20 August 2020

What's in a name?

A weird admin question for you all today, because we were divided in opinion on it so I asked this on Twitter, but everyone was really divided in opinion!

UPDATE: the poll is now closed, see the results

We are trying to simplify our naming of colours as currently it's complex: where a colour has different names between The LEGO Group (TLG) and BrickLink (BL) naming systems, we give both the TLG and the BL name e.g. "Brick Yellow/ Tan". This looks very clumsy and can confuse some readers more than it educates them! Especially when it comes to the likes of Transparent Medium Reddish Violet with Opalescence/ Satin Trans-Dark Pink.

We will also update the site with a new design (soon!?!). We've found a solution where every colour name automatically becomes a link, and when you hover over it (or tap on mobile) it will display more info as a tooltip. So we can display one colour name on the page and the other in the tooltip (along with a colour swatch) as a reference.

Our question is, which should we display on the page by default? TLG or BL?

Consider these salient points about each:
  • Although TLG is 'official', those names aren't actually used within TLG! They use the Color ID numbers instead, the crazy kids.
  • We are a site for builders and most builders use BL. But might it be good to use this opportunity to learn TLG names perhaps?
  • BL names are shorter, and usually more intuitive.
  • Several of the rarer old colours are wrong on BL; for example they don't consistently correspond to a single TLG colour. To get around that we would need to make exceptions in those (rare) articles when we discuss rare old colours and use TLG instead.
  • BL sometimes change their colour names, like the recent nougats switch. TLG would probably never change the name, unless there was a literal change to the colour itself anyway.
  • Some people are worried TLG will force BL to start using the TLG colour names but we doubt this would happen given no one at TLG uses them! Plus the work involved of fixing the ones that don't match.


Help New Elementary keep publishing articles like this. Become a Patron!

Massive thanks go to our 'Vibrant Coral' patrons: Iain Adams, Baixo LMmodels, Andy Price, Anthony Wright, Geppy, Chris Cook, London AFOLs, Gerald Lasser, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Huw Millington, Neil Crosby, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Sue Ann Barber & Trevor Clark, and Kevin Gascoigne. You're awesome!

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon USA: Amazon.com Canada: Amazon.ca UK: Amazon.co.uk Deutschland: Amazon.de

Search New Elementary


All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.

29 comments:

  1. I say keep them the same! As a child of the 90s I find the array of colours overwhelming now and the more information I have the better! I was building the modular Bookshop and I couldn't tell if the nougat 1x1s were discoloured or dark tan and I'd mixed one up!

    Does bricklink or Lego distinguish between old and new transparent plastic? I'd love a distinction there since the new one is so inferior.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, neither of them distinguish :( Bit of a can of worms I guess, would not be pleasant for BL sellers to have to distinguish. We just have to suck it up.

      Delete
  2. Could you default it to one of them but let the viewer have a preferences setting that let's them choose what they'd like to see?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second this. I didn't think of it but it is a great idea

      Delete
    2. Thirded. This has to be something that could be done via scripting.

      Delete
  3. I'm not sure the practical use of knowing TLG's name of a colour, so I'm in the Bricklink camp.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like Ben Rogers' idea of selectable preferences. I find BL color names more helpful in everyday use, including interaction with other AFOLs. However, there is at least one place TLG uses their actual color names: Bricks & Pieces. Click on an element in your search results and you get a pop-up detail window which includes "color" a.k.a. color family and a "description" which corresponds to the TLG color name. Online Pick-a-Brick may use them as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a heavy user of Bricklink's Stud.io, I am advocating for their colors. However, you could use layman's names for some colors (e.g. everyone will know what "opalescent pink" is).

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's just so confusing. BrickOwl uses a mix between TLG and BL names, Rebrickable follows BL mostly but also some names are different.

    And what if BL starts forcing TLG naming? That would clear it up in the long run, but it would just cause total chaos on the short term.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm fine with leaving things as they are given that other fan sites aren't standardized either. Keeping a reminder of the equivalences between TLG and BL names right in front of my face as I'm reading is useful when I'm also popping between Bricks &Pieces, BrickOwl, BrickLink and others.

    As new colors are introduced, TLG will probably force a convergence so new incompatibilities aren't introduced ("Earth Aqua v. New Dark Aqua v. Darkaqua") but for legacy colors, I find it more helpful than awkward to know both historic names up front.

