Though it’s often not the most important part, the right color can invigorate any description. I made these lists for myself, to help me pick color names that were exactly what I was searching for without becoming repetitive.
Depending on the content, you might consider selecting recognizable names within a specific category to supplement your theme.
–Metals Emanate Strength–
steel, titanium, gold, bronze, copper, tungsten, platinum, brass, chrome, aluminum, iron, silver, nickel, pewter, zinc
–Flowers Radiate Elegance–
cornflower, violet, lilac, lily, rose, cosmos, hyacinth, baby’s breath, carnation, anemone, iris, daisy, begonia, amaryllis, daffodil, buttercup, larkspur, dahlia, hydrangea, marigold, freesia, crocus, azalea, bleeding heart, hollyhocks, orchid, gladiolus, snapdragons, touch-me-not, tulip, peony, eremurus
(this list seriously goes forever)
–Nature Adds Grandeur–
sky, sea, mountain, desert, lake, forest, meadow, pine, redwood, ivy, storm, autumn, winter, spring, summer, nebula, astral, cosmic, lightening, sunshine/sun-baked, dusk, dawn, moon, sand, field, grass, sequoia, eucalyptus,
–Stones/Gems Provide Dimensionality–
jade, emerald, diamond, garnet, ruby, onyx, aquamarine, citrine, amber, amethyst, jasper, beryl, peridot, quartz, opal, lapis, druse, tourmaline, topaz, coral, agate, hematite, howlite, labradorite, moonstone, obsidian, pyrite, sapphire, serpentine, sphene, sodalite, sunstone, turquoise, zircon
(this list also goes forever, though I might suggest using the shorter names)
My favorites are ones that add another sense:
–Foods Add Flavor–
dark chocolate, cinnamon, divinity, caramel, coconut, strawberry, peach, butter, cake batter, cookie dough, currant, licorice, grape, punch, pistachio, pear, melon, coffee, cherry, tropical, marshmallow, margarita, beer, kiwi, rum, honey, apple, banana, passion fruit, papaya, almond, horchata, plum, pomegranate
–Or a Flavor and a Scent–
mocha, mint, lavender, lemon cream, pumpkin pie, sage, apple cider, bubble gum, maple, cocoa, rosemary, nutmeg, clove, ginger
–Animals Can Add Texture–
Buckskin, manatee, mouse, sable, calico, tiger, zebra, snakeskin, alpaca, alligator, peacock, rhino, cardinal, shark, anemone, squid, camel, scarab, seal, chameleon, flamingo
–Cybernetic/Artificial Adds Futuristic Elements–
(These can add each element to any color)
Surge, electric, circuit board, trace, flash, digital, clone, print, scan, screen, l.e.d., laser, fiber-optic, carbon fiber, wire, cable, grid, connector, capacitor, transformer, regulator, relay, switch
–And Then There are the Generics–
cool/warm/neutral, light/dark, faint/deep, polychromatic, monochromatic, antiqued, patina, sepia
–Some Add an Element of Light–
iridescent, phosphorescent, pearlescent, crystallized, transparent, translucent, opalescent, prismatic, lustrous, effulgent, brilliant, bright, coruscating, incandescent, scintillating, radiant, lucent, luminous, glowing, flaming, fluorescent, lambent, auroral, burning, blazing, dazzling, mirror-like, smoky
–Level of Color Added/Manipulation–
Sprinkles, infused, dense, foggy, haze, overlay, swirled, blended, wash, baked, crackled, peppered, dusted, opaque, inky, milky, creamy, suspended, foamy, fried, dripping, drizzled, folded in, saturated, drowning, oozing, frosted, glazed, vivid, intense, burnished
Then there are behaviors that can be implied by picking a specific one for instance:
1.Shark gray vs. Squirrel gray
Naming something shark gray implies very aggressive behavior vs. the aloofness of a squirrel.
2.Marshmallow and Margarita use
Marshmallow white might imply a taste, scent, and a texture, or even a quality of comfort.
Margarita green might suggest a taste, a salty personality or edge to the story, or that the night might end a little more wild than if (spring) green were used in its place.
Happy writing (or whatever else you create!)
Heaven knows I’ve missed some I’m sure, and there are plenty of colors above that cross multiple categories. Feel free to add your favorite in the comments below!
1 thought on “Master List of Colors & How They Can Change Reader Interpretation”
This was a fascinating article about colors and how they are used to create special themes and characters.