I was shopping for a new backpack this morning when I found a blue one I liked. It was just what I wanted - nice material, the right amount of pockets, wide shoulder straps. When I flipped it over to read the price tag, I noticed the color name next to the bar code. It read: overcast.
On seeing this, I took a quick look at the color names on other backpack styles. The red was something like, sanguine. The brown was simply, luggage. Black was midnight. The grey - dove - was more in the ballpark, but still, they couldn't just say "grey." Elsewhere in the department, blue, red, brown, and gray (and many other colors) were described in terms that had nothing to do with their appearance. THINK FAST - what color is sunset? Is it orange? Yellow? Bluish-purple?
It was as though someone took a thesaurus and used every synonym, except for the original color. And this phenomena continued - in not just other departments - but in other retailers, from bras to pants to expensive porcelain china. Nothing was taken at face value. It was as though the original Crayola 8-pack box had never even existed. "And there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to any of it," I thought as I carried my overcast backpack home. "Somebody needs to come up with some ground rules, so overly-creative color descriptions can have a little consistency."
So, with that in mind, may I suggest the following:
Traditional colors are best described in medical terms:
Softer traditional colors/pastels should be described with food:
Pink (light)...lunch meat
Colors whose names also describe the "thing" that inspired them should be renamed in vague, confusing, completely-unrelated abstracts:
If we all agree to follow a few basic color-name rules, all of our lives will be a lot less philodendron xanadu.
(I'm using plant names in place of adjectives, btw.)