Have you ever known anyone with color blindness? I have a relative who has this problem and I must admit I used to tease him when we were kids. I didn’t understand why he didn’t see colors the same way I did, I just thought he hadn’t learned his colors. Of course, I feel bad as an adult for the teasing, but now I understand more than I did back then. Although I do not suffer from color blindness, I realized that many of my typography projects had the potential to be viewed by people who do have this affliction. I had to find ways to be sure they could perceive my work as it was intended.
What is Color Blindness?
Color blind people do see colors; they do not usually see the world in shades of gray. Color blindness is the inability to distinguish certain colors, or the differences between colors. This is the result of a lack of color pigment in the cones of the retina of the eye. A person who is color blind may have trouble seeing red and green, or blue and purple. Depending on the severity of the color blindness, these colors may even look the same to a color blind individual. You do not get color blindness; you are born with it, and most likely inherited it. More men than woman are color blind and it is a fairly common occurrence – 1 in 12 for men and 1 in 20 for women. There is a very small group of people who suffer from red monochromacy or achromacy. This rare type of color blindness leads to seeing the world in gray and black because the cones in the retina do not work at all.