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Color-Coded Elements
"I even had this red carpet imported from the Fire Nation! You know, they make the best red stuff over there!"

A common trope, especially in video games that feature Elemental Powers, is that every element will have a color associated with it. This way, you know that anything red is related to fire, blue to water, etc.

This can manifest in many ways. Some common ones are enemies being the color of their element, element-resistant armor having that element's color, and elemental spells being color coded in menus.

A few common examples of this trope follow. There are occasions where other colors are used for these elements, and these are by no means the only elements that get color coded.
  • Fire: Almost exclusively red or orange.
  • Water: Almost exclusively blue. See also Water Is Blue.
  • Wind/Air: Green in most Asian works, yellow otherwise. Sometimes white or grayish, rarely blues or purples. Occationally reds and browns if Autumn themed.
  • Earth: Yellow, brown, and orange are all common. Green if nature is not separate or if yellow is already taken.
  • Ice: In settings where water and ice are distinct, water will tend to be a darker blue, while ice tends toward lighter blues, cyan or even white.
  • Lightning: When Lightning is treated as a separate element (sometimes, it gets lumped with air/weather), it's pretty much always yellow. In the rare cases it isn't yellow, it will be electric blue, purple (thunder clouds), or white. See Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning.
  • Wood/Plants/Nature: Usually green, perhaps with other earth tones. If dealing specifically with flowers, it will usually be pink.
  • Metal/Steel: When treated as a distinct element (rather than a subset of earth), metal is usually a metallic gray, silver, or white (particularly in Wu Xing inspired works).
  • Light: Usually white or a bright yellow. Pink, if The Power of Love is a major aspect.
  • Dark: Usually black, though dark purple is also very common. Dark greens if it is also centered on poison.

A Super Trope to Elemental Hair and Elemental Eye Colors. A Sub-Trope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. A Sister Trope to Color-Coded Wizardry (the wizards themselves being color coded).


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, fire powers are red, water powers are blue, and wind powers are green. Note that the three main characters were already colour-coded red, blue, and green before getting magic, and then got the associated element.
  • Used in Ronin Warriors: Red=Fire, Cyan=Water, Green=Light, Blue=Air, Orange=Earth.
  • Sailor Moon follows almost all of these rules. Sailor Mars has a red fuku, Sailor Mercury has ice and water based powers and a blue fuku (Sailor Neptune has both sea green hair and fuku and controls the sea); Sailor Jupiter has lightning, wind, and Green Thumb powers, with a green fuku and pink accents. Sailor Uranus is the Soldier of Flight/Wind and has wind-related powers. Although her main colour is dark blue, the secondary colour of her uniform is gold. Sailor Pluto's powers are time related and her fuku is black, although the accent color is a dark brown/red color. Sailor Saturn, whose powers are all about death and destruction, has a dark purple fuku.
  • Directly used in Rune Soldier Louie. Although the world doesn't particularly focus on elemental colors, at one point, Louie directly invokes this trope when he has to place five colored orbs in place to represent the five elements. The tricky part is, as this page shows, there's no universally accepted set of colors, so he has some trouble, mostly over if blue represents air or water.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Cure Blossom note  (Earth/Nature) = pink; Cure Marine (Water/Sea) = blue; Cure Sunshine (sunlight) = yellow; Cure Moonlight (well, just look at her name) = silver/purple.
  • Smile Pretty Cure! has Cure Happy (Light) = pink; Cure Sunny (Fire) = orange/red; Cure Peace (Thunder) = yellow; Cure March (Wind) = green; Cure Beauty (Ice) = blue. Also, Royale Candy (Light) = white.
  • Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! has Battle Lover Cerulean (water) = blue, Battle Lover Epinard (wind) = green and Battle Lover Sulfur (earth) = yellow. The other two Battle Lovers are Scarlet (light) = red and Vesta (flame) = pink, which would work if they switched.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Keepers of the Elements, each Energy Keeper wears silver, Water Keepers wear blue, Fire Keepers wear red and orange, Earth Keepers wear green, and Air Keepers wear white.
  • In Clouded Sky, there are temples dedicated to each Pokémon type, and the acolytes of the temples dress in colors that correspond with the type their temple represents (Fire Temple = Red, Water Temple = Blue, etc.).

