Common Color Combinations
Popular color pairs or triads that get used especially often in specific genres or situations
Tropeworthy? Motion To Discard

(permanent link) added: 2012-01-10 14:59:56 sponsor: Zulfiqar edited by: ShanghaiSlave (last reply: 2013-10-25 00:06:04)

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This trope is intended to be a subtrope of Tropes In Aggregate, which is being YKTTW'd at the moment.

Basic color theory tells us that some color combinations go well together, while others clash. In theory, that means that complementary colors should be the most popular and appealing.

But for some reason, it isn't always the case. Some complementary colors seem to be used together very rarely (e.g., the Yellow-Purple pair), while other pairs or triads are used much more often. What's more, a color combination that's commonplace in one specific genre or situation (e.g., the Orange-Blue pair in poster design) may be almost nonexistent in another (e.g., redheads with blue eyes or in blue costumes are seldom seen, while green-eyed and green-costumed redheads thrive).

Why does it happen? Nobody knows for sure. But it does happen, and here on TV Tropes we provide a list of color combinations that are most common in certain genres or situations.

Note: This page is not intended as a list of all color pairs & triads whatsoever. Only add a combination on this list if it's a very, very common occurrence in a certain genre or situation (not if it has 2-3 obscure unrelated examples). E.g., if you see that the blue-orange combination is used so often in poster design, that it became a trend, it should go in here.

Compare Colour-Coded for Your Convenience.

Pairs


Red & Green

Christmas colors

Blah Blah Blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
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Red & Black

Red and Black, Keep Back

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
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Orange & Green

Green-Eyed Redhead

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
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Redhead In Green

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
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Orange & Blue

Orange/Blue Contrast in graphic design

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
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Yellow & Blue

Blue Eyed Blonde

Blah blah blah description. a) Innocence (or feigning thereof) b) Lawful Good guy/girl (or a wolf in sheep's skin) c) The Aryan ideal (whether it's good or bad in a certain setting)

Examples

  • Blah
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Blonde in Blue or Yellow-Blue costume

Blah blah blah description. Lawful Good heroes. Either a blonde in a blue costume, or a yellow-blue costume (or armor). I think the latter combination is often used for heroic knightly armor (yellow may be replaced by gold), especially for paladins and similar Lawful Good knights and heroes. Though can't remember specific examples at the moment...

Examples:

  • Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, Franklin Richards from Fantastic Four
  • Captain America
  • Supergirl
  • Not a fantasy example, but the Ultramarines (from Warhammer40k) should probably count, in all their ironic glory.
  • X-Men

Green & Purple

Comic book costumes

Blah blah blah description. It's pretty common because you could make them by combining equal amounts of the primaries red/blue/yellow and those colors were usually already used for heroes.

Examples:

Blue & White

Lawful Good Heroes

Almost the same as the Blue & White version. Used even more often.

Examples:

  • The Fantastic Four uniform.
  • Again, various paladins from RP Gs I don't remember at the moment
  • Blah
  • Blah
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Black & White

The Ultimate Contrast

Blah blah blah description. Often used to denote some stark contrast or a dichotomy. In this case, black and white aren't usually parts of a single character's appearance - more likely, it's the contrast between a "mostly white" and "mostly black" character.

Examples:

Night, mystery, death

Blah blah blah description

Examples:


Triads


Red, Yellow & Blue

???

The primary colors. Can be used to theme a Fire, Ice, Lightning trio. Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
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Red, Green & Blue

Chromatic Arrangement

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
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Red, Blue & White

AMERICA!

Blah blah blah description

Examples:

Orange, Green & Purple

Comic book costumes

Redhead In Green, but with a green-purple costume. Rather popular in comics.

Examples:

  • The Riddler from Batman
  • That girl from Gen13
  • Lex Luthor from Superman (who was a redhead before he went bald, and still retains hair and/or a beard in some alternate universes)
  • The Joker from Batman is a somewhat odd variation: green hair, and a purple/orange costume (in some incarnations).
  • Blah

Yellow, Blue & White

Lawful Good Heroes

A combination of Yellow & Blue and Blue & White. Either blonde heroes in blue-white costumes, or blondes with blue eyes in white costumes, or something similar.

Examples:

  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
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replies: 51

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