PSFK Talks To Miguel Neiva of ColorAdd

PSFK Talks To Miguel Neiva of ColorAdd
Arts & Culture

ColorAdd Color Identification System, designer Miguel Neiva has developed a system of monochromatic icons that symbolize a range of colors for the colorblind.

Kyle Studstill
  • 28 january 2010

ColorAdd Color Identification System, designer Miguel Neiva has developed a system of monochromatic icons that symbolize a range of colors for the colorblind. The system establishes a code from simple icons that represent red, blue, yellow, white and black;  secondary hues and other colors are denoted by the appropriate combination of these base elements.

What projects or ideas are currently inspiring your work?

As a designer and when you live design with passion (as I do!) when we finish a project we are already thinking of many others. This is not a 9am to 5pm activity, reason why I am already thinking of many other projects to carry out.

However, this ColorAdd® project – single, transversal, intangible, because of its global dimension and unquestionable contribution represented for the INCLUSION, at this point is my big challenge… To be capable of implementing it worldwide.

I have many ideas bubbling in my head and I am available to participate in many more. The fact of developing a design project aimed to the “global society” and with the “power of inclusion,” has created in me the desire to get involved in other projects of this scope. Definitely the “design” – as I see and live it, has as a mission to contribute to a better life quality in a transversal way, not only on the visual / aesthetic aspect but also in its methodological, conceptual and, why not, “inclusive” role.

What has been the most interesting application of ColorAdd? Have there been any surprising reactions?

Being this project of a transversal application to all areas, I believe that, at this stage of implementation at global level, the transports, health and education sectors are the privileged ones, which I consider to have increased responsibilities, not only by the proximity they have with the population with the argument of “inclusion” and “social responsibility. These three areas are helping to elevate this concept with very interesting results. In addition to these, we have the textiles and clothing, stationary, IT departments, food, etc, etc, etc, where colour has been given an increasing role and where it is an identification element.

“Half a surprise” was unquestionably the way this project for the inclusion was received by the Global Community. Colour-blindness was seen as something to which great importance was not given. This project turned the community more sensible to this issue … and not only for those who have to wear visible “accessories” to allow inclusion ( for example, a stick for the blind or a wheelchair for the motor-disabled).

Being my goal to provide the colour-blind with a tool that can assist them in identifying colours whenever colour is a determining factor in decision-making, without depending on third parties and without the psychological constraint of uncertainty, feeling the positive return from anonymous colour-blind who freely expressed their opinion, messages of support and appreciation is very rewarding. After the research I carried out, I concluded that nothing had been done to ease the constraints of the colour-blind.

The study / questionnaire that I developed with the colour-blind showed extremely clear information as to the “need” of this tool … if you consider that 90% of colour-blind needs help to buy clothes, more than 40% have already felt difficulties in social integration, almost 50 % felt the embarrassment of the combination of the clothes chosen not being the best … that even being named, at least 50% of the “Metro” users count on colour as an identification factor … that in hospitals, not only the orientation inside the buildings, but also the screening in the emergency room is made solely by the colour …. gives you an idea of the psychological discomfort that it will not be a wrong interpretation of colours …. Among many other examples and data collected in this study.

It’s amazing, extremely motivating and rewarding to read hundreds of articles, blogs spread by the media and the net. E-mails I receive on a daily basis, congratulating me on the effectiveness of the project and on the contribution that it will bring to improve the quality of life of the colour-blind. Including individuals, companies and entities willing to act as the “first” to participate on its use and disclosure. I can inform that are already in course and well advanced negotiations with “companies” that we consider to be the right partners in specific sectorial areas and who want to adopt the ColorAdd® system.

I presented this project to the 11th World Congress of Colour. I had the need for the recognition of the scientific community that dedicates exclusively to the study of Colour. It was very interesting and positive to this project have the “accreditation” and the recognition of the value of this code, given by the gurus of colour, from all over the world. After that, I believe that nothing can stop this project.
To all this, it adds the fact that this is a design project, developed … NOT for designers but for society in general … A contribution to the inclusion … and this is very rewarding.

What is something you look forward to being able to do in the future with color and emerging technologies?

As to the use of the emerging technologies, in relation with colour and the ColorAdd® project, I consider the combination perfect, useful and effective. Emerging technologies are the election tools of the new generations, colour is an increasing factor of universal communication and the ColorAdd® allows to “include” all of those who, because of the constraint of not being able to correctly identify colours, feel limited.

Thanks Miguel!


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