I have a week of exciting posts to share coming up. And I’m starting with color graphs. Maybe I have a weird definition of exciting…
I’ve been doing a lot of work with different manufacturer color cards lately. I cut all mine up (physically pained me to do and best thing I’ve ever done) and after literally weeks of staring at color card swatches trying to find the perfect set of oranges, my brain started wandering and wondering.
Is there a brand that has more options for oranges than any other? How about pinks or blues or greens or taupes?
I’m done with the color card work I was doing, but my brain wouldn’t let go of the question. So I finally wrote a quick program that dissects the Illustrator swatch files I have on hand and color sorts them to show the distribution of colors.
It’s not perfect because the way we see color is not so straightforward. In fact, I learned some really interesting things about color by doing this. I knew that when you start darkening yellows, it looks green, but I didn’t know things like how sensitive our eyes really are to red and green. For instance, if you have an orange that’s below about 65-70% saturation, we interpret it as brown. Red on the other hand, above 10% saturation will read as pink. How crazy is that? (You can read more about saturation here (about halfway down) if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.)
Anyway, I made charts for American Made, Art Gallery Pure Elements, Free Spirit Designer Solids, Michael Miller Cotton Couture, Kona Cotton, Moda Bella Solids, and RJR Cotton Supreme Solids because those are the illustrator swatch files I had. These are only as accurate as the swatches are which is… well take it with a grain of salt.
I put the program up here. If I get more swatch files, I’ll add them to the program, so depending on when you see this, there might be more options at this link than are shown in this post.
I like to call this project “Dearth of Oranges.” But for the record, Kona, Freespirit and RJR is your best bet for those.