Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Colorful Blog

The above color is greenish.  Women will tell you it’s teal.

Years ago, while taking a class on magazine design, I worked on a group project to redesign a nonprofit organization's magazine.  The group consisted of two females and myself.  I was a wizard at Pagemaker and design techniques, but the two women had an eye for color schemes. So we made a pretty good team.  Occasionally I would throw out ideas about what I thought would be a good color, but they always outvoted me and chose something else. 

To be honest, I didn't mind as I was more focused on getting a good grade then worrying about petty fights. So as long as they trusted me with putting the whole thing together, I sure didn't mind their saying what some sidebar box should look like. It became really clear to me during this project the difference between men and women  on topics such as color.
 For example, they came in one day and said the masthead box should be "taupe." At first, I assumed this meant it should be some strange dimension or shape that I had never heard about.  When I inquired, they both laughed a little and I swear glanced quickly at each other and said "men" under their breaths. There was a loud air conditioner going off so maybe I imagined that.  Of course, it turned out to be a name of a color that is brownish-gray according to the dictionary (from the French word of mole, so mole colored). When they showed me the color, I pretty much said that. 

"Oh, an off shade of brown."

They just smiled to themselves and we continued working.  The difference is that us guys invariably will go the easy route on things like this and say something is just a straight color (brownish) while women will give it a specific name.
It may be because of how we have different ideas about what is important.  Women have a million shades of red for the lipstick they wear, most likely with a name for each. We guys will just say it's reddish.  Now something really important, such as the lineup of the 1968 World Series champion Detroit Tigers, well, that I still remember.

Let's see, Al Kaline was in right, Norm Cash at first, Bill Freehan behind the plate...well you get it. Men have different ideas of what is important and will be exacting in those areas, women have different priorities.
So if your wife tells you to go buy yourself a white shirt for work, you'll come back with one that she claims is actually "egg shell."  What concerned you was the price and neck size.
Another possibility for this difference might be because guys like simplification. We strive to simplify things in our lives and save our sweat for the more difficult endeavors.  For example, if your girlfriend says the color of her car is beige you'll go along with that because it simplifies your existence with her.  However, if she says the engine in that car is making funny noises, you will want to know the specific tone, vibration and location of that noise so you can figure out what needs to be fixed. 

Likewise, when we get dressed for an evening out, a woman will spend  an hour trying to make sure the shade of green in her blouse will work perfectly with the shade of gray she plans for her skirt.  We guys will just pick a shirt/pants combo we think will make us look even more manly. Simple.

Just as men and women have a difference in vision (as mentioned in an earlier blog), as well as the meaning of something, picking colors will continue to be something men and women never see as just black and white.

This color is "olive drab."  For some reason, I knew that one.