Interview: Stuart Semple On Pantone, Freetone, Colour, And Open Source

I have appreciated many of the things that Stuart Semple has done over the years. I don’t usually post topics from Hackaday because their content tends to skew very technical, and I’m not sure there’s an audience here for that. This interview, though, is of a less technical bent, and I think it benefits the topic better as a result. That said, I would love to see the excised sections where they geek out about color spectrometers or talk about the thermal properties of extremely black paint.

If you want a more in-depth look at the Pantone/Adobe issue, here’s an LTT video that provides some context:

I’m not a fan of their carnival barker style or the way they seem to feed into the worst preferences of the Youtube algorithm/audience, but their content is generally good, and that’s apparently the recipe for how you get to spend 3+ years developing a screwdriver.

Also, I want to explicitly link to one of Stuart’s recent projects, The Gay Blood Collection, where he creates art supplies using actual blood from gay men, in protest of the FDA’s de-facto ban on donated blood from homosexual men. I avoided posting about it before because I tend to avoid topics that are seemingly intended to entice commerce. I’m posting about it now because it’s also mentioned in the interview above, because because Semple does not mark up his products unreasonably, and because I think this is a genuinely compelling topic. I will absolutely admit my naïveté regarding this issue. I can vaguely remember being asked a very pointed question about my sexual status when I tried to donate blood many years ago, but I didn’t understand the implications of it. To any person with reasonable faculties, it is patently absurd to reject perfectly good blood for no reason other than its source.


Unfortunately, the perceived specter of AIDS screwed that up.


It’s not just the FDA, either! Canadian Blood Services had the same draconian restrictions, and it’s only in the last 60 days that they have finally relented and removed all of those questions, instead now asking if you’ve had new or multiple partners in the previous three months:

the LGBT+ community in Canada has lobbied for years for this change, and I hope that this progress helps organizations like Stuart’s apply even more pressure to remove these restrictions in the US.


Entirely off topic, but… Linus’ persona has always grated on me a bit, and the thing he does with the fidget toy while he’s presenting is incredibly distracting. But the guy does seem to know what he’s talking about, or at a minimum has been able to hire scriptwriters who do.

although his “skipping advertisments is piracy” hot take was definitely a misstep

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I’m pretty sure he does that to advance the script. I think it’s a bluetooth controller of some sort. I’m not sure why he doesn’t have a more sophisticated and less distracting solution, though. I’m not a fan of his style of presentation, but I do think the information is solid. My understanding is that he’s done comparisons and research, and his videos make more money this way. I would like to say that I would make different choices, but I can’t really fault him for his.

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Huh, I thought I’d seen a video by him where he actually referred to needing something in his hands in relation to ADD, but interesting if that’s the actual answer. It’s definitely led to some extremely awkward moments in the videos I’ve watched.

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Hmm. Maybe it’s both? In at least some of the times where I’ve noticed it, it looked like he pushed a button on it during a break in the dialog, so maybe it’s a compromise between something practical for production, and also something to satisfy his need to hold something.