Chromatophore -- Created 2020/07/27 -- Updated 2021/5/14
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:: The Chromatophore Writing System ::
Chromatophore is a color and symbol based writing system I developed after doing
research with manta rays and cuttle fish, both of which have chromatophore skin
The first version was not particularly efficient, but since color-based writing
systems didn't exist before this, I figured it didn't have to be particularly
efficient. Since then, I have made substantial improvements to the framework and it is
now highly efficient for communicating textual information at a ratio of about 2:1
when compared to standard text characters, making it about twice as efficient for
conveying information. Chromatophore may additionally be useful for testing stuff
if/when trying to communicate/signal with species that have chromatophore skin in the
future. There were potential problems with people who are color blind or color
insensitive in the original version of Chromatophore, but this was fixed by
alternating color selection from 50% saturation to 40% and 60%, by other tone and
value shifts, and by changing the color ranges being used.
Chromatophore works by stringing tabs of content called carriers together (shown
below), each of which has a head and body. Carriers are colored based on their
content root. The head dictates placement in the overall construction of the text,
and has a body inlaid with additional symbols for punctuation and grammatical or
Since I am using this for steganography projects as well, I am going to keep the exact
meaning of the symbols and their character mappings private for now. It would be
arbitrary to make your own set and map it however, and alternative symbolics or
mappings would serve as a form of obfuscation or light ciphering. So this is very
flexible and has no predetermined read-direction. It could also be strung together the
same way symbolics are in the Snarl
project, it doesn't really matter.
I am unaware of any other color-based writing system, making this a largely unexplored
space. There are lots of possibilities with how the combinations of color, head, body,
and potentially a tail, would interact. Because the color roots the rest of the
content in the carrier, you could map the colors on to logical operators or cipher
shifts to turn each carrier into its own uniquely ciphered strip of text.
The following was the first iteration of Chromatophore.