    I'd still be okay with hot linking the labels though. It might be nice to have every color catalogued and reference linked so one could get a popup of the official name, its AFOL aliases, the RGB (or RGBA in the case of transparent parts) values, its official color code, and small swatch without having to pop-over to a separate reference site to look it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the finest traditions of Dark Bley, why not "Vibraqua" isn't that the intuitively obvious name so we all know exactly what shade we're talking about? It's the color you didn't know you needed, but now can't do without (assuming you're designing a really hip bathroom, circa 1969, because you need a groovy contrast with the neon orange wall tiles and lime green tub)
      ;->

      Delete
  8. I must say that I would prefer you continue using both names, but I won't mind whatever you decide :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. This is what happens the moment your back is turned ;)

      Delete
  10. I think either way it goes, the hover tooltip will make everyone happy. I'm also looking forward to that redesign - kudos to whoever is making that happen!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Personally I would prefer it stay the same... both because I know I'm in a bit of a minority in preferring the TLG names and because I don't want to have to redo my currently in-progress reviews. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lolz. I won't be asking people to amend, and I might not bring this in until the new site is done. I won't be amending historical posts either (but the tooltip thing will pick up whichever names we go with and automatically add the links).

      Delete
  12. LDD uses the official LEGO color names so I know those better, if you have to pick one I'd prefer those even though some of the names are kind of strange

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have always found the BL naming convention to be far more intuitive when trying to visualize any given color just from reading the name, especially if it is not a common color. From what I gather, that was the whole point of BL rolling their own scheme in the first place. Long ago I committed to working with the BL scheme in my personal workflow and now am far too entrenched to find it practical to have to work with the 'Official' naming.

    My vote is to display BL color and hover-display LEGO Official color as alt text. (You'll have to sort out whether such coding is suitably compliant with mechanisms serving the visually impaired/blind.) I would also hope that BL can sort out their own historical errors without other sites having to work around the problems. Perhaps now that LEGO own BL they could provide the necessary and historically accurate resources to help improve the BL database, which would only be fair considering they are now profiting from the usage of the site, and seeing as LEGO has multiple redundant vaults containing a copy of every set ever released.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The plugin I intend to use was the best for accessibility when I first used it on another site in 2019 so hopefully all good there, or as good as can be.

      Delete
    2. Could New Elementary lobby TLG for a standard nomenclature now that they own Bricklink?

      Delete
  14. Since I predominantly use Bricklink to source my parts, those are the names I'm most concerned with. While I find several of the TLG names to be either silly or entirely innacurate, I don't object to their inclusion. The formatting, on the other hand, has been a bit cumbersome at times. Especially if it's early in the morning or late at night, trying to read a paragraph with half a dozen color names can feel a bit like slamming into a brick wall. Any method you can use to visually differentiate between the two sets of terms would be really helpful, so here are some ideas I came up with in case you end up trying to keep both handy in the articles:

    1. Put one set in bold, italics, or a different color of text.
    2. Use one set in the article, but include a short chart at the bottom of the text matching up the two sets.
    3. Build a full chart like the one on Peeron, and simply include one link in every article pointing interested readers towards it (regardless of how you end up handling this, a second comprehensive chart would be a good idea, since I don't know if Peeron's is still being updated with new colors).

    ReplyDelete
  15. I voted for keeping it the same because, while I use Bricklink's (FAR more intuitive) colour names, I like to learn about LEGO's (silly) colour names while reading your articles. However if you were to pare it back to just one system, Bricklink's 100%.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I order from both Bricklink and Lego's bricks and pieces, so I need to know both names. I tend to think of the colours as TLG's names as they are the official namers of their colours, but both names are essential to know. In fact it helps when you display both, so we can get used to how the different names equate to each other.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd prefer only the Bricklink names in the sentences, but make the TLG names easily accessible somehow—the hover text idea, or perhaps you should put up a color name conversion page on your site. (is there a comprehensive one out there somewhere already? I used to rely on the Peeron color conversion chart, but lately I haven't been able to find anything better than a couple-year-old random forum post.)

    If you're going to continue to use both color names, I'd really appreciate it if you /always/ use both color names, even when they're identical. When I'm reading through and see only one name, I always have to double-check whether it's because TLG and Bricklink match, or because you overlooked one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Us? overlook something? Nevah ;)

      See link in this article to Ryan's authoritative list Ryan Howerter explains the confusing world of LEGO colours

      Delete