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Colour-Coded Emotions

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Art by Dan Jones for CopyPress. Used with permission.
Losing him was blue like I'd never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you've never met
But loving him was red
Taylor Swift, "Red"

An emotion a character is experiencing can be identified by what colour the character, or whatever they have is or turns in to. A character might turn red when they are angered or embarrassed, yellow when happy, or blue when sad. The background might even change to the same colour the person is. Sometimes, a character will change clothes to reflect what they're feeling that particular day. Someone with an Aura Vision might be able to tell what mood another person is in by the colour their aura emits.

The trope is pretty old as the Seven Deadly Sins originally had colors associated with them. Envy is green (yes, that's where the Green-Eyed Monster trope gets its name), Lust is blue (in some languages, a porno is actually called a "blue film" and a horny person is said to have a "blue mind"), Pride is purple (the color of royalty), Wrath is red, Gluttony can be pink or orange, Greed is gold, and Sloth is light blue or cyan.

Here's a list of colours commonly used to identify several emotions:

  • Red: Anger, embarrassment, passion, or lust.
  • Blue: Shyness, sadness, or calmness.
  • Yellow: Cowardice, happiness, or caution.
  • Green: Disgust, envy, friendliness, or greed.
  • Purple: Pride, fear, or courage.
  • Orange: Energy, optimism or enthusiasm.
  • Grey: Depression, regular sadness, or stoicism.
  • Black: Coldness or mournfulness.
  • Pink: Cheeriness, embarrassment, love, or lust.
  • White: Shock, fear, coldness, or mournfulness.

Supertrope to:

A subtrope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. See also Blue with Shock, Colour Failure, High-Pressure Emotion, and Living Mood Ring.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • Oni Embodiments: "A" and "Um" respectively represent each side of the Red Is Violent vs. Blue Is Calm contrasting duality. "A" is standing in a mid-scream, ready-to-fight pose, as it confidently grips its club with one hand. By contrast, "Um" holds a contemplative, restrained pose; resting its hands on its club, closing its eyes, and leaning its head down.
  • Aza Smith's portfolio Grindhouse and Watercolors:
    • "Suicide — Blue" shows depression, using blue as the color of tears.
    • "Homicide — Red" shows rage, using the color of blood.
    • "Genocide — Yellow" shows apathy, using the color of bile and poison.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Emotional Spectrum, which associates a specific color to an emotion, and these emotions are what power up the lantern rings. Red is Anger, Orange is Greed, Yellow is Fear, Green is Willpower, Blue is Hope, Indigo is Compassion, and Violet is Love. There is also White and Black, representing Life and Death itself.
    • The Phantom Ring enables the user to tap into the entire spectrum. A Phantom Lantern's powers and appearance change to match the Corps of whatever their emotional state is at the time.
    • Ultraviolet, part of the invisible emotional spectrum, seems to be associated with shame and self destruction.

