#1 – The Gray Areas


  1. Center the 5 gray bars of the illusion on your screen (scroll).
  2. Note – Each bar from dark to light has a uniform brightness within the bar.  But at a border from dark to light, the dark edge makes the light edge next to it appear even lighter.
  3. Put a pencil (or equiv.) over the border between any two bars and the adjoining bars will appear the same.
  4. Try 2 pencils and cover any 2 borders.  Cool, huh?!
  5. Get a friend to help you with 4 pencils and cover all 4 borders!  Way cool!


Borders and boundaries help show everyone where something ends…and the next ‘thing’ begins.  When thinking lean, this is part of visual management.

A practical example of where this concept is used:  5S implementation (The 5S – Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain).  The 2nd ‘S’, Set in order, involves organizing items and equipment for maximum efficiency.  Often, colored tape is used to mark borders or boundaries to visually show where things are located.

Borders and boundaries help keep us from getting ‘lost’ in the gray areas.  They show us clearly where our areas of responsibility begin and end; making it easier, and more safe, for everyone.

THINK this is cool?! – Drop us a note below and let us know WHY.


2 Responses to #1 – The Gray Areas

  1. Mike Paget says:

    Pretty interesting~ in that i haven’t seen this illusion before. I can’t get the darkest bar on the left to blend but my eyes are jacked and getting old! 🙂

  2. It is cool Mike!
    Trying to line up lots more on theOuthouse.
    I don’t want to be irresponsible and infringe on copyrights, etc.
    Thanks for returning to theThinkShack…did you take the survey?!


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