The Hexidecimal Phonebook is a conceptual site that explores the ideas of data representation and reorganization of databases, and individuality versus anonimity by converting real phone numbers, pulled straight from the phone book, into boxes of color. This directory acts as an experiment in color symbolism and recognition , where names are removed and only colors remain as unique identifiers. Instead of being distinguished as McCabe, Sheila, I'd be distinguished as a medium sort of blue, with levels of red, green, and blue at 19, 53, and 93, respectively.

To start accessing these visual records, click one of the links below.

How it Works

HTML colors are made using HEX, or hexadecimal notation, that consists of three pairs of two alphanumeric characters (6 characters in total), preceded by a # sign. Each pair specifies levels of Red, Green, and Blue. Note that while all numbers are useable, only the letters A-F can be used in a HEX color code.

The Hexidecimal Phonebook represents each phone number as a color by using the last six digits of the phone number as a hex color code. Because it only uses the last six digits, that means not all phone numbers have unique colors. The likelihood of two numbers having the same color is rare on a national and even an international level, and extremely unlikely within a region; however, it is by no means impossible for two people to have the same last six digits, and there are probably a lot of people with "color dopplegangers" somewhere in the world.

That said, The Hexidecimal Phone is by no means a perfect directory. Actions have to be taken in its compilation to ensure that color dopplegangers are displayed in different contexts, and because the color is based on only the last six digits, one must also take care in how to display the other digits. I simplified this by only using phone numbers that start with the 850 area code, followed by 9; however, not all numbers in my local phone book start with a 9 after the area code, so there were several numbers that were skipped.

A Color Directory

We organize directories on a primarily linguistic basis, but what would happen if we could do it visually? What if we didn't recognize each other by alphabetic symbolism, such as our names, but instead identified each other with other sensory symbolism? Could our vision be refined in such a way that we could assing minutely different colors to individuals in the same way that a dog recognizes another by scent? Could humanity's vision ever be that acute? How would it impact our sense of autonomy to be known by number-based colors instead of our names? Would we feel more unique knowing that the probability of having the same color as another is formulaically predictable, with a consistant probability regardless of identity? Or are words and language really that important? These are the questions asked by the Hexidecimal Phonebook.

What Color is Your Number?

In the color box below is the color of the number 867-5309. Want to see what your phone number's color would look like? Type the # sign followed by the last six digits of your phone number (ex. "#675309") in the text field below, then click the color box!

For the full effect, please view this site in Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer 9.