Designers vs. The Real World: Favorite color

30 August 2004


A Blue Perspective: Designers vs. The Real World: Favorite color

» Vote for your favorite color «

Designers like to get people to worship our superior aesthetic sensibilities; which is easy given the revolting taste in color, shape, font, layout and imagery that the average person possesses. However, there's never really been any quantifiable research done into this area that has allowed designers to scientifically prove their God-like abilities. Until now.

In the interests of popular science I would like to open the first (and possibly last) Designers vs. The Real World survey – a contest that pits Philippe Starck against John Smith in a test of aesthetic mettle. The objective? To see whether designers are really any different from man walking down a street. The prize? Indisputable bragging rights over whose eye really beholds the beauty.

This first survey uses your favorite color as a determinant. Undoubtedly, ill-informed individuals will like some putrid brown color, whereas real designers will go for a cool blue or pastel green. This survey also has the added benefit of answering a question I've pondered many a time – what's the best color in the world? (Blue of course, but I'm wondering whether everyone else knows that) So get voting, and to get a well balanced pool of sample data, let your design-impaired friends know – so they can pit their puny cones against the style elite.


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  1. 1/48

    Daniel Oliver commented on 30 August 2004 @ 08:13

    I tend to go through phases when it comes to my favorite colour. At the time of this comment I guess I would have to go for Orange. Quite an under used colour on the internet I think. I have recently designed a few bits and bobs with it and it has grown on me. So orange is my flavour of the week.

  2. 2/48

    sosa commented on 30 August 2004 @ 08:48

    this kinda scares me ... what if we are anything but elegant decorators so-called communication experts?

  3. 3/48

    patrick h. lauke commented on 30 August 2004 @ 10:07

    strangely enough, the colour wheel in the voting page doesn't seem to play well with either firefox or IE on windows, making the colour selection itself pretty hit and miss (mostly the latter). or is this an in-joke i'm missing?

  4. 4/48

    The Man in Blue commented on 30 August 2004 @ 10:10

    Nah, works fine if you don't scroll down ... I forgot to add the top of the page to the offset, fix it later.

  5. 5/48

    Noah A commented on 30 August 2004 @ 10:32

    The reasons many of our REAL favourite colors are not used on the web is because they CAN'T be used. We often see colors in print media, paints and other processes that can't be displayed using the 3 color RGB model. I'm a big fan of some bright oranges that simply can not be produced on a monitor properly. For a disgussion of this please visit
    "God bless the 6 color press." until something better comes along...

  6. 6/48

    The Man in Blue commented on 30 August 2004 @ 10:48


  7. 7/48

    webslinger commented on 30 August 2004 @ 11:43


  8. 8/48

    Kevin Navia commented on 30 August 2004 @ 13:23

    Hmm... more shades of blue for both sides.

  9. 9/48

    Andrew commented on 30 August 2004 @ 14:10

    C'mon now Cameron, that's not how you spell colour :p

    So far the results for the 'designers' contain some seriously wrong colours. Saw that one coming...

  10. 10/48

    The Man in Blue commented on 30 August 2004 @ 14:30

    Yeah, I had serious issues with spelling colour incorrectly, but figured that for searchability it's better :o[

  11. 11/48

    Lachlan Hardy commented on 30 August 2004 @ 15:20

    Well, I think everyone knows blue is the best. It always has been (even though my site is almost wholly green...)

    Good idea, Cameron

  12. 12/48

    Axel commented on 30 August 2004 @ 17:21

    The best colour?
    My favourite colour?

    I canít vote for one. It does not matter, how I turn the wheel around, looking at it with a designers eye, or just by personal taste.
    It always turns out as a combination, of at least two colours and the reason of their use.

    Sorry no Vote


  13. 13/48

    Rob Mientjes commented on 30 August 2004 @ 18:00

    I love orange too (you'd figure if you see my website), but blue is definitely my favourite.

  14. 14/48

    Gemini6Ice commented on 30 August 2004 @ 20:00

    I'm with Axel on this. I voted for (one of) my favorite colors, but I really do like almost all the colors out there. I think a better survey would give a sampling of color-combinations, with the user rating the combination from "disgusting" to "excellent."

