Things appear coloured because colour corresponds with a property of light that is visible to the human eye. The visual experience of colour is associated with words such as red, blue, yellow, etc.

  • The experience of colour is a feature of human vision that depends first of all on the construction of our eyes and the wavelength, frequency and amplitude of visible light that strikes the retina at the back of each eye.
  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. It is the sensitivity of the eye to this small part of the electromagnetic spectrum that results in the perception of colour.
  • The colour an observer sees depends on the wavelengths of visible light emitted by a light source and on which of those wavelengths are reflected off an object.
  • Although a human observer can distinguish between many thousands of wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum our brains often produce the impression of bands of colour.