Ranking all of the Darkest Colors
BY GEORGE JI '23
What’s the darkest color you can think of? Blue? Think harder. Dark blue? I guess. If you want to go even further though, that’s when things get complicated. For one, what even makes a color light or dark to begin with?
Stunned, you pause for a moment to collect your thoughts. “It’s the different wavelengths of light something absorbs,” you say confidently.
I knew you would say that.
And in a way, it is true. Indeed, the colors we see are determined by which wavelengths are absorbed or reflected, and in general, the darkness of a color can be determined by how much light it absorbs, but it’s not always so simple. If you’ve been looking at colors as long as I have, you’ll notice that some colors on the spectrum appear naturally darker than others, having more to do with how light reaches the brain. The darkest color will reflect the least light, but really, it just needs to look that way.
What about gray? If you were looking for the darkest color, this is probably the first place you’d look. But you’re a fool. Still, it’s one of my personal favorites, though it could definitely afford to be more vibrant in its execution.
On the other hand, if I told you dark green was the darkest color right now, you’d probably believe me—and for good reason. Dark green has been observed to have a calming effect on the body, and its abundance in nature plays no small part in that. When I think of the color green, I think of my favorite sweater. You’ve probably seen me wear it a few times. It won’t be surprising to know then, that green appears pretty dark. But it’s not quite what we’re looking for.
One color you can’t help but hate, purple, is often associated with the ruling class. The google classroom for my chemistry class is purple, and in some cultures, it represents even death. The color is clearly evil. That being said though, purple is the darkest color. Guess I can end things here since we’ve fulfilled the purpose of the article and definitely just found the darkest color—BWAHAHA you should have seen your face! Hahahaha you looked so relieved! Oh man hahaha!
Take a second to look at the nearest blue object and shout out what it is. Odds are, it should take less than five seconds for me to hear you say it from my fourth period class. A Patagonia sweater, a colored pencil, the seat you’re sitting on: that’s how common dark blue is, and why not? Blue is, after all, the darkest color. If you know anything about the anatomy of the eye, you’ll know that colors are perceived through three types of receptors, called cones. Each person has red, blue, and green cones that receive certain wavelengths. In normal people, the cones that see blue happen to be the weakest, making it appear darker even at similar saturation levels. Unlike most people though, I can see all wavelengths of light (twenty-twenty). For me personally, the darkest color is more of an idea than anything.
Officially though, the darkest color is still blue. Join me next issue when I answer the next big question: what’s the lightest color?