Colour of the day no. 21 – Undark

solid block of colour undark

Colour of the day no 21 - Undark

Undark was a trade name for luminous paint made from radioactive radium and zinc sulfide, produced by the U.S. Radium Corporation between 1917 and 1938. It was used primarily in watch dials. The people working in the industry who applied the radioactive paint became known as Radium Girls, because many of them became ill and some died from exposure to the radiation emitted by the paint. Undark was also available as a kit for general consumer use and marketed as glow-in-the-dark paint.

We’d love to know via the comments below what Undark reminds you of or makes you think about. We’re also running a weekly competition where people can re-name a colour. If you had to re-name this colour, what would you call it? There will be a weekly prize of a pot of paint containing the colour and labelled with your new name and a £10 Amazon voucher.

Colour of the day

Throughout the Brighton Festival a colour of the day will be displayed in Fabrica and on this blog. To help decide which colour to choose we asked Anne Wight who is a grapheme synaesthete. This is a form of synaesthesia in which an individual’s perception of numbers and letters is associated with an experience of colour.

Like all forms of synaesthesia, grapheme-colour synaesthesia is involuntary, consistent, and memorable and is one of the most common forms of synaesthesia. Generally, while it is extremely unlikely that any two synaesthetes will report the same colours for all letters and numbers, studies of large numbers of synaesthetes find that there are some commonalities across letters.

We have chosen colours/pigments/paints for each day loosely based the colours she sees for the dates of May’s Festival.


2 responses to “Colour of the day no. 21 – Undark

  1. Undark at first glance reminds me of a colour I always called ‘Institution Green’. It was that shade of green you only ever found in schools and hospitals (I never found out if it included prisons, thankfully). There is also a pink version, but it wasn’t as common a sight as the green one.
    ‘Glow in the dark’ was real big when I was a kid, I remember vividly holding bits of plastic pressed up against a lightbulb until my hand burned to get the most luminous effect I could.
    All in all, this colour is a very nostalgic one for me, so I might have to spend the day eating Frosties and watching Scooby-doo now.

  2. I can’t help but think of all the people who were physically affected by the radiation in this colour and how we constantly sacrifice wellbeing for profit and novelty. Perhaps this colour should be called Consumption Green with reference to our sick consumer habits and the 19th century name for TB. After the initial party the victim eventually fades away coughing and spluttering till death.

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