    That would better show which sample group has what taste in color-coordination.

    A possible deeper level would have the user use the color wheel to create combinations and then receive a score based on how many people like it.

  15. 15/48

    Kay Smoljak commented on 30 August 2004 @ 23:00

    Wow... I'm flabbergasted. I was the only non-designer so far to pick the same orange that was winning (by quite a lot) on the designer side. The same orange as the floor tiles in my new ensuite :)

  16. 16/48

    Percept commented on 31 August 2004 @ 00:17

    I agree with Axel, it's impossible to pick just one colour -> no vote

  17. 17/48

    chuck commented on 31 August 2004 @ 00:17

    where's grey?

  18. 18/48

    Matt Heerema commented on 31 August 2004 @ 02:26

    Come on people! Black, white, and grey are not colors! :) Go orange.

  19. 19/48

    Robert commented on 31 August 2004 @ 03:31

    Maybe for me it's some sort of unconcious habit to dislike orange, coming from print design. Since it's typically such a difficult color to reproduce well, I've always steered clear of it. Only recently have I begun to see more use of orange (that doesn't include a nasty shade of brown) and appreciate it.

    Then again, orange is the polar opposite of blue. And blue is my color. So maybe that's why I don't like it. Yeah.

  20. 20/48

    Jon Plummer commented on 31 August 2004 @ 03:35

    Waitasec--I think you might be getting at exactly nothing here. Designers are supposed to design things that people will like, right? And designers are supposed to make things that are visually distinct one from another, to some meaningful extent, yeah? So you'd expect that a competent designer 1) may or may not have personal color preferences different from Joe Bag O'Donuts, and 2) their *working usage* of color might not align with those personal preferences, and since there really are few colors in western society that are universally acknowledged to be highly objectionable, chances are that 3) those objectionable colors will wind up last in both lists, excluding colors not chosen at all.

  21. 21/48

    Rob Mientjes commented on 31 August 2004 @ 08:41

    Robert, that's funny. Those are the two colours I love most. Maybe _because_ they are polar opposites, but at least it's funny to see this.

  22. 22/48

    Noah A commented on 31 August 2004 @ 08:52

    When there are enough results it would be interesting to map the precentages of selected colors onto a histogram to see if there are any trends.

  23. 23/48

    Butter commented on 31 August 2004 @ 09:41

    I have always liked black for it's simplicity in hex number. When I design a page, black is usually the default color I use, because it is just so prominent against a white background.

  24. 24/48

    M. commented on 31 August 2004 @ 14:18

    i'm with chuck: where's grey?

  25. 25/48

    Peter commented on 31 August 2004 @ 14:35

    #336699 rulez!

  26. 26/48

    Hans commented on 31 August 2004 @ 17:13

    pantone is an addiction.

    by the way, you don't pick colors on what you like, you pick the colors on solving a piece of the design problem.

    keep your swatches organized.


  27. 27/48

    giovanni commented on 31 August 2004 @ 19:52

    I want grey (and desaturated colors) too.

  28. 28/48

    Kim Siever commented on 1 September 2004 @ 02:31

    Hmmm...this seems fishy to me. I think Andrei at DxF took the poll under many different aliases. There's no way orange should be that high. ;-)

  29. 29/48

    hyperbole commented on 1 September 2004 @ 03:09

    I think Jon Plummer has a point that it is better to work with color combinations than a single color.

    My personal favorites are purple and yellow, yet I find that designs using yellow and blue are theones I find most attractive.

    Color has many different aspects to it including fads, influences from culture and age and psycological and mystical associations from our environement,

    Maybe designers "design things that people will like" because they are more average than other people. That is, a designers tastes fit the average of what people will like so well that they are the ones asked to do a design.

  30. 30/48

    Marty commented on 1 September 2004 @ 14:02

    I been orange for a long time. Been a staple in my personal site - though i stripped out a majority of it just recently and went white. Go figure. Logo's still orange.

    Kind of interesting to note that the colors seem to coincide with designers vs. normal. The difference i'm picking up is the designers are more diverse.

    I like blue well enough as a color - but i usually have extreme difficulty using it in design. Tend towards yellow's oranges and reds.

