Cédric Colas

Academic and personal website.

Colors of our World


The Red-Blue-Green color space is designed to represent colors on the web. [0, 0, 0] is black, [1, 1, 1] white, [1, 0, 0] pure red, etc. Turning up one of the dimension increases the luminance on the corresponding channel. Printers, on the other hand, work by mixing inks of 4 colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). In fact, there are many more ways to represent colors, all of which fall short of expressing the variety of colors humans can perceive.

The Hue-Chroma-Luminance (HCL) color space was specifically designed to better capture humans’ way of perceiving colors. In particular, it focuses on respecting perceptual distances between colors such that three equally-spaced colors in HCL space are perceived as equally distant by humans.

Interestingly, the HCL coordinate system is close to a spherical one. Hue could correspond to the longitude, the luminance to the latitude and the chroma to the altitude. Following this analogy, each place on Earth can be associated with a specific color in the HCL space. Just like each place has its own feel, each place has its own color.

Here are the colors of 11 places over the world.