color-coded communication

by yoshi kawai and janice rumbaugh

Chromatic iconography is a short distance, low technology communication system utilizing a standardized display of singular or multiple color-coded blocks. We arbitrarily assigned each of 10 hues into 4 pattern groupings of 1 to 2 colors, whereby creating 30 non-repetitive, high contrast, chromatic units. The system allows for future additions to the groupings and to the registry of arbitrary hues. The restrictions of the system involve daylight use and preferential color choices to assist with diminished sight impairment and congenital color deficiencies. In transmissions, we achieved accurate communication as a result of large, vivid, graphic-style blocks and binoculars. Under timed evaluation, we encountered sending simultaneous signals to each other which confused our communication process. In choosing our iconographic system, we sought to incorporate some of the international traffic sign conventions of color as well as culturally specific associations for color representing emotions--yellow warning signs or, "I am feeling very blue today." However, we did not want to be restricted to conventions and considered arbitrary, whimsical, and aesthetic definitions for the chromatic signals.