Highlighters are often misused. Worse, there messages are often misinterpreted.
Whether you’re trying to “do” productive or simply love to highlight things for kicks, you need to know the message you’re sending to your own mind and to others’ minds when you use these popular pen-like markers. There’s nothing worse than saying something in one manner and it being misinterpreted by others, much like if you were writing personal productivity satire and the jokes fell flat because there’s no market for that — not even on a globally scalable medium such as the internet.
Sorry, that example is a little far-fetched. But you get the drift. Here is a somewhat comprehensive list of what each highlighting colour signifies so that you don’t make the same mistake once.
The most common of the highlighters used — unless you’re a girl, of course — highlighting something in yellow is often misinterpreted as your understanding that the highlighted item is more important than what is not highlighted, but not as important as something highlighted in a less commonly used colour.
Actual meaning: The highlighter-wielder is very afraid to do whatever is highlighted and that they should find someone else to do it.
The most feminine of the highlighter colours, this colour often is used to illustrate that the task or item is a desirable one and is likely to be handled with more care (or a woman’s touch) than any other item(s) highlighted.
Actual meaning: If this person is male, they are suggesting you find a woman to handle the item. If it is a woman, they are suggesting that you get their mother or BFF to handle the item.
Often used when one is doing “blue sky thinking,” this colour is used to highlight items that can be manifested into larger, bigger items that allow creativity and innovation to flow as freely as the ink flows from the faux-marker that they are using.
Actual meaning: The person is sad, knowing that they will have to do whatever they have highlighted.
Not representing environmental items, as one would think because since they are using it on paper they are actually killing trees just using the writing implement. Yet this is what most thought it meant (highlighting environmental issues) in the early part of this century. Before that, it was always finance-related. Thankfully, that stereotypical thinking returned around the year 2007.
Actual meaning: The person is afraid of the item that they have highlighted and is sad knowing that they still have to do it, despite said fear.
Some interpret that whatever is highlighted in this colour is defined as an early morning item (sunrise) or an early evening item (sunset). Some think that items highlighted in orange are being put off until the end of October. Others just assume it was the only highlighter at hand.
Actual meaning: These items will be done either at sunrise or sunset on a day near the end of October.
Known as the “royal colour,” this colour was used to highlight things that were of extreme importance. Incidentally, before the Baltimore Ravens adopted this colour as the primary uniform colour, purple was also known as “the other girl colour” even though the Los Angeles Lakers had been donning it for years prior. This colour is not to be confused with red wine that may make its way onto documents. They are not the same — in fact, it highlights a far worse issue at hand.
Actual meaning: Those who want to “do” productive don’t use purple highlighters; it is red wine that is often mistaken as such. The perceived meaning is actually spot on.
If you learn anything from this article, it should be this: Don’t use purple highlighters. (Now where’d I put my wine?)
Photo credit: adamci via SXC.HU