    Fan Works 
  • Diaries of a Madman:
    • Water elementals shift colour according to their mood.
    • Within the dream realm, dreams are coloured according to the type of dream it is, and the emotions of the dreamer.
  • Domoverse: Caroline sees emotions this way.
    • Dark Red: Murderous Rage
    • Baby Blue: Safety
    • Black: Hate
    • Green: Happiness
    • Dark Forest Green: Jealousy
    • Orange: Fear
    • Sunny Yellow: Playful/Happy
  • Hunters of Justice: Raven's Emoticlones are met when the heroes have a Journey to the Center of the Mind. In a non-canon chapter, Ruby meets her own Emoticlones. Unlike Raven, Ruby's clones wear the signature colors of people in Ruby's life whom she most associates with the given emotion.
    • Knowledge: White for Weiss.
    • Bravery: Yellow for Yang.
    • Timidity: Purple for Blake.
    • Joy: Green for Penny.
    • Rudeness: Dark red for Qrow.
    • Love: Red, blue, and gold for Wonder Woman.
    • Anger: Black for Batman.
    • Hope: Red and blue for Superman.
  • The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time Novelization: Fairies' colours can change depending on their mood, most often portrayed by Navi. So far:
    • Red: Anger, sense of danger.
    • Yellow: Fear, attention-grabbing. Navi uses this colour when Link targets an enemy, as she is trying to grab his attention), as explicitly said in the seventh chapter.
    • Neon Green: Shock.
    • Pink: Possibly love or care, since Navi is rather embarrassed when she noticed her pink glow for the first time.
  • With This Ring: The Emotional Spectrum, as originally from the Green Lantern. Interestingly, the SI's thoughts and speech are often coloured Orange, and on occasion, the other colours of the spectrum. The Green Lanterns also demonstrate this, but so do other characters who feel particularly strong emotions.
  • Triptych Continuum: There's a spell that detects intents of spells, as seen in the second chapter of Triptych, which visualizes a given spell as a specific color thematically related to the intent behind it:
    her field flared as the spell picked up the traces of power, changed color to reflect intent.
    But not from her own steady pink to the typical angry red displayed by a dedicated arsonist. Shimmering gold, slightly metallic with just hints of sparkles around the edges, nearly invisible in the warm gleam of soft yellow. A color she'd never personally seen before, one she didn't associate with a deliberate burn.

    Films — Animation 


  • The album artwork for David Byrne's Feelings assigns different colors to four different emotions: blue is neutral, red is angry, green is exasperated, and yellow is happy.
  • Blue Train, by John Coltrane. The album cover is blue, just like the title and the title track. Coltrane is shown contemplating, suggesting he's feeling blue.
  • Blue (Joni Mitchell Album) by Joni Mitchell has a blue colour for the same reason as the album example above.
  • Colors, by Halsey, discusses the color gray, its relation with depression and how that all affects Matty Healy from The 1975.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: A storm drake's scales shimmer gold when it's happy, have a pearlescent shine at rest and turn dark gray when it's angry.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Used for humor in Swirling Spriggan, a card that can alter other creature cards' color identity and whose flavor text mentions it leaving a patrol "red with anger, green with envy, white with fear, and painfully black and blue". Otherwise averted, however: emotions fall strictly under Red, though characters aligned with other colors obviously feel emotions.
  • New World of Darkness: Characters with Aura Vision can identify people's emotions by the colours in their auras.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000: The four Chaos gods are the embodiments of a specific emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is red, Tzeentch (hope) is blue, Slaanesh (desire) is either pink/purple, and Nurgle (despair) is green.

  • The LEDs on an iDog's face indicate its mood; if they're green, it's happy, if they're yellow, it's feeling alright, and if they're red, the iDog is angry.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney: Athena Cykes has Widget, a necklace computer that aids her in reading the emotions of others and defaults to her own emotions: red for anger, green for joy or happiness, yellow for shock or surprise, and blue for sadness or fear.
  • Borderlands 3: In the DLC "Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck", Krieg's personalities are split between a red version that represents his psychotic side and a blue version that represent the remnants of his sanity.
  • Detroit: Become Human: The androids have circular LEDs in their right temples. Blue is their default color, yellow is for when the android is deep in thought or wirelessly interfacing with other androids, and red is for danger, stress or critical damage.
  • Fallout 2: With the Empathy perk, you see responses that will get a calm reaction in blue, ones that will anger the other person in red, and neutral ones in the regular green.
  • Golden Sun uses little emoticons to represent character's emotions, which are red for angry, yellow for happy, and blue for sad.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: CYAN's complex hologram turns yellow when she experiences fear or anxiety, white when she's sorrowful, and green when deep in thought.
  • OMORI: Each emotion is associated with a particular color. Happy is yellow, Angry is red, Sad is blue, Neutral is black and white, and finally Afraid is pure black.
  • The Sims 4: The various emotional states that Sims can enter are each represented by a color: red for angry, orange for tense, yellow for embarrassed, reddish-orange for uncomfortable, green for happy, neon green/yellow for energized, light blue for inspired, blue for confident, dark blue for sad, dark purple for scared, purple for focused, light purple for dazed, magenta for playful, pink for flirty, grey for bored, and fine has no color at all. Aliens will glow in the color of the emotion they are feeling, even when in their human disguise.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: The Emotional Affliction system has Red is Rage, Blue is Fear, Green is Panic, Gray is Despair and Yellow is Joy.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Sith Warrior and Inquisitor, classes that draw their power from rage, glow red when using their "recovery" move. Jedi doing an equivalent move glow golden or blue instead.
  • Super Princess Peach: Peach's vibe powers are represented by colored hearts: Yellow for joy, green for calmness, red for rage and blue for sadness. On the same vein, enemies will be colored the corresponding color when they are affected by one of the vibes.
  • Zoo Tycoon: Your animals have colored emoticons appear over their head to indicate their mood at certain times.

