11 Reasons Why Things Are The Color They Are

The more you know! Through the Color Visualizer, Chip It!, and ColorSnap Color Selection Tools, Sherwin Williams can help you select and visualize color.

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1.

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What color would your skin turn based on your diet?

Flamingos are pink due to their diet, since all of their dietary intake consists of algae (blue algae) and crustaceans (shrimp) that contain a pigment known as carotenoids.

Enzymes in the flamingo's liver break down the carotenoids into pink pigment molecules that are then deposited in the animal’s feathers, bill, and legs.

2.

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It's not because of blue birds?

The light from the sun is scattered by the gases in the atmosphere. Blue light is scattered more than any other color since it travels as shorter, smaller waves. The sky seems red/orange/yellow at sunset since the greater angle of the sun allows light to pass through more atmosphere; therefore, it allows for more scattering into the red side of the spectrum.

3.

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Chlorophyll? More like BOREophyll.

The green pigment, chlorophyll, can be found in plant organelles known as chloroplasts. Important to the process of photosynthesis, chlorophyll absorbs the red and blue lights of the spectrum. Since it reflects green light, instead of absorbing it, plants appear green.

4.

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No, yell(ow)ing on the bus!

Funded by a $5,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Frank W. Cyr put together a conference at Teachers College in April 1939. The purpose of the conference was to establish the national school bus construction standards, which include the standard color of yellow for the school bus. The color was picked since the black lettering on that hue was easiest to see in the limited light of early morning and late afternoon.

5.

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I'm just tryin' to change the color on your mood ring.

The "stone" in a mood ring is composed of either hollow quartz or glass that is filled with thermotropic liquid crystals. Reacting to changes in temperature, the contained crystals twist. This twisting action changes the molecular structure of the crystals, which in turn changes what wavelengths of light are reflected and absorbed. With particular wavelengths corresponding to particular colors, mood rings change color due to the change of temperature.

6.

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STOP! That yellow and black is SO last season!

Originally, stop signs were yellow with black lettering. The official switch to red with white lettering occurred in 1954 with a revision to Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Reasoning was twofold: (1) stop was always associated with red with the railroads, and (2) there was finally production of a red reflective material that was durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions.

7.

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And we'll never be royals...

The initial purple dye originated in the ancient Phoenician trading city of Tyre, which is now Lebanon, from a mollusk native to the area. Since it took more than 9,000 of these mollusks to create one gram of dye, the price reflected its rarity and the difficult means to make it. At the time, only royalty were able to pay for such luxury.

8.

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Green dolla, dolla bills, y'all.

To stop counterfeiters in the mid-1800s, a variant green ink was developed which couldn’t be tampered without affecting the bill’s black ink. Once the American Bank Note Company began using this protective ink, they stuck with it, likely to keep things consistent.

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Yell out if you need a No. 2!

Since 1890, pencils have been painted yellow to convey luxury. There are two theories for this reasoning: (1) With the finest graphite coming from China and with China’s association of yellow to respect and royalty, American pencil manufacturers opted to use the color to communicate this linkage to regalness and China. (2) A Hungarian company painted pencils the color after a famous yellow diamond, Koh-i-Noor.

10.

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Carbs, carbs, oh glorious carbs!

The color of the bread tag refers to the day the bread was baked. Although there are exceptions to the rule, the standard key is as follows:

Blue: Monday

Green: Tuesday

Red: Thursday

White: Friday

Yellow: Saturday

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Before you say "I do," make sure you put on some blue.

The tradition of wearing something “old, new, borrowed, and blue” is inspired by a Victorian poem to bring good luck to the bride. The wearing of something blue is a symbol of consistency and fidelity. It actually has ties to a more historic tradition in ancient Israel, where brides would wear blue ribbons in their hair to symbolize this promise to their husband.

Color plays a role in your everyday life. Sherwin-Williams can help you choose your perfect color with their color selection tools. Visit Sherwin-Williams.com.