Designers vs. The Real World: Favourite colour results

16 September 2004


A Blue Perspective: Designers vs. The Real World: Favourite colour results

Note: Because I'm a popularity whore, this site will shortly be changing to "The Man in Orange".

Thank you all for voting in the first round of Designers vs. The Real World, and letting scientists around the globe glean valuable data on your favourite colour – 1,845 designers and 1,256 non-designers have voted as at 13 September, 2004.

A few people expressed their lack of surprise that orange got up as the most popular colour (first amongst designers with 5.4% of the votes, second amongst non-designers with 3.1%). Me? I didn't realise it was such a big hit. It's the complementary colour to blue, so that might mean something. What exactly, I'm not sure.

Much to my dismay, there's no startling difference between designers and non-, but real insight can only be gained by throwing everyone's votes into my Vote-a-Tron 5000 and seeing what comes out, so here's some interesting numbers for you to ponder: (chi-square adjusted for normal distribution across two standard means and three sigmas ... with boot strapping)

Breakdown by spectrum division

Designers The Real World
18.0% 16.9%
12.7% 9.3%
6.0% 6.3%
14.6% 13.8%
28.4% 27.0%
12.3% 18%
2.7% 3.7%
3.8% 3.3%
1.5% 1.7%

Breakdown by desaturated : saturated : dark

Designers The Real World
11.4% 13.7%
54.6% 54.1%
34.0% 32.2%

Colours that weren't picked

Designers The Real World
#00CC52 #00CC52
#00FF66 #00FF66
#40FF8C #40FF8C
#662900 #662900
#66FF40 #66FF40
#80FF80 #80FF80
#80FFE5 #80FFE5
#E580FF #E580FF
#FF8080 #FF8080
#FF80E5 #FF80E5
#FF9980 #FF9980


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  1. 1/18

    Ireney Berezniak commented on 16 September 2004 @ 05:01

    Hah hah ... the designer myth swirls down the toilet in a perfect clockwise fashion (counter-clockwise if you're in Australia and Great Britain) ... perfect


  2. 2/18

    Alex commented on 16 September 2004 @ 05:14

    IB is too right ... except that in GB the water still swirls in a clockwise fashion ;)

  3. 3/18

    Michel Fortin commented on 16 September 2004 @ 08:05

    Great, but you forgot to include error margin.

  4. 4/18

    Ireney Berezniak commented on 16 September 2004 @ 08:37

    No no, I was being sarcastic ... for British are a special bunch, much like the designers ...


  5. 5/18

    Nathan Kelly commented on 16 September 2004 @ 09:07

    So does this mean Designers are human too?

    BTW, I have never taken the time to see which way the water swirls!

  6. 6/18

    Rob Mientjes commented on 16 September 2004 @ 15:48

    I told ya!

    Okay, I didn't completely. But I always thought orange was a nice colour.

  7. 7/18

    Unearthed Ruminator commented on 16 September 2004 @ 21:51

    I used orange and blue for my redesigned software page ( ) - now if only I could figure out why Safari insists on changing the background image around the logo to be darker....

  8. 8/18

    Simon Jessey commented on 16 September 2004 @ 21:53

    I found it a little difficult to vote. I divide up the web creator world into different categories:

    1. Developers who wish they had design skills
    2. Designers who wish they had developer skills
    3. Lucky bastards who have both skills
    4. Unlucky bastards who have neither

    I consider myself to be in the first category, and but moving in the general direction of the third; however, the point I am making is that I would hope to be considered to be a "real world designer" - encompassing both your categories.

    Also, I am more interested in color groupings, rather than any one particular color. Both your site and mine have a blue theme, but mine is somewhat paler than yours. Instead of asking folks what their favorite musical note is, how about their favorite chord? It could work like this:

    Create a color wheel, and ask the designer/developer/whatever to select a 4-color combination (which I find is usually sufficient for a web design task) and submit the result. Obviously it is more complex, but it might be interesting to compare AdamsBlue to ZeldmanOrange.

    Of course, in the REAL real world, color is chosen by some dreary corporate focus group, and we don't have any choice in the matter at all. Sigh.

  9. 9/18

    The Man in Blue commented on 16 September 2004 @ 23:49

    The only problem with doing colour combinations is that you couldn't really do quantitative analysis on it -- with, say, 216 colours, there's 2,116,828,080 different combinations that someone could enter.

  10. 10/18

    Stefan Kremer commented on 17 September 2004 @ 17:57

    @ Unearthed Ruminator:

    it''s because Safari renders with ColorSync on by default. Up to now I didn't find something to switch it of. I struggle with that on a customer page as well :-(. Have a look at OmniWeb who uses the same rendering engine, but has the oppotunity to turn ColorSync on or off - see the difference?! I already made a bugreport (or feature request - as you like) to the Safari-Team.

    Best regards Stefan
    red@ktiv - die etwas andere WebAgentur
    *of course in orange ;-)*

  11. 11/18

    Unearthed Ruminator commented on 18 September 2004 @ 03:53

    Thanks for the info Stefan. I shall add my issue to the bug report pile.

  12. 12/18

    Carole Danforth commented on 18 September 2004 @ 14:15

    This is a beautiful site! Are we in Australia (all that talk about drains)? I just discovered it while looking for em info. And there's nothing much better in my book than a color survey. I did one in my small town high school and blue won hands down.
    Blue didn't do too well here though.

    Orange means everybody likes a Gemini (it's their zodiacal color). Actually astrologically they are reputed to be quite personable.

    BTW, I think 12 colors would have been better here. I can't think in 8s myself.
    (I voted for mid indigo).

  13. 13/18

    Carole Danforth commented on 18 September 2004 @ 14:20

    Well okay, I see it isn't 8--- it's black/white and 7 spectral. Still 12 divisions seems clearer to me.

  14. 14/18

    Unearthed Ruminator commented on 21 September 2004 @ 21:54


    As an FYI, a poster at the Apple forums suggested changing the file format to .gif (I was using a .png). I did so and the page loads fine now in Safari without the strange background distortion.

  15. 15/18

    Jens Ayton commented on 24 September 2004 @ 09:09

    Re Safari: if you embed a Colorsync profile in your PNG, it should render appropriately. Applications which don't allow you to do this generally embed a tag marking it as sRGB, which is gamma-adjusted darker on Macs (gamma=2.2, most screen ColorSync profiles are set to 1.8).

  16. 16/18

    Jason commented on 27 September 2004 @ 17:28

    Could orange's popularity might be due to the current "trend" in web design of blue and orange? You see it in a lot of places.

  17. 17/18

    Neus commented on 6 October 2004 @ 17:27

    Creo que los diseñadores tenemos una gama cromática muy reducida para lo que es nuestra profesión, ha ver sio espavilamos con esta encuesta.
    Pero como dicen sobre gustos colores

  18. 18/18

    Not commented on 19 November 2004 @ 02:07

    Professional designers make colour decisions in order to communicate an idea or feeling. Not because of personal taste.

  19. Leave your own comment

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