Journal journeys: Day -8, The colour of chemistry

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Back in my undergraduate days at the University of Birmingham (the one in England), I had a particularly entertaining set of lectures on aromatic chemistry from Jim Burdon. I don’t know how he got on to the subject, but during one of the lectures he told us that neutrons were purple, and then went on to discuss the colour of electrons. Now, that’s obviously incredibly silly… we all know that neutrons are a funny green-brown colour (and that electrons are blue).

As we start to put the nuts and bolts of Nature Chemistry in place, we need to make important decisions about colour… what do I mean by that? Well, go and have a look at the Nature Materials homepage – see the red in the banner at the top of the page and in the section headers – that is known in these parts as ‘Materials red’. If you pick up a copy of the print issue, you will see the same red used throughout the journal, particularly as the font colour for titles, headlines and figure captions.

In the same vein, you will see that Nature Geoscience is green (British racing green in fact). Nature Photonics is blue, Nature Physics is blue/purple. Nature Chemical Biology is yet another different shade of blue… Now go to Nature Nanotechnology – that’s a gold-ish colour. In print, however, we use a red (not ‘Materials red’, but, you’ve guessed it, ‘Nano red’) because gold doesn’t really work well for text.

So, along comes Nature Chemistry and it needs its own colour – preferably a consistent one that works for both print and online content. We’re already experimenting with shades of a particular colour here – but I’m not going to tell you which one yet… I want to know what colour you think chemistry is?


Stuart Cantrill (Senior Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

Stu Cantrill

Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry, Springer Nature