Red is a primary color, one of three. Coloratus in Latin means "colored" but also means red. It is a primordial color, despite being commonly found in flowers. The color of blood.

So it is curious that as The Animation Works tweeted yesterday, if you type in the kid-with-a-calculator style spelling of "b1000d" with the extra zero for the hexcode format, you get a bright red color.


Tweets started by The Animation Works, myself (@FlyingTrilobite) and Scientific American's Design Director, Michael Mrak.

Click this image to go to to type your own in and try it.

Yet my searching for this origin has turned up fruitless. My Google-fu has failed me. In a system where #000000 is black and #ffffff is white, is #b1000d just a coincidence? With all the possible combinations of 6 letters and numbers that could look like words, is it just a statistical probability one of them would describe a color? Wouldn't a blood-color be slightly darker?

It doesn't add up. Here's a partial list on WikiHow, and very few of them have a corresponding color. This feels built in to the system.

Hexcode #b1000d


Note: throughout this post it was incredibly hard for me to remain consistent on the American spelling "color". Uuuugh.