  • Captain Ufo: In the second season, Celeste wants to interrogate a comatose prisoner, so she enters his mind thanks to Dr. Marcuus' machine. The environment is usually a white-ish void, but memories are colour-coded (given the situation, red or blue/violet for anger and sadness).
  • Superline: Erin's emotion manipulation powers allow her to create physical manifestations of emotional energy, and each emotion has a specific color. As a subset of this power, she also has eyes that correspond to the same colors.

    Web Animation 
  • Hanazuki: Full of Treasures: This is applied to the Moonflowers (specifically, the white parts of their bodies), their Alterling companions, and their Treasure Trees: Red for feistiness, orange for wackiness, yellow for happiness, lime green for fear, dark green for mellowness, emerald for jealousy, blue for sadness, teal for glamor, purple for bravery, lavender for inspiration, pink for love, raspberry for hope, and black for despair.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: In one episode, the characters are enchanted by colored gemstones which instil them with corresponding emotions — blue for depression, green for envy, yellow for fear, etc.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: An episode where Jimmy gets banned from the science fair features a device that detects emotion through colour and music genre. For instance, when Cindy feels happy, the device shines yellow as it plays a sunny tune; when she spots Jimmy and gets angry, the colour turns red as the music shifts to heavy metal; and while she feels regret and accidentally puts her hand on the device, it turns blue and plays, well, blues.
  • Elena of Avalor: Starting with "The Magic Within", the magic inside Elena is boosted after she falls into the crystal well at Takaina. Whenever Elena feels a strong emotion, her red dress changes into a certain color, and a magical mishap happens based on the emotion.
    • Orange: Anger, throwing and levitating nearby objects and people and bringing inanimate objects to life and making them behave destructively.
    • Yellow: Happiness, inducing happiness in people and making them want to dance with her and bringing a floating model of an alpacamundi to life with a giddy personality.
    • Cyan: Calmness, undoing any damage done by Elena's anger or anxiety.
    • Blue: Sadness, causing rainstorms and others to cry with her when she cries.
    • Purple: Anxiety, makes objects spin out of control.
    • Gray: Self-doubt, causes the walls to close in on her if she's in a room.
    • White: Peace or forgiveness, strong enough to undo the damage done by the Shadows of the Night in the series finale.
  • Kim Possible: The Moodulator, a device that changes emotion, is coded by colour. E.g, yellow for happy, blue for sadness, pink for love, and red for rage.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: When Yang gets his emotions blasted out of him, they're represented as tiny, colorful ghosts. Happiness is green, sadness is blue, anger is red, fear is yellow, sarcasm is orange, and so on.
  • Tom and Jerry: In the short film, The Milky Waif, Tom turns into the yellow coward that he is as Jerry makes an EPIC Roar Before Beating... cue the Curb-Stomp Battle shortly afterwards.

    Real Life 
  • Certain animals that can change the colors of their skin often do this to display their emotions to others of their species or to potential predators. For example, chameleons will become brighter when they're feeling excited or black when extremely agitated. Squids take this a step further by rapidly changing colors to display to potential mates, warn rivals or even disorient their prey.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Color Coded Emotions


Inside Out

The five Core Emotions have distinct colors: Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Disgust is green and Fear is purple.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ColourCodedEmotions

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