Monthly Archives: September 2017

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite color?

Studies as early as 1941 indicated that bluish hues were the most preferred; just this summer, the world’s favorite color was declared to be a shade of blue/green based on a 30,000-person survey canvassing 100 countries.[1]  Color preference is not limited to a particular geography or gender.

Blue was determined to be the most popular color for Art 2 students who took an informal color survey on the first day of school. “It is not surprising that our results from my three classes fall in line with the preferences from the rest of the world,” said Art 2 teacher Mrs Schilling.

Researchers contend that a person’s preference for a color is determined by how much a person likes the objects associated with that color.[2]  All of the things associated with blue are mostly positive.

Blue is associated with the sky and water, as well as ballpoint pens and blue jeans, raising the average preference for blue higher than the remainder of the rainbow. Clear sky and clean water are things we all experience universally.

Color preferences can vary depending on the time of year, tied to the changing of the seasons. Typically, the colors of autumn—golden yellows, browns, dark reds—are the least-liked on the color wheel. However surveys conducted in the fall reveal an increased preference for these dark, warm shades, when participants most closely associate them with festive things like hayrides and pumpkin patches.



[1] Conducted by Hull 2017 UK City of Culture and paper merchant GF Smith, the survey was invited people to select their favorite shade a online by hovering over an infinite palette of shades with their mouse until they landed on the color they found most appealing.

[2] According to research conducted by psychologists Stephen E. Palmer and Karen Schloss at University of Wisconsin-Madison.



The Little-Known Reason Pencils Are Yellow by Gabrielle Hick

The Little-Known Reason Pencils Are Yellow by Gabrielle Hick

In 1889 a Czech manufacturing company named Hardtmuth introduced a “luxury pencil” that was painted yellow.Prior to 1889, the highest-quality pencils were left “natural polished.” Manufacturers usually painted their pencils if they were looking to cover up imperfections in the wood. Accordingly, typical paint colors were dark: purple, red, maroon, or black.

“For a long time the best graphite came from England,” explained Duke University professor Henry Petroski, author of The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. The very first graphite deposit was discovered in Borrowdale, England, in 1564, centuries before yellow pencils arrived on the scene. Although the British supply of graphite eventually ran out, soon “a new and superior source was found in Siberia.”

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom. Hardtmuth settled on yellow to communicate the graphite’s geographical origins, while also linking its product to the long-held Chinese associations of royalty, and therefore superiority.

Although Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth was the first to produce yellow pencils, Faber and Dixon Ticonderoga followed close behind. (The latter is now responsible for the ubiquitous HB 2 pencil required for standardized tests.)

An oft-repeated bit of pencil lore tells of an experiment conducted by Faber in the middle of the 20th century. The company distributed 1,000 pencils—half yellow, half green—to a test group. While both sets of pencils were identical apart from their color, the green pencils were returned en masse with complaints about their shoddy quality.