Would you buy a couch in “piss yellow”? A car in “neon lavender”? Your answer has everything to do with whether or not you were born with a Y chromosome.
So says the interactive infographic above. Artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley got his hands on a massive color survey and turned it into a visualization of color names women and men spring for. The result? Women like a little metaphor: “coral,” “camel,” “dusty teal.” Men, on the other hand, go for the literal stuff: “blood,” “crap,” “mucus” (ie. anything in a Matthew Barney video).
How the chart works: The genders are divided by a horizontal axis, around which 2,000 colors are plotted. If a color name is in the northern hemisphere, ladies tend to use it. If it’s in the southern hemisphere, it’s usually used by dudes. If it’s smack dab in the middle, men and women use it equally.
The bigger the color, the more often it’s used; that’s “blue,” “red,” and “purple” in the middle there. To find out precisely how much women favor a color compared with men (and vice versa), you mouse over the circle.
But here’s where it gets interesting. Similar colors are grouped vertically. So looking at the chart, you can see that even though the colors might be the same, the name can vastly change whether men vs. women prefer it. Thus, 92% of women use “bright mint green,” but 76% of men use the much plainer (and more butch sounding) “cyan green.”
Below’s a screenshot of us hovering over “chartreuse” — a name used by women 71 percent of the time (29 percent for men).
Light pink, the Title IX of color names, apparently:
You could waste your entire lunch hour playing with this thing. And it opens up all sorts of interesting interpretations: To what extent can you bend the colors men and women like, simply by tinkering with names? And what does the study reveal about the different ways that men and women use language to describe the world around them?
At minimum, Von Worley’s infographic is something to keep in mind next time your go cushion shopping. And at least it explains why so many bachelor pads are the color of “shit green” (77 percent male).