’Ruby — I can easily imagine a regular Texan redneck that nicknamed his shotgun like this.

Crimson Glory — I can’t think of nothing else then one of the characters from the awesome cartoon The Fairly OddParents. In the story there is a comic superhero called Crimson Chin, and if you don’t know it, yes, it is as funny as you think it is. But well, this is definitely a good name for a terrible superhero.

Informal Ivory —INFORMAL? So there is the formal one?

AuroMetalSaurus — Well, it really sounds like a villain of some weird Japanese cartoon. Something like a T-Rex with metal skill that turns gold when it gets too angry or something.

It looks like some colors were doomed by its creators. It is hard to think that purple mountain’s majesty (#9678B6) will ever be as important as a simple navy blue for example. Or who would think about making a full fashion collection based on Big Foot Feet (#E88E5A). I love colors, I truly do, and it’s kind of sad to think that those beauties may never have a chance to fall in public appreciation. You being a color lover or not, I hope I grew a little bit your awareness about the invisible world around us.

If you want to know more about the stories behind colors and the way humanity interact with them you can’t lose the opportunity to check out this article.

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