    Film 
  • In The Fifth Element the four stones that are collected represent each element and when opened glow a specific elemental color: red = fire, blue = water, yellow = air and green = earth.

    Literature 
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned elemental magic is employed in this way, and mages wear the color of the element of magic with which they are aligned. Aeshes, fire mages, wear red; shamais, water mages, wear blue; ruahks, air mages, wear silver; and aretzes, earth mages, wear green. Also shows up in the actual magic of orahs (light aligned) and hosheks (dark aligned), which are gold-white and purple-black versions of the regular elements, respectively. For example, aesh-fire is the same color as regular fire, but orah-fire is pure white and hoshek-fire is dark purple.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series: red = fire, blue = air, yellow = earth, green = water.
  • Codex Alera has a color associated with the element involved in each of the six types of furycrafting: fire is red, water is blue, earth is green, air is also green, metal is gray, and wood is brown. Each element also has its own symbol, which is on the covers of some editions of the books.
  • In Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series the dedicates of the Living Circle take vows to gods of one of the four elements and then wear habits colored to one of the four elements: red = fire, blue = water, yellow = air and green = earth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers teams (who already are Color-Coded for Your Convenience) that feature elemental powers use these in different ways:
  • Kamen Rider OOO has shades of this trope with the Core Medals: Green is Lightning, Yellow is Light, Gray is Earth, Red is Fire, Blue is Water, and Purple is Ice/Void.
    • In Kamen Rider Wizard, Wizard's elemental Styles are color-coded: Flame is red, Water is blue, Land is yellow, and Hurricane (wind) is green.
  • Some minor color variations used in the Filipino fantasy series Encantadia: Air is white/blue, Water is green, Earth is brown, Fire is the more conventional red.

    Music 
  • Lindsey Stirling's music video for "Elements" uses this a lot, with water, earth, fire, and air having different dominant colors. For fire and water, she also uses face paint/makeup in blue or red.
  • The Spice Girls did this in the videos for "Holler" and "Let Love Lead The Way", using white for wind instead of yellow.
    • In the former, Mel B represents fire (she wears a red dress and is surrounded by fires in grates); Mel C represents earth (she's meditating on some dry ground that becomes covered in grass); Victoria represents wind (she wears a white catsuit and is standing in a wind tunnel); and Emma represents water (she wears a blue dress and blue shades, and is standing under a fish tank).
    • In the latter, the elements are swapped round. Victoria represents fire (she wears a red catsuit and is standing on a burning wasteland); Emma represents earth (she wears a green dress and green eyeshadow, and is lying in some grass); Mel B represents wind (she wears a white top and trousers, silver eyeshadow and is in a white room); and Mel C represents water (she wears a blue outfit and blue eyeshadow, and is sitting in some kind of fountain).

    Myths & Religion 
  • The five tattvas of Hindu esotericism and tantrism: Air is a blue circle, Earth is a yellow square, Fire is a red triangle, Water is a silver crescent shape.
  • In Wicca, Earth is associated with the color green, Air with yellow, Fire with red and Water with blue.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Each of the five elements in Exalted is associated with a colour of Jade - the standard Red for Fire and Green for Wood, but a slightly more unusual matchup of White for Earth, Blue for Air, and Black for Water.
  • In Warhammer, elemental magic comes in winds of different colours. Light powers come from the White wind, metal powers come from the Yellow wind, life powers come from the Green wind, sky powers come from the Blue wind, darkness powers come from the Gray wind, death powers come from the Purple wind, fire powers come from the Red wind, and animal based powers come from the Brown wind.
    • When these winds are in their unrefined form, all mixed up, it's Black Magic, while when they are refined to their maximum potential, they become High Magic (manifesting as either silver or as a rainbow).
  • Magic The Gathering is all about this; the entire resource system is based around mana coming in five different colors, each associated with a different land feature and set of elements: white for plains, law, order, and (the literal sense of) light; blue for islands, water, wind, and intellect; black for swamps, death, (again, the literal sense of) darkness, and ambition; red for mountains, chaos, fire, and lightning; and green for forests, life, growth, and wildness. There are also colorless artifacts (and occasionally other things) with more generic abilities.
  • The six elements in The Dark Eye are coded (at least by human standards) mostly this way with a few exceptions: fire is red, wind is yellow or colorless, ice is purple or light blue, water is blue, rock/stone is orange and humus(earth and plants as well as all living things) is represented by earthen colors, but usually by green.

