Hi-Viz Black

It used to be that bright colors really got you noticed. Fire engine were painted the imaginatively named fire engine red so that they’d stand out among the mob of black model-T Fords, and red haired girls stood out amid the blondes and brunettes.

These days, however, fire engines look muted and tasteful—you hardly even notice one in a crowd with the lights and sirens off. Sometime during the last 100 years, the world went from relatively natural, subdued hues—mellow greys, restful greens, placid blues—to super-bright colors like hot-to-the-touch neon pink, retina searing green, and tear inducing yellow.

So what do you do if you want to really stand out? Short of actually using radioactive paint or coating your car with xenon flash-bulbs, it doesn’t really seem possible to get any brighter. The latest patent secured by Ultimate Universal Technology Corporation (UUTC) takes things in the opposite direction. This patent is for a new color known as “Hi-Viz Black.” According to the patent application, “this color guaranteed to stand out even against the brightest and most colorful backgrounds.” UUTC is currently marketing Hi-Viz Black for use in the automotive industry and as a guaranteed-to-get-you-noticed hair-dye. According to Roger Brubaker, UUTC’s director of propaganda and marketing, “this new and exciting color will revolutionize the way in which we think about visibility, and dramatically improve safety on our roadways and in our homes.”

“Edinburgh tram accident, 29 August 2014 (2),” by Ninian Reid from Perth, Scotland. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Cropped.

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