Southbank Partners, the nonprofit group that is the primary developer of the Newport Southbank Bridge, convened focus groups during the planning for converting the span to a pedestrian walkway over the Ohio River.

More than a dozen groups were shown computer-generated images of how the bridge would look painted a variety of colors, including dark purple, green, rust, orange and white.

In every group, purple and green were among the top choices.

In stepped Ted Bushelman, a Southbank volunteer and longtime director of communications at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

During the early 1960s, the Boone County native worked in television. Color TVs were just beginning to appear in homes. At Xavier University, Bushelman studied how people relate to colors, even writing his master’s thesis on “The Psychology of Color.”

“Seeing is as much in the brain as it is in the eye. I redid some of my research and gave the information to Southbank,” Bushelman said. “Purple is a good color for public consumption. If you paint a room purple, it can drive you crazy. But it looks good on something like a bridge.”

Southbank President Wally Pagan said his group took the advice and came up with its own color based on Bushelman’s input and the focus group’s preference for a darker purple.