Yesterday, I got a pull request from our designer. I'd been annotating colours for our style guide, and he had "corrected" my label from blue to green.

A screenshot of a pull request where my label for a blue background has been changed to green.
A screenshot of the background colour
It's blue! It's definitely blue! To me, at least.

Rewind to November last year, when I'd bought this lovely blue lampshade. Cennydd was insistent it was green. I was adamant it was blue.

Annoyingly, most of Twitter agreed with him. This, combined with the pull request, confirmed that I can't easily differentiate the two colours.

I know that the sky is blue, and that it's very different to the colour of the trees, but the place where I put a line in the hues inbetween and say "this is blue" and "this is green" is apparently very different to where other people would put it. But… is it really that unusual?

The way that Western cultures percieve and label their colours isn't the same everywhere. English is a language that has separate words for green and blue, but many languages do not have this distinction.

Take, for example, the Japanese word , which means blue and green. (The distinct word for green was only introduced relatively recently). Leaves (青葉) and lawns (青芝) are referred to as blue. Traffic lights sometimes have a blue light instead of a green light.

Old Meets New

Colour perception isn't the same for everyone, or every culture, which I find very reassuring. I guess I don't need that eye test after all.