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ColorADD is a sign code for aiding color blind people to recognise colors, developed by Portuguese graphic designer and professor at the University of Minho, Miguel Neiva.[1] It consists of geometric shapes representing colors and color combinations. The app won the accessibility category of the 2013 Vodafone Foundation Mobile For Good Europe Awards.[2][3]

Example ColorADD symbols for seven colors


The code signs and color combinations

The code is based on five base signs: two triangles (one angled upwards and the other angled downwards), one diagonal line, one solid square box and one empty square box representing black, white and the primary colors: red (magenta), blue (cyan), and yellow. Colors derived from other colors have the symbols of the combined colors, creating derivative colors (orange, green, purple and brown) and dark or white tones. Metalized colors like silver or gold are shown with a left parenthesis on the symbols.

Uses and recognitionsEdit

Application of coloradd code in traffic lights with color blindness

Since its creation, Coloradd has been applied in various services, mainly in Portugal:

  • Hospitals: on patient wristbands, pill bottles and path lines[4]
  • Schools: Viarco coloring pencils[5][6] and students' note books[6]
  • Transports: subway maps,[7][8] traffic lights and parking lots[9]
  • Accessibility: paint cans, groceries, postage services,[9] energy monitoring[10]

It was also recognised by Buenos Aires University and TEDx Oporto.

In September 2017, Mattel launched a colorblind-friendly version of Uno that utilizes ColorADD.[11]

Fees and usage restrictionsEdit

This system is not in public domain nor free licensed and it's copyrighted. Usage must be licensed by the for-profit private company Miguel Neiva & Associados - design gráfico, Lda.[12] and fees are not public. According to ColorADD "license fee is adjusted to the partner's profile".[12] There is a pro bono model only for schools and universities managed by the nonprofit NGO ColorADD.Social.[13]


  1. ^ "ColorAdd®, o código de cores para daltónicos" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Dyslexia and Breast Cancer Apps Amongst Winners at €200,000 Vodafone Foundation Mobile For Good Europe Awards, 06 December 2013". Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  3. ^ European Disability Forum. Mobile for Good Europe Awards: Application which enables colour-blind users to understand colours & information based on colours winds 30,000E award Archived 2014-05-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Health & hospitals
  5. ^ Viarco official website Archived 2013-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Education
  7. ^ Transport
  8. ^ Oporto metro
  9. ^ a b Accessibilities
  10. ^ Cloogy is the first technological equipment to integrate ColorADD February 27, 2013
  11. ^ After 46 Years, Mattel Redesigned Uno For Color-Blind People September 6, 2017
  12. ^ a b "ColourADD". Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  13. ^ Neiva, Miguel, ColorADD, Color Identification System: Co-Creating a more Colorful World for Colorblinds,, archived from the original on 2021-05-21, retrieved 2022-05-11

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit