I donít understand colors



Quick, when I say cornflower, what color do you think of?

And youíre right. Itís a blue.

Wait. Blue?

Yup. Cornflower is a blue. Which made absolutely no sense to me, but I donít think Iíll ever forget it now.

Terry was ordering some clothes recently. She decided that one item was something sheíd like in a couple of different colors. Cornflower was one of the choices.

Just so happened that of the items ordered, that one was delayed and shipped separately. I was the one that saw the e-mail notice about it. And, for whatever reasonóI have no defense here, just stating the factsóit immediately went into my head that something yellow was on the way.

Bit stunning when Terry opened the package a short time later.

The thing is, yellow or blue or whatever, colors are changing. Thereís very little room for green and red and blue. Instead, look for options closer to spring leaves, fire engine, and pool house.

And beyond that thing, the real thing is that marketing and advertising and more is changing. This isnít really about colors. Itís about simplicity. A delicate balance between creativity and connections. And all around the world, welcome to the overcomplicated delivery of simple concepts.

Now, look, I get it. There are about forty-five million shades of blue out there. And for forty-three million of them, itís easy to spot the differences. Once you wade through light, dark, royal and navy, itís fair to conclude that the obvious names are going to be exhausted early in the process.

Consider green for a moment. Letís look toward kelly, spring, pastel, jade, shamrock and emerald. Weíve all heard of kelly green, and the others are familiar, but can you place those six shades into some type of order in your head?

And how about chartreuse? Come on, weíre friends. You can admit it, you never knew if chartreuse was yellow or green. (And even if you want to be funny and say you do know, Iím willing to bet you didnít know that harlequin is a color in the same general neighborhood as chartreuse.)

But there are, literally, hundreds of shades of green out there. Hundreds. Plural. And, as noted with blue, green is not alone.

I could flash maroon and burgundy in front of you, and you could say either was maroonÖ or either was burgundyÖ and most of us would shrug our shoulders and agree. The idea that maroon is a red that draws on browns while burgundy has purples is lost on the majority.

Which is how Iím going to bring us back to the cornflower.

Cornflower is blue. The actual flower is blue. The name makes sense. This is not about corn.

A few years from now, I may forget about this discovery and find myself surprised when cornflower is brought back to my attention for some reason. And you know what? Thatís ok. Because youíve already forgotten what color harlequin is.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com