Contrast for iPhone

As a designer working mainly with on screen design, I have had a few discussions about whether text in a design is readable or not. These discussions have previously resulted in a situation where one party ended up unhappy with the result because this was discussed as a matter of opinion.

Fortunately, it’s possible to put facts on the table. W3C has issued guidelines for making web content more accessible, and these guidelines contain a formula for determining the readablilty of any combination of text color and background color. I think proper use of this formula would go a long way in ending readability discussions.

There are several web tools for determining if the readability is approved or not. I have not been able to find any iPhone, so I decided to write one myself.

Contrast for iPhone

Contrast for iPhone

Contrast for iPhone

Contrast for iPhone is an app that lets you enter the foreground color and background color and instantly receive a preview and a readability approval. You can enter the color in HSV, RGB or HEX values.

I personally think the best thing about this app is the bar that shows how far you are from meeting the requirements, and I think the best way of using the app is to apply a reasonable amount of fuzzy logic when deciding on the best color combination. Keep in mind that the formula is pretty strict about font sizes, and it doesn’t consider font faces at all, so I recommend using common sense if you are using very large or very small fonts, or fonts that are thinner or thicker than average.

I made this app and put the smallest possible price tag on it in order to learn by getting first hand experience about iOS development and iTunes marketing.

I hope you will like it, and if you do or don’t, please let me know below!

Get it on the AppStore

Limited edition Alien Abduction Lamp™

The Alien Abduction Lamp

We wanted to give those of you who have been following the progress of this lamp from a wild idea to a final product something special, so we made a special limited edition just for you.

The limited edition features a laser engraved signature at the bottom of the UFO and a specially printed certificate poster. The lamp is made from metal with a high quality finish, and it comes complete with an alien crew, a perspex beam, a bovine abductee and real fake grass on a non-slip base. The antenna function as the on-off switch as promised, and it can also enable a very smooth pulsing of the light. I am happy to say that great attention has been made to every detail, making this a high quality product that I hope you will be happy to own.

Everyone who posted a comment on this blog or signed up at the original or the new should now have received an invitation to order a limited edition Alien Abduction Lamp.

There are only 2000 of these lamps, so hurry up and grab one at


And of course, the grass and/or cow can be removed so that you can place any figure or object that you want to have abducted in the beam.

One giant leap for me, one small step for alienkind

The Aliens are Coming!

We have now published the new website for The Alien Abduction Lamp, and we are showing a picture of a prototype for the first time! The picture shows the last prototype, and there will only be very small changes (if any) before production starts.

If you have been following the progress for this lamp since the start, you will notice that we have managed to produce a lamp that is very true to my original 3D renderings. The way from concept to prototype has gone very well, without having to compromise on any important details. The few changes that have been made from the renderings to the final products have been by will and by listening to your feedback in my little survey rather than by necessity. The most noticeable change is the removal of the ornaments and pattern to arrive at a more timeless and clean result. You probably also noticed that it has taken quite a while, but seeng the beautiful result, I think it has been worth the extra time.

The UFO itself is very solid and cast in metal with a beautiful black pearl finish (you can’t really see how nice the finish is in this otherwise great photo). The antenna functions as the on off switch, and it also has a third position for pulsing light. And of course it comes complete with glow-in-the-dark aliens, real fake grass and a poor removable bovine abductee!

The Alien Abduction Lamp. Photo by Tiger Global

Now, pull out your 3D glasses and head over to to take a look for yourself!

(Those of you who have sent me a message with your email from the old website do not need to send a new one now.)

New website designed by Tiger Global

Ready for abduction?


Are you wondering what to do while you are waiting for the Alien Abduction Lamp?

Maybe a short stay with our green or grey little friends could be a good way of killing time. I don’t have any connections to help you get there, but I have put together this t-shirt for you to wear so that you can let them know who to get if they are in the neighborhood…

The text is glow-in-the-dark, and it is printed to be easily viewed from space.

A List of 40 Creative Lamp Designs



Freshome were among the first to write about the Alien Abduction Lamp back in june 2007, and I have been following them since then. They have now included the Alien Abduction Lamp in their list of 40 of the most creative lamp designs ever. I recommend this article to get a look at the other lamps. I am very happy to see the Alien Abduction Lamp in such great company.

The Alien Abduction Lamp has landed

Two Alien Abduction Lamp prototypes arrive at Oslo airport

Standing before me on my desk at home is a fully functional prototype of the Alien Abduction Lamp – complete with lights and alien pilots.

As the designer of this lamp, I am not going to begin to describe the feeling of holding a physical version of the lamp that I have been working with renderings and models of for the the last year and a half. 

I suppose that your first reaction is to want to see a picture or a video, but I am afraid that I can not show any images yet. This is after all a prototype, and as with all prototypes, the overall look is somewhat different from what a final product.

Please trust me for now when I say that the lamp looks fantastic! I am convinced that those of you who wanted a lamp after seeing the computer generated images will definitely want to own the real thing.

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Alien Abduction Lamp: from concept to prototype

Exploded view

I got the idea for the Alien Abduction Lamp late in the summer of 2006, and I finished designing the lamp during a holiday in Italy in May 2007. I published the 3D renderings on June 4. 2007; – with low expectations, and without any plans for taking the project beyond the concept stage.

High demand

Shortly after publishing the lamp, the response was overwhelming. International press and blog press wrote several articles about the lamp, and I got Stumbled, Dugg and Boing-Boing-ed. Messages were ticking in daily, and they continue to do so today. I have also been contacted by several manufacturers, distributors and resellers. The massive demand made me change my mind, and I started to feel a personal responsibility to take the Alien Abduction Lamp from concept to product.

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