May 25, 2010

XKCD Color Name Maps

All of the colors named in XKCD's list of color names:

Here's a new projection, with light intensity on the X axis, and saturation (distance from the nearest grey) on the Y axis:

Black is in the bottom-left corner (though it can't be seen against the background), and white is in the bottom-right, with the greys running along the bottom edge. Colors with different hues but the same intensity and saturation end up at the same location, so the other six corners of the RGB color cube overlap at two places along the top edge.

Compare to the X11 color names:

There are a bunch of colors one-on-top-of-the-other in the second image, but it's obvious the color space isn't nearly as well covered, especially among the dark colors. Also, it's clear several groups of colors were artificially generated, most likely by increasing the non-maximum RGB values, moving a saturated color towards a white or grey while increasing the intensity.

Here are the top 100 XKCD color names (ranked by number of survey participants who gave the exact name at least once), labelled. Click to view full sized.


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