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Return to pentadigitalinc.com.

Penta Digital, Inc. July 16, 2008


An adroit mixture of everyday settings and extraordinary events.
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The world of business and finance gets skewered, as Bottom Liners tackles subjects such as foreign takeovers, office policies, getting a raise, and the fast-paced world of Wall Street.
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A wry look at the absurdities of everyday life.
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In today's complex world of family issues, Focus on the Family provides grounded, practical advice for those dealing with family problems.
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A whimsical, slice-of-life view into life's fool-hardy moments.
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News From
John McAuley
Idea of
the Week





Design with Color-Blind in Mind
A Message From John McAuley
The Way I See It

A Not So Trivial Pursuit

In 1979, two friends – Scott Abbott and Chris Haney – sat down to enjoy a game of Scrabble. As they unpacked the board, they discovered that some of the pieces were missing. Rather than look for another game to play, they decided they should try creating a board game of their own. Two years later, the duo introduced the first prototype of what would become Trivial Pursuit.

At the time they started working on Trivial Pursuit, neither Abbott nor Haney had any experience creating games. Abbott was a sports editor for the Canadian Press in Montreal, and Haney was a photo editor for the Montreal Gazette.

The game itself met initially with a tepid response. Abbott, Haney, and their business partners – Chris's brother, John Haney, and friend, Ed Werner – sank just about everything they had into its development. The quartet pushed hard to get it released and saw their dreams come true in 1983, when sales in both Canada and the United States topped the million mark. The following year proved even more successful, as Trivial Pursuit soon became a household name.

At the time, Trivial Pursuit was viewed as an overnight success. In truth that “night” had been long, hard, and fraught with anxiety. Here's the way I see it: Overnight successes seldom happen overnight. They typically take time and involve a fair amount of sacrifice, sweat, hard work, and tears.

At Penta Digital, we understand the work you've put into building your company or career, and we realize it certainly has been no trivial pursuit. So whether you're still struggling through the overnight – or enjoying the light of the dawning day – give us a call. We want to help you look good on paper.


John McAuley
Idea of the Week
Designing for Color-Blind Viewers

What does your design look like when viewed through the eyes of someone that's color blind? Not everyone can see all colors, but they do need to be able to recognize what different colors can mean on some signs, particularly safety signs and notification signs. While accommodating color blind viewers is not yet a universal requirement to assist those with this disability, many countries do require such an accommodation. This means there is a precedent for constructing design work in this way.

If you are asked to design something for color blind viewers, it can be done. Here are some ways you can approach it.

Consider the different types of color blindness when preparing printed materials for this segment of the population:

Protanopia

Red, orange, and yellow don't appear as brightly to these people. These colors may appear as black or gray to them. People with protanopia also have difficulty telling the difference between violet, blue, lavender, and purple.

Deuteranopia

People with deuteranopia cannot distinguish between red, yellow, and green. These colors all look the same to them. Unlike people with protanopia, however, they do not experience the colors appearing dimmer than they really are. They experience the full brightness of the colors they see.

If you're not color blind, how can you experience what color blind viewers will experience? Photoshop can simulate that experience with these two proofing commands:

View > Proof Setup > Color Blindness - Protanopia Type
View > Proof Setup > Color Blindness - Deuteranopia Type

These commands allow you to see the way designs will look to people with the two types of color blindness listed above. Once you know how a color blind person will actually see your design, you can use all of the other Photoshop tools at your disposal to adjust the design as needed. This will help you design documents and signs that are truly viewer friendly to color blind people.

The most important thing to remember is that for most people with colorblindness, it is not so much distinguishing one color from another that is the problem, as it is differentiating between shades and brightness levels of similar colors. You can do your colorblind viewers a tremendous favor by making colors bright and never mixing gradients of shades of a color on a document or sign.

Another helpful thing for colorblind viewers is having some kind of visual texture, especially on infographics. If you are creating a graphic chart, for example, and it uses different colors, try putting some light or dark bands across some of the bars or pie wedges on your graph. Even if your colorblind users can't distinguish the color, they will know what is what on the chart by the visual textures.

Finally, try to avoid using any signage that requires identification of something by color alone. This is a popular design trend that many people think makes things simpler, but it is a nightmare for colorblind viewers. Always include some kind of accompanying text, so if a colorblind person can't distinguish a color, they can always read the words.

Public signs are the most common types that need color distinction to convey messages, although some private signs may rely on this, as well. Keep the differences in mind on how color blind people view various colors, whether they can see those colors at all, and how those color perceptions will impact their ability to interpret the print. Use this knowledge to design the print appropriately, and your buyer will be satisfied.



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