Have you ever considered what your design might look like through the eyes of a color blind person?
Unfortunately, not everyone can see all the beautiful colors the world has to offer.
In fact, color blindness “affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world.”
The most common form is red/green color blindness.
Although designing for the color blind may not be a universal requirement, it’s certainly something different to consider in your design process for print collateral.
Types to Consider
There are many different types of color blindness to consider when preparing printed materials.
People with protanopia see red, orange, and yellow much dimmer than they actually are.
Instead, those colors usually show as black or grey.
In addition, those with protanopia have difficulty seeing the difference in the colors blue, violet, lavender, and purple.
For those with deuteranopia, the colors red, yellow, and green all appear to be the same color.
But unlike protanopia, they experience the colors with full brightness.
As opposed to protanopia and deuteranopia, which are red/green color blind types, tritanopia is a blue/yellow type.
Those with tritanopia have difficulty differentiating between blue and green hues and sometimes yellow and red hues as well.
Tools to Consider
The good news is that there is an easy way to check whether your designs are viewer friendly for the color blind.
Photoshop actually allows you to simulate these experiences by using an option in your proof setup.
This tool can show you what your design looks like to the two types of color blindness that were mentioned above.
So once you’ve completed your design, you are able to view the project in protanopia or deuteranopia in case any adjustments may be needed.
Tips to Consider
Remember that it’s not so much differentiating one color from another, but distinguishing between shades and brightness levels of similar colors.
In other words, brightening the colors and staying away from mixing gradients of shades of a color could significantly improve how the design is viewed.
Using textures can also be helpful in case the colors aren’t distinguishable.
For example, using a striped texture for a section of a pie chart can help those that can’t distinguish the color see the difference just by the visual texture.
Lastly, when using something that is usually identified by its color like a stop sign, be sure to include text.
Though the design trend may be to keep the design simple and use color as a main source of identification, it ends up being a nightmare for those who are color blind.
So in case someone can’t distinguish the color, they’ll at least be able to read the words.
Keeping these few differences in mind on how color blind people view difference colors can help design print materials that are viewer friendly to everyone.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at often change.” – Wayne Dyer