Classification by Colors (courtesy of the Famous Librarian)

I’ve been thinking of my friend Harriet, who called herself the Famous Librarian, over the last couple days. I’ve been struggling for some sort of notation on an enumerated classification or the foci within a faceted scheme that would allow interpolation of new classes or foci. I just can’t accept introducing rigidity by adding notation, when the hierarchy of concepts themselves — the meat in this meal — would accept new additions without much trouble. Doesn’t seem right.

Then I was reminded of Harriet’s fascination with color-coding as a directly perceived, intuitive way to indicate categories. She was more fond of the pastel shades than I (or anyone else, ever) was, but the concept seemed doable to pick up the hex codes for the colors as notation. They don’t look like sequential notation to the human eye, but they are, and a computer can parse them, which would be the point of the notation overall — right?

So this is what I came up with for an assignment. I chose these manually, using websafe colors vertically on the Photoshop color picker for the most encompassing foci and stepping horizontally across the color range from those for similar but more specific foci. In that way new foci could be interpolated within the proper ranges just by picking a color in between and grabbing its hex code. The variation in shades would be small if the list of foci were to get too long, as seen in the beverage column. But it’s still interpolation.

A real implementation would have to be more systematic in defining hex codes than my manual selections, but hex codes are determined in a standardized way to make that possible. One downside, however: This already looks like someone spilled a box of crayons, and I’m fairly sure that aesthetic tragedy would occur as a computer just stepped a few values to the left and down a few. Also, this took a pretty ridiculous amount of time, and I’m not too sure of the value added over more simple decimal notation that leaves spans to be filled in over time.






333333: Eating

FFFF66: Plates

CC0000: Appetizer

0000CC: Nonalcoholic

00CC00: Ceramic

666666: Drinking

CCCC00: Bowls

CD2020: Salad

3232CC: Water

009900: Metal

cccccc: Serving

999900: Glasses

CD3A3A: Soup

000099: Cocktails

006600: Wood


666600: Implements

CD5959: Bread

23239A: Martini

003300: Glass



990000: Main Course

49499B: Highball




991313: Asparagus

000066: Wine




9A2424: Fish

181867: Red wine




9A3737: Steak

2E2E68: White wine




9A4848: Gravy

424268: Champagne




9A5858: Pasta

000033: Digestifs




660000: Dessert

0D0D31: Port





161632: Grappa





222233: Cordial


Salad Plates 333333: FFFF66: CD2020:  : 00CC00
Martini Glasses 666666: 999900:  : 23239A: 003300
Forks 333333: 666600:  :  : 009900
Serving Platters cccccc: FFFF66: 990000:  : 00CC00