(Ad)dressing Virality

By now, you have probably seen #TheDress, formed an opinion, gotten into a fight (or several) over it, learned more about color science than you probably ever wanted to know, and basically questioned your entire perception of the world in the span of twelve hours. Thanks, Tumblr.

If this is the first time you’ve been on the internet in a while, some background: Tumblr user swiked posted a picture of this hideous dress, asking her followers what colors they saw. Apparently there was a divide between her friends, some saying it’s blue and black, others saying it’s white and gold. I thought it was a joke at first, because it’s clearly blue and black (although the cheap satin finish on the black reflects the light in a way that gives it a bronze overtone), but when I voted in that Buzzfeed poll I was shocked to see the majority saw it as white and gold.

So what gives? Some people say it’s an optical illusion, some say it has to do with the rods and cones in your eyes, some people think we should be worrying about other things. But no matter the explanation, people are still seeing this dress differently.

Brands obviously, have capitalized on the virality of the article, trying to tie the controversy back to them, some painfully clever.

It got us thinking about how much we painstakingly choose brand colors, retouch images, get the lighting right on shoots…is it all worth it? Will people see something different regardless? We asked our Art Directors and Studio here, and there wasn’t a conclusive answer; some were team blue/black, others white/gold. Some saw both, which I can’t even deal with right now.

“You’d think after The Treachery of Images people would learn. You can’t trust your eyes.” says Studio Director Bryan Sears on the controversy. Maybe he’s right.

Our suggestion? Take this test  to determine how well you see color and then get back to us.