Apple's Blue Period

Today's post is all about the color Blue.

Picasso famously had a blue period, a span of about three years when his paintings were composed of only blue/teal colors. 

Blue has also been a big player in the science fiction scene for a long time. Think about it: lightsabers, warp engines, and those billion dollar smurfs, just to name a few.

Many studies also indicate that blue is people's favorite color. Here is one such study, though I would like to see this probed in some indirect way (e.g. car color, clothes, etc). I'm sure deep study has been done on color-association psychology... if you have a good reference let me know in the comments!

The technology and design powerhouse, Apple, has apparently been reading these studies. I noticed the other day that nearly every app on my iPhone has a blue icon... 

An entire page of blue icons
Obviously I've rearranged the icons to fill the page with only blue, but I'd wager everyone has most of these apps too. This result paints a picture of how iOS developer logic works:
  1. Let's make an app
  2. We need a developer for objective  C
  3. We need an icon
  4. Let's hire my nephew
  5. Make it blue!
Amusing, but hardly worthy of a place on this lofty website. We need data!

For data on Apple and the color blue, I turned to the eternally fascinating Google Ngram Viewer. Here is the Ngram for "apple,blue"

100 year Ngram for "apple,blue" from corpus English with a smoothing of 1.
The scale makes the two curves difficult to compare, blue is used ~8 times more frequently than apple, but there appeared to be some correlation between the two. Since I don't know of a way to scrape the Ngram data from the website, I decided to just make two separate figures. The results are nothing short of incredible...

100 year Ngram for "blue".

100 year Ngram for "apple".
Talk about correlation!!!! These two curves damn near trace each other perfectly. I'd love to cross correlate the data to show you the degree of similarity, but you'll have to just blink back/forth between them instead.

I'm not saying these two are related in anyway, or that my iPhone icons know anything about the past 100years of the word frequency of "blue". But I've heard conspiracy speculation based on far less evidence than this, not to mention a whole bag of crazy (see for example Donald Trump).


  1. Are you serious? Compare the Ngrams for blue and red, or any other common words. They all have the same pattern.

    1. No, of course I'm not serious. Humor, dear fellow.

    2. I've updated the post tags to include "Humor" so this is clear.


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