Have you ever heard of a color-blind designer?
Uhm.. Hi? Yep, that’s me.
But I’m not totally color blind, I have this partial Red-Green color blindness which is one of the more common ones. Being color blind doesn’t mean I cannot see at all; it means some hues and colors are very hard to distinguish when combined with another color or even itself.
It took me 20 years to realize and discover that I was partially color blind, because it eventually became noticeable when I started working. Especially while being in the design industry.
But how did I even manage to stay in the design industry being slightly color blind?
Accepting it as part of yourself
When I discovered I was color blind, I thought I had two choices: either I hide the fact and be afraid of it, or speak about it every time I met someone new. I realized I had a third choice, to just accept it for what it is. So now, if you’ll ask me then I’ll answer. That’s just it, I don’t wanna be extra dramatic about it.
I remember initially I used to memorize some of the hex code values just to stay aligned and make the color blindness less obvious. It was tough, especially while working on a certain project that required some color consistencies, but I managed. Now I recognize that it isn’t a big deal, I can just say I’m built different.
Seeing things from a different perspective
As a designer with partial color blindness, I became more mindful about the product users. I realized that there are could be others who struggle using things that I or other designers build. “A good design is inclusive and works for everyone in every situation.”
Instead of trusting colours alone, I put some effort into extending the reach of my design by using patterns and textures to emphasize the contrast between objects. Adding icons into some of the elements might be helpful too, just to give a bit more context on what message you’re trying to convey. And sometimes, you don’t have to break design conventions if you don’t have to. You’re designing for the clarity of your customers not to impress other designers or yourself.