The Dress: How Colorblind People See It

PHOTO: A photo of a dress posted to Tumblr and retoned with Photoshop is seen in its original state, center, lightened on the left, and darkened on the right.Playswiked.tumblr.com
WATCH Dress Designer Weighs in on Color of The Dress

Colorblind people are having their day on the Internet now that their friends and family can spend a minute in their shoes.

Carlos Boettcher, a producer with ABC News, is colorblind, especially seeing blurred shades between green with red and blue with purple.

“I didn’t understand why people cared about the dress. I guess if people are so split on the color, it makes sense,” he said. “People normally agree on color. I’m normally the person who doesn’t know what color it is.”

Everyone is talking about that black and blue dress that many see as gold and white. But those in the colorblind community see it differently.

When Boettcher saw three side-by-side images of the dress, he said he couldn’t see gold in any of the images, but he clearly saw blue and black in the last image:

Pink is a common answer among the colorblind community, according to Kathryn Albany-Ward, founder of "Colour Blind Awareness" in the U.K.

And variations of gray are also popular responses, Albany-Ward said.

"Many said 'pink and brown' or 'pink and a dark color,'" Albany-Ward said. "They are not actually seeing pink, but they think they are. Many people see dark pink when we see blue. But they're not sure if they're seeing blue or pink. They think it should be pink, or they expect us to think it's pink."

It turns out colorblindness is more common among men. About one in 12 men are colorblind, while men are 20 times more likely to be colorblind than a woman, according to Colour Blind Awareness.

Albany-Ward said she's been surprised by the reaction from the "color-normal" community.

"That's what struck me most about this whole thing taking off. 'Color-normal' people don't realize the feeling they're getting of not being able to see the same color as other people and they're unsure of themselves. Colorblind people know they're at a disadvantage the whole time. People who have normal color vision do not like it when they don't see it as anyone else."

The number of colorblind people in the world is about the size of the U.S. population, which is about 320 million, estimates Albany-Ward's group.

Albany-Ward said she started the organization originally to promote colorblind awareness in schools so children can receive appropriate support. Now her organization works with businesses to be "colorblind compliant" for their customers.

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