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Highly-Conspicuous Uniform

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Bright colors + large sigil = Shoot me!

The uniforms of the Imperial Guard are camouflaged in order to protect their wearers by hiding them from sight. The principle is that what the enemy cannot see he cannot kill. This is not the way of the Adeptus Astartes. A Space Marine’s armour is bright with heraldry that proclaims his devotion to his Chapter and the beloved Emperor of Mankind. Our principle is that what the enemy can see, he will soon learn to fear...

In Real Life, soldiers on duty will usually wear fatigues. These combat uniforms are designed for many practical needs, including a lack of highly-visible markings or bright colors to help the soldier blend into the environment better. This results in fatigues crafted in either a neutral monochrome or a camouflage pattern, with the flashy dress uniforms reserved for ceremonial purposes. Officers wear the same outfits as enlisted men (except for the rank insignia) so that they can't be singled out by the enemy.

In fictional works (especially visual ones), this line of thinking gets thrown out the window, causing the Redshirt Army and the Evil Minions to charge into battle wearing uniforms that turn them into walking targets. Leaders and Officers are even worse, often charging into battle with elaborately gaudy outfits to emphasize their leaderness. Despite such recklessness, the wearer never suffers any negative repercussions for doing so (or at least no more than those offered by some other tropes).

Still, the setting may justify doing away with visual camouflage, especially in cases the enemy doesn't depend on human spectrum vision to target the opponents, be it using infrared, echolocation or some kind of Aura Vision (or just different visual recognition patterns, because most camouflages are adapted to deceive the human perception). Another justification is (ab)use of civilian equipment like a Hazmat Suit or a cargo manipulation exoskeleton in combat.

This trope typically manifests in the following ways:

  • Bullseye Badge: The uniform has a highly-visible, easily-targeted symbol of their organization in a vulnerable location, such as the upper torso or on their helmets. The Laws and Customs of War require soldiers to wear a symbol that visibly separates them from civilians, but not to such ridiculous extremes. Some works will attempt to justify this trope by saying the badge is intended to draw fire to an armored portion of the ensemble. Often occurs due to Sigil Spam.
  • Highlighted Hue: The uniform is a single bright color that's entirely inappropriate for their environment, such as neon orange in a night mission. Contrast with real-world armies, which issue fatigues of different shades and/or patterns to troops based on the combat terrain. Merchandise-Driven works are especially prone to this, since brightly-colored toys sell better.

Of course, it's entirely possible to combine both instances into one huge Uniform of Impracticality, as seen in the trope illustration.

In historical works taking place before the time around World War I, this is Truth in Television, as a lot of armies really did wear ridiculous uniforms back then; uniforms with adaptive coloring didn't become widespread until the twentieth century. France in particular didn't adopt some sort of camouflage for regular soldiers until 1914. Indeed, using bright colors to aid identification of allies during combat made a lot of sense at the time, given that muskets tended to be extremely inaccurate at distances over 100 yards and a lot of the combat infantry fire was conducted at even closer range. Meanwhile the commanding officers had to know where their units were, which was the reason why even units with less conspicuous uniforms (e. g. Russians dressed in dark green, Prussians dressed in dark blue, Swedes dressed in dark blue or grey, Portuguese dressed in brown) carried large and highly conspicuous colours, standards or guidons. Even when breechloading rifles were introduced in European armies, colored uniforms still served a purpose in identification amidst the gunpowder smoke until smokeless powder was adopted.

Compare Highly-Visible Ninja, Chest Insignia (the superhero version of the Bullseye Badge), Conspicuous Trenchcoat (the spy and detective version), Bling of War (uniforms that are flashy), Dress-Coded for Your Convenience, and Fashion-Victim Villain.

Note: Examples of individuals with highly conspicuous uniforms (such as Captain America or Batman) might belong under Chest Insignia instead.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aldnoah.Zero plays with this and the Law of Chromatic Superiority. While standard Terran forces paint their Humongous Mechas in typically drab military colors, protagonist Inaho and his companions start out in bright orange training units. Inaho keeps the color scheme even when his mech is upgraded.
  • In several adaptations of Area 88, pilots wear brightly