UNESCO Cities of Design

Samen Onderwijs Maken (SOM) in Leuven, Belgium, created a network of educators and schools in the city, and conducted an experiment to examine children’s perception of skin color.

In the project prepared by TBWA \ Belgium, a group of children at Mater Dei Elementary School made paintings in accordance with the directives given to them. In the experiment, they were asked to paint the t-shirt green and the hair orange. The children chose the colors and painted them seamlessly. Finally, the children were asked to select the skin color and paint the face. All children finished painting with a preference for light pink.

The children with different skin color preferred light pink color although there were colors suitable for their own skin color. This situation seems to be as a result of children’s conditional reflections of what they see from their environment. Children who were aware of their own skin colors preferred a single skin color, maybe because of the human model they saw in the cartoons they watched or the books they read.

In order to raise awareness, SOM and TBWA \ Belgium have created a 7 color box called The Skin Color Collection. At the International Day Against Racism on March 21, many children  came together and redesigned huge paintings with these paint cans of different shades, from light pink to dark brown.