    Another fave - Fuschia and Neon/Snot Green - dunno - what does that say about me?

    Interesting idea here.

  31. 31/48

    Sonyl commented on 1 September 2004 @ 15:44

    Are we designers even ALLOWED to have a favorite color? :D

    You know you're talking to a graphic designer when they give you their favorite color in Pantone.

    You know you're talking to a web designer when they give you their favorite color in hex.

  32. 32/48

    Devin commented on 1 September 2004 @ 17:08

    Impressive Mr. Blue. Or should I call you Mr. adams. Great research, I just wish this could be more widely spread amongst non designers.


  33. 33/48

    John Serris commented on 1 September 2004 @ 22:45

    "Undoubtedly, ill-informed individuals will like some putrid brown color, whereas real designers will go for a cool blue"

    Crap... Those are the 2 primary colours on my site. What does that make me?

  34. 34/48

    Lea commented on 2 September 2004 @ 02:30

    I find it interesting that the top four colours are more or less the same in both categories. And it's interesting that both sides have chosen the darker colours as the "choice" colours.

  35. 35/48

    Handy commented on 2 September 2004 @ 19:51

    Mr. Orange meets Mr. Blue. Anyone seen Reservoir Dogs?

  36. 36/48

    Matt Whisenhunt commented on 3 September 2004 @ 09:30

    Are those MS Windows' blues that are near the top of both columns?

    I kinda voted for Windows 2000 default background myself. I'm a big fan.

  37. 37/48

    Andrew commented on 3 September 2004 @ 22:33


  38. 38/48

    Traveller commented on 3 September 2004 @ 22:55

    Uh...Dude, you need to fix the interface for this thing.It's not clear if what you're clicking isn't being overwritten when you scroll your mouse around.

    Anyway, nice vote.. ;D

  39. 39/48

    Bill commented on 4 September 2004 @ 00:27

    Daniel: if orange is your current favorite color you may (or may not) like this site i built years ago when at university: its all orange - though give it a break on compliance folks.

    Im not really an orange fan - but I had fun trying to make the color work for me.

    In general my favorite color is green.

  40. 40/48

    Horst commented on 4 September 2004 @ 06:03

    My favorite color: <a href="">brown</a>

  41. 41/48

    jamsa commented on 4 September 2004 @ 13:14

    Really now, this needs to be taken in context. People are viewing this on a screen. I have found it difficult to find two screens displaying the same colors acurately. Then, if you consider the ambient environment and the monitor settings, etc., etc., you have to ask, "Are we looking at the same thing here?"

    What I found valuable about this is to take it all at a very generalized level, disregarding subtleties and precision. And, it was interesting to note that pastels and lower saturation levels seemed to come in with lower scores.

    Nice project, though. Thanks for the work. I think this kind of stuff is one of the greater uses of the whirled why(d) WEB.

  42. 42/48

    Lina commented on 4 September 2004 @ 19:40


  43. 43/48

    eL33T!!!! commented on 11 September 2004 @ 07:02

    You sad, sad people! Every REAL designer knows that #847D69 is the best color EVER! All other colors wish they were as appealing as #847D69!

    Non-designers shouldn't even be included in this poll! Heck, what do THEY know?

    I can't waste anymore time with you web infants any more, I have to go hand-code a quadruple nested table using notepad.


  44. 44/48

    Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan commented on 15 September 2004 @ 12:16

    Shades and variations of blue are my fave...
    Although a lot of colors can't be shown right on the screen, you gotta work with what you have.

  45. 45/48

    Richard Rutter commented on 15 September 2004 @ 23:58

    "ill-informed individuals will like some putrid brown colour"

    Utter rot, Cameron.

    Brown, as any self respecting designer knows, is the new blue which was the grey. I think you'll find a point in case :-)

    The Man in Brown.

  46. 46/48

    Lorn commented on 17 September 2004 @ 07:58

    Incredible. The first four are identical... I selected the blue, orange was my second choice and... WOW!

  47. 47/48

    oudein commented on 30 September 2004 @ 00:35

    "There is no such thing as an ugly color, only ugly amounts of color."
    ~Rob Roy Kelly

  48. 48/48

    sarah commented on 10 February 2005 @ 08:32

    pink all the way

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