1,750 Color Names
ArtyClick Color Shades and Names Dictionary is a collection of over 1,750 color names. It contains data from multiple sources, processed such that each color listed in the dictionary is distinct, and the dictionary is comprehensive for finding a close match for most colors.
The presented color space is split into 8 color groups: red, orange, yellow, green, aqua (or cyan), blue, purple, and magenta (pink). In each group, there are 4 categories related to color brightness and saturation: vivid (light), vivid dark, pastel and pale (pastel) dark. Vivid colors are of high saturation and brightness, and dark vivid colors are of low brightness. Pastel colors are of low saturation and high brightness, and dark pale colors are of low saturation and brightness.
In the ArtyClick dictionary, each color is provided with its respective
Shades (adding black), tints (adding white), and tones (varying saturation by adding or subtracting grey). There are also recommendations on color combinations provided by an ArtyClick algorithm. Finally, similar colors are listed to encourage further color explorations.
There are 24 basic colors defined in the ArtyClick dictionary - they are delineated by the prefix "ArtyClick".
Color Space and Color Names
Our eyes can distinguish up to 10 million colors. This amount of distinct entities makes it virtually impossible to name and remember all of them. To enable color description, colors have been grouped into entities, most commonly eleven: red, pink, orange, brown, yellow, green, blue, purple, grey, white, and black. These are also the words commonly used to communicate colors. Artists and designers have richer vocabularies and employ between 50 and 100 titles, extending the basic list of names with terms such as turquoise, cobalt blue, or cadmium yellow.
Comparing the number of color names commonly used and the number of colors we can distinguish, it strikes there is a vast undefined space. This, combined with the absence of absolute reference points, often leads to misinterpretations.
Reference points are essential, but not trivial to set in the color theory. One way is to define pigments associated with particular chemical substances, which are linked to specific reflection spectra (for example Prussian blue or cadmium red). Nonetheless, even if there were enough pigments to cover the whole color space, that might have been not be very practical. Since color perception is partially subjective, each person would have to have seen the actual chemical pigments to interpret the respective color accordingly. This is why it is practical to name colors after objects (for example tomato, aubergine, lemon, orange, gold, or silver).
Interestingly, it is much easier for us to communicate and describe warm colors (red, orange, yellow) as compared to cool colors (green, blue). A plausible explanation is that cool colors usually constitute the background (blue sky, green grass, blue water) and warm colors naturally appear as objects.
Colors and Associations
Research has repeatedly shown that colors matter a great deal as they evoke associations and may trigger strong emotions. Most colors are in fact named after objects, for example, lemon, coral, bronze, zircon, lavender, or malachite. For instance, just a look at the lemon-colored swatch may trigger a sour taste.
Such association can be very sensitive to slight color variations. For example, it is widely accepted that red is associated with passion and love. But it is also linked to power, danger, and war. And what draws the line between these two states are the subtle variations in saturation and brightness of the color, combined with surrounding colors complementing the scene. For instance, a red and pink composition has a completely different character than a red and black one. In absence of other colors, warmer and lighter reds are linked to softer characteristics than darker and saturated reds.
Concluding, working with colors, in particular in an attempt to evoke associations, is a delicate procedure. And the ArtyClick Color Shades and Names Dictionary is a great companion in such endeavors.