Mater List Colours Colors Crime Writing

Master List: Colours

What goes through our minds when we see the colour orange as opposed to green? Below is a list of words commonly associated with various colours.

I have also included synonyms, different words for the colour, to help you describe the exact shade you’re thinking of for your story.

Knowing a bit about the psychology of colour could help you write your crime story. What colour outfit will your antagonist/protagonist/witnesses dress in? Will your novel title revolve around a specific colour e.g. The Silver Tide? Does colour have a significance to your story e.g. the colour red in The Sixth Sense? Will your characters’ name have a colour in it to reflect these associated words e.g. Robert Green?

The way we use colour can tell the reader something about our characters and crime without using words.

Scroll to the bottom for further info on cultural differences in perception of colours, the following are largely Western ideas.

Red

What we think of: Blood, danger, aggression, rage, energy, fire, love, passion, sexy, power, violence, strength, war

Synonyms: deep, wine, blush, cherry, garnet, brick, berry, pillarbox, blood, rose, crimson, ruby, scarlet, fire, vermillion, burgundy, beetroot, tomato, pomegranate, chilli, bright

 

Orange

What we think of: Enthusiasm, joy, optimism, sunshine, energy, exotic

Synonyms: amber, tangerine, carrot, fire, rusty, peach, ginger, terracotta, apricot, pumpkin,

 

Yellow

What we think of: Energy, happiness, intellect, joy, optimism, sunshine, warmth, light

Synonyms: golden, sandy, canary, sunny, mustard, honey, lemon, saffron, sunshine, corn, sunflower, buttery, light

 

Green

What we think of: Balance, calm, freshness, growth, money, nature, safety, military

Synonyms: emerald, pistachio, turquoise, lime, sage, olive, mint, pine, avocado, grass, jade, leafy, bottle, ivy, mossy, aqua

 

Blue

What we think of: Cleanliness, peace, calm, sea, sky, stability, trust

Synonyms: azure, navy, duck egg, inky, sky, cobalt, sapphire, peacock, teal, cerulean, indigo, royal, baby, cornflower, periwinkle, ocean, pool, aqua

 

Purple

What we think of: Luxury, nobility, power, royalty, excitement, expression

Synonyms: violet, mauve, lilac, heather, lavender, plum, maroon, aubergine/eggplant, grape

 

Pink

What we think of: Compassion, vibrancy, immaturity, delicate, love, desire, silliness, playful, sweet

Synonyms: salmon, magenta, bubble gum, rose, dusty, blush, fuchsia, neon, rouge, strawberry, hot pink, coral, peach, bright, flamingo, cotton candy

 

Brown

What we think of: Friendship, protection, security, rich, rustic, natural

Synonyms: muddy, coffee, earthy, chestnut, hazel, mocha, tawny, wood, sepia, tan, chocolate, bronze, mahogany, taupe

 

Black

What we think of: Death, evil, mystery, power, the unknown, bold, nighttime

Synonyms: noir, dark, tar, ebony, inky, grey, jet, obsidian, oil, coal, soot, sable, midnight, pitch, onyx, carbon

 

White

What we think of: Completion, innocence, light, purity, clean, airy, sterile

Synonyms: milky, ivory, porcelain, bone, pure, cotton, powder, snow, pearl, cloud, paper or sheet, alabaster, cream, marble

 

Gold

What we think of: Prestige, quality, success, wealth, wisdom, bling, luxury, opulent

Synonyms: sand, lion, amber, metallic

 

Silver/Grey

What we think of: Emotion, the moon, mystery, sleek/cool, modern, neutral, dull

Synonyms: grey, graphite, smokey, pewter, dove, lead, foggy, ashy, slate, storm, steel, metallic, taupe

 

Cultural Considerations

Not all of us have the same emotions attached to particular colours, and this can vary massively across different cultures. In the Western world we aware of some of these differences, such as the importance of the colour red for prosperity in the Far East (thanks HSBC advert!) but what about the rest of the colours, and the rest of the world?

This infographic by Top Web Design Schools is a fab source:

culture-colors

 

Over to you

Have you set your story somewhere other than the Western world and had to amend your thoughts on colour? Is this easy to do? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Click for Sources/Further Reading.

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