Choosing colors

Choosing colors

I was going through some of my older experiments and I came upon this picture. It’s not much — just the visual interface for a simple computer graphic xylophone.

Yet as I looked at it, I remembered how much time and care I had taken in designing the colors. My general plan was to go completely around the rainbow from low C (the leftmost note) to high C (the rightmost note).

In between, I wanted each color to have precisely the right brightness and hue so that it would blend smoothly with the two keys next to it, and also so that each note was matched with an easily identifiable color.

I’ve done this for all of my projects, obsessively tweaking and re-tweaking colors, shapes, fonts and other design elements that were not strictly essential to the particular experiment. Or maybe all that time taken in obsessive care was, in fact, strictly essential.

Perhaps the very fact of putting loving care into something helps us to understand it better. After all, the more we love something, the more deeply we think about it.

Ken Perlin
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