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Are Colors Disappearing?

Meredith Russell

Unless you’re colorblind, you’re probably used to seeing 10’s if not hundreds of colors each day. But there’s been a trend towards gray recently that has us questioning, are colors disappearing?

Colors featured in objects since 1800

Now I know that sounds a little dramatic, but take a look at the above chart. It shows the result of a study conducted by the Science Museum Group Collection. They examined over 7000 photographs of objects from 21 categories. Each item was assigned to a year group based on the earliest year associated with that object. Then they calculated the percentage of each color shown during that year. 

The biggest change is obviously the rise in gray. But it’s interesting that the decline is mainly in browns and yellows. The scientists surmised that this could be because of a change in materials - mainly moving away from wood and more towards plastics. 

The scientists do caution that this is a study conducted with specific selections of items and using images of those items so there could be differences in data if a more random selection of objects was made. They also made a large note at the end of the study indicating that objects categorized as “art” were not included in the study. 

Car Color Graph

However we see these trends in home decor choices, clothing choices, and even car colors. Take a look at this photo of the changes in car colors through the years. The above graph represents all cars produced globally. 

Clothing Color Graph

And this graph represents clothing color. I wasn’t able to find the source for this photo or what exactly was being measured, (a brand, global colors, etc) so take it how you want. 

Meredith in Pink Shirt

I know that I personally stick to grays and cool colors (pinks, blues, purples) because I tend to like them better than warmer browns, oranges, and yellows. Blue has by far been the most popular favorite color through the years. This is really interesting because blue is the least common color found in food and the rarest occurring natural color. 

So tell me what you think. Is grey taking over? Do you have any fun colors in your home? What is your favorite color?


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