Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City is currently closed for renovations (re-opening in 2014) but they have just released an innovative way to search their collections —at least those that have been digitized thus far—by color!
The Cooper-Hewitt Labs blog announced this in a post called “B is for Beta.” In software, an “alpha” designation means it is barely ready to be released and “beta” means it is close to release. Obviously the Cooper-Hewitt folks want everyone to be crystal clear that this color seeking capability on their website is a work in progress and that the “…beta website is not a finished product but a bunch of little steps on the way to the larger brand redesign that is underway.” The post also fully explains how seeking by color works and we would recommend you take a peek at first before viewing the collection by color.
Here is what they say about this new method of browsing:
Color, or colour, is one of the attributes we’re interested in exploring for collection browsing. Bearing in mind that only a fraction of our collection currently has images, here’s a first pass.
Objects with images now have up to five representative colors attached to them. The colors have been selected by our robotic eye machines who scour each image in small chunks to create color averages. These have then been harvested and snapped to the grid of 117 different colors — derived from the CSS3 palette and naming conventions — below to make navigation a little easier.
Depending upon what you are designing the Cooper-Hewitt collections can be inspiring or spark derivations for your own product development. Check out the collection by color here.