Friday, November 22, 2013

Blue is the color of the sci-fi future

We have seen the future, and the future is mostly blue.

Or, put another way: in our representations of the future in science fiction movies, blue seems to be the dominant color of our interfaces with technology yet to come. And that is one of the many design lessons we can learn from sci-fi.

Designers and sci-fi aficionados Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff spent years compiling real-world lessons that designers can, should, and already do take from science fiction. Their 2012 book, Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons From Science Fiction is a comprehensive compendium of their findings.

To give you a sense of how exhaustive their research is in this field, take note that the lesson above—future screens are mostly blue—was determined empirically. Shedroff and Noessel catalogued virtually every interface from every sci-fi movie from 1968 through 2011 and determined an average color per year.

So why is blue the chosen color? Noessel posits that, because blue is so rare in nature (if you discount the sky and the ocean, which are arguably not blue) there’s something fundamentally mystical, unnatural, and inhuman about it.
--Roman Mars, 99% invisible, on our blue future