    Toys 
  • This trope is one of the main aspects in LEGO's BIONICLE and its related lines, Slizers, Robo Riders, and, to an extent, Hero Factory. Especially in Bionicle, there are confusingly many combinations and exceptions, but generally, red (sometimes with yellow or black) means fire, blue (sometimes with added white) is water, green is air or jungle, white (may be part-blue or gray) is ice, black (sometimes with gray, red, orange, tan, or purple) is earth or rock, brown or yellow (at times with gray, orange, or tan) is stone or sand. Some elements can change their colors, and numerous colorful characters don't even have elements, making the whole thing even more difficult. Then, there are secondary elements that use the pre-established colors of main elements as either their main or secondary colors! And this is just Bionicle!

    Video Games 
  • The orbs in Puzzle And Dragons are color-coded for each elemental attack.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, the color of the magic circle that appears when an ally or enemy is casting a spell changes depending on the element. Red for fire, blue for water, green for wind, bright blue for ice, brown-orange for earth, black for dark, white for light, and purple for lightning.
  • In Fire Emblem, the color of a spellbook is determined by what element it is. Bright yellow for light (or pale purple in the Tellius games, or light blue in Fire Emblem Awakening), black for dark (or purple in Awakening), red/orange for fire, green for wind, blue for ice, and yellow for thunder. The last four are lumped as "anima" in the GBA games, making them quite multicolor compared to light and dark.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Starforce, Fire Heat is associated with Red, Water Aqua is associated with Blue, Electric Elec is associated with Yellow, and Nature Wood is associated with Green.
  • In Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX, Fire is associated with Red, Water/Ice is associated with Blue, Electric/Wind is associated with both Green and Yellow, and Non-elemental is associated with Purple.
  • In Lords Of Magic, each element is associated with a faith, which fills the role of races or civilizations in other games. Each faith's units have color schemes that fit the above trends.
  • The Legend of Dragoon color-coded all the elements thusly: Fire is red, Water is light blue, Wind is green, Earth is gold, Darkness is indigo, Light is yellow (though the Dragoon is White-Silver), and Thunder is violet.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal's Table of Effectiveness lists Nature as green, Stone as grayish brown, Water as blue, Fire as orange, Air as white, Light as yellow, Darkness as purple, Chaos as burgundy red, Ice as whitish-bluish-cyanish-something, Energy as violet/bright purple, Psi as cyan, and Metal as steely gray.
  • Pokémon generally follows a skin color scheme based on the element of the Pokémon: Fire pokémon having lots of red or orange, Water pokémon having lots of blue and so on...at least, in the first couple of games. The later generations also featured color-coded icons for each type, though many of them have two colors (e.g., the Dragon-type is half-red, half-blue). Later games updated the icons to all be single-colored (so Dragon is now royal blue).
  • In Secret of Mana, all the spells of a given school, which are element-based, have the same color scheme.
  • World of Warcraft has Fire as red/orange, Ice/water as blue, Holy as yellow, Shadow as black/purple, Nature as green and Arcane as pink/purple.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the colors of the elements come from the colors of the Links in Four Swords. Wind is Green, Fire is red, and Water is blue, as usual, but Earth is purple.
  • Chrono Cross skips naming the elements directly and just uses colors for elemental affinities. Red is fire and heat, Blue is water and ice, Green is air and nature, Yellow is earth and electricity, Black is shadow and gravity, and White is light and celestial bodies.
  • Skies of Arcadia does something similar, although the colors are different: Green is nature, Purple is ice, Blue is both wind and water, Red is fire, Yellow is electricity, and Silver is both life and death. Each of these color-elements is governed by an appropriately colored Weird Moon.
  • Played straight in Distorted Travesty with Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water for elemental techniques. (Unfortunately, the brown looks too much like red).
  • The six elements in Warriors of Might and Magic: Fire is red, Water is navy blue, Earth is green, Air is light blue, Light is pure white, and Darkness is black.
  • Onimusha in all its four (and more) games has shown: Lightning (navy), Fire (fire red), Wind (green), Ice (powder blue), Earth (orange), Light (gold) and Air (sky blue). The Dark element appears, but as an alternative name for Lightning.
  • Bomberman 64: The Second Attack has different elements for different bomb upgrades you can get. You start out with Fire, the traditional bomb with a cross shaped explosion, and can upgrade to Ice, Wind, Lightning, Earth, which is more of a magma bomb, Light, and Dark. Each enemy takes damage differently from each bomb; for example, metallic enemies aren't harmed at all by the Light bomb, aquatic enemies are fine with Ice, etc.
  • In the Dept Heaven games, we have Fire (red), Ice (light blue), Lightning (yellow), Darkness (purple), and Light (green; sometimes referred to as Sanctity instead).
  • Final Fantasy X: Red = Fire, Blue = Water, White/Light Blue = Ice, Yellow = Lightning. This is important for a late-game boss, who switches his elemental attacks/strengths/weaknesses based on how the coloured nodes on wheels behind him line up (however, this is rendered moot by using Scan and coordinating your elemental attacks and element-nullifying magic accordingly).
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, light blue = ice, red = fire, yellow = thunder/lightning, medium blue = water, orange-brown = earth. Also has reddish pink = physical attacks and purple = non-elemental magic.
  • Quest 64 has fire portrayed as red, water as blue, earth in a orange-brown, and wind as green. Many enemies also vaguely follow this color scheme as well.
  • World 6-F1 (RGB Factory) in Super Mario Fusion Revival: This fortress level takes place in a high-tech factory with three distinct areas: a red area (lava and fire), a green area (overrun with plant life), and a blue area (a swimming area). This is a key hunt level with a central hub that leads to a boss fight with Dobkeratops of R-Type fame.
  • Persona 4 slightly mixes up the colors with its various "Wall" skills. "Red Wall" resists fire and "Green Wall" resists wind, but "Blue Wall" resists electricity and "White Wall" resists ice.
  • Magicka color-codes all ten elements thusly: blue for water, green for life, gold for shield, pale blue for cold, purple for lightning, red for arkane, brown for earth, and orange for fire. If you haven't memorized all of them by position yet, chances are you'll be reading the key based on the colors rather than the pictures.
  • Borderlands uses orange for fire, blue for shock (lightning), green for acid, and yellow for explosives. The sequel adds a fifth element, "slag", which has properties similar to "ice" in most games. It's represented by purple.
  • In Find Mii/StreetPass Quest, the Miis' shirts correspond to their attack. Most of them have these (a few don't). Black Miis darken rooms, White Miis light up rooms, Blue Miis cast water spells, Red Miis cast fire spells, Yellow Miis create sandstorms, Purple Miis poison enemies, and Cyan Miis freeze enemies.
  • Gauntlet:Legends and Gauntlet: Dark Legacy had the following scheme for shot-power and magic potion power-ups: Red was Fire, Blue was Lightning, Yellow was Light, and Green was acid. Knowing which element your shot power was could tell if it boosted attack power or didn't against a boss.
  • Golden Sun makes it easy to identify Adepts, as they'll usually wear colors associated with their element, or even have Elemental Hair or eye colors. Mars (Fire) tends toward reds and oranges. Mercury (Water/Ice) is inevitably blue, usually cyan. Venus (Earth and Plants) can be gold, green, and/or brown. Jupiter (Wind/Electric/Telepathy) tends to be green or light purple.
  • In The Denpa Men, Denpa Men come in 12 different colors, 9 of them tied to elements. They're all pretty standard: Fire is red, Water is blue, Wind is green, Earth is orange, Electric is yellow, Ice is light blue, Light is white, Dark is purple, and Non-Elemental is black. Of note is that the color of a Denpa Man determines his or her elemental resistances, not their powers — any Denpa Man can only have one "spell", and a yellow Denpa Man's spell can easily be Earth or Wind type, for instance. Also, many Denpa Men of every color have non-combat spells, or no spells at all.
  • Castle Crashers plays with this. Green is poison, blue is ice; but red is lightning and yellow is fire.
  • Pikmin usually associates a color to an element by form of the Pikmin resistant to it, with red being for fire, yellow for electricity, and blue for water. Aside from the Pikmin themselves, this shows up on enemies related to the element. Fiery Blowhogs have red snout-tips, they shoot fire. Anode Beetles have yellow on their backs, they pair up and make electric links. Poison from the second game is an exception to the Pikmin linking up to it — it's maroon, the Dweevil that spits it out is pink, yet the Pikmin resistant to it is white. Crystal, a material introduced in the third game, is often either rendered as clear or white, yet the Pikmin species that's immune to being crushed by it and can break it is dark gray.
  • Dragon breeding sim Flight Rising has eleven elements that affect their corresponding flights in terms of deities and dragon eye colour: Shadow is purple, Wind is light green, Nature is green, Light is pale yellow, Earth is brown, Lightning is cyan, Water is royal blue, Arcane is pink, Ice is light blue, Plague is red and Fire is orange.
  • The four Spellstones in Star Fox Adventures are color-coded according to which of the two Force Point Temples they are to be taken to: Red for the Volcano one and blue for the Ocean one.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck has all players given a class and element, in the style of Hero of Element. There are many different classes, each of which can interpret elements in different ways and titles aren't immediately intuitive. The three thus far shown Heroes of Light all have drastically different abilities. However, elements typically can be loosely defined.
    • Breath (Wind) is associated with blue, ranging from a pale sky blue to darker navy.
    • Light (Luck) is associated with yellow and orange.
    • Time is associated with red.
    • Space is associated with black and to a lesser extent, green.
    • Mind (unclear abilities; suggested to be emotional bonds) is associated with teal.
    • Heart (Soul Power) is associated with pink.
    • Life is associated with vibrant green and beige.
    • Void (Nothingness) is associated with dark blue.
    • Hope (unclear abilities; suggested to be knowledge) is associated with golden yellow.
    • Doom (unclear abilities; possibly fate and prophecy) is associated with dark muddy green.
    • Blood (unclear abilities; only the broadest strokes of the element are known) is associated with rust brown and blood red.
    • Rage is associated with purple.

    Web Original 
  • The Questport Chronicles has the elemental essences: Fire (red), Water (blue), Air (light green), Earth (brown), and Aether (black).

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, clothing is color-coded by nation and the wielders of Elemental Powers therein. Air Nomads wear oranges and yellows, Earth Kingdom citizens wear greens and browns, Fire Nation citizens wear reds and blacks, and members of the Southern and Northern Water Tribes wear blues, whites, and purples. This also extends to the colors of Team Avatar's members, since they're essentially an in-universe Five-Token Band. There are some exceptions; for instance, The Order of the White Lotus consists of citizens from all the different Nations, and they have one type of uniform which, while dark-blue like some Water Tribe clothing, is distinct from any one Nation's style shown in the series and Azula's famous blue fire as opposed to the traditional red-orange that all other character use.
  • In Captain Planet, the Planeteers' rings have different colors based on the element the ring's power represents.


Character Name LimitsVideo Game Interface ElementsDiegetic Interface
Casting a ShadowElements of NatureDishing Out Dirt
Rainbow MotifAmazing Technicolor IndexColour-Coded for Your Convenience
Lindsey StirlingImageSource/MusicRack Focus
Rainbow MotifColour-Coded for Your ConvenienceElemental Eye Colors

alternative title(s): Colour Coded Elements
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