I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Vol.3 2016.03.10 Kei ITO

Diversity in Color Perceptions and Color Universal Design

Human eyes have several kinds of cells that perceive light. Because different individuals have different sets of such cells, there are instances where some people have trouble distinguishing between colors or color names.

To help users navigate easily, different colors are used in signage in town or public transportation, on the screens of electronic devices, maps, diagrams in books or textbooks, etc. Color universal design takes care to ensure that everyone can easily perceive such differences among colors. Slight modification of colors or paying extra attention to designs can make a marked difference in how easily people can distinguish between colors.

Color universal design started in Japan about a decade ago. By raising various actual examples, I will explicate the diversity in how colors are perceived and color universal design that caters to the diversity.

Associate Professor at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, the University of Tokyo/Deputy Director General at the Color Universal Design Organization (an incorporated nonprofit organization) He was born in 1963 at Hyōgo prefecture. He graduated from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, the University of Tokyo and the Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo. Before working at his current position, he worked for Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz as a scholar and the National Institute for Basic Biology as an assistant. He himself is a person with extreme protanope. He is a pioneer of the color universal design which is the knowledge of neuroscience regarding color recognition applied to a barrier-free environment. He organized the specified nonprofit corporation the Color Universal Design Organization in 2004.

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