Disruptive Colour • Pedestrian Crossings

Disruptive Colour is a new colour strategy that can be harnessed to improve safety in a range of contexts.

This evidence-based Disruptive Colour strategy involves combining saturated, contrasting colours that attract attention with dynamic, diagonal pattern designs that visually convey a sense of movement.

In the urban environment, Disruptive Colour can act as a safety device because it attracts attention and enhances environmental visual literacy, thereby improving engagement in design and the built environment.

I designed the above Disruptive Colour zebra crossing as an alternative to typical black and white zebra pedestrian crossings.  Disruptive Colour pedestrian crossings have the capacity to attract attention due to their strong contrasting colours and design. Strong colour/contrast designs set against dark grey asphalt are likely to attract attention of  pedestrians as well as people walking whilst looking at their smartphones.

Disruptive Colour pedestrian crossing designs are to be proposed for Sydney Council and North Sydney Council for consideration as an alternative to existing pedestrian crossings in the busy pedestrian zones.

Highly durable Resene Paint is recommended with white stripes painted with Resene FX Nightlight, a waterborne glow in the dark paint.

Why is Disruptive Colour effective?

Human visual perception involves saccades, scanning movements that eye makes on a continuous basis during normal vision. Strong contrast and movement attract the attention of saccades through either direct or peripheral vision. Strong contrast can occur across three dimensions: contrast of hue, contrast of light-dark tonal value and contrast of saturation-achromatic hues. Disruptive Colour harnesses colour/contrast to attract attention and encourage engagement and in doing so, enhances environmental visual literacy for pedestrians.

Environmental visual literacy is an approach to design that harnesses the mechanics of human visual perception to improve product design and design of the built environment to ensure that key details are quickly and easily perceived and understood.

Christo Guelov – Alternative pedestrian crossing in Madrid, Spain

Visual media and conceptual artist Christo Guelov has created colourful, alternative pedestrian crossings in Madrid. The highly colourful pedestrian crossings not only add visual interest and variety in the urban environment but more importantly attract the attention of both pedestrians and drivers at crossing points.  To find out more about Christo Guelov and his ‘Funnycross’ project, go to his website.

Additional Disruptive Colour pedestrian crossings designs by © Zena O’Connor, Design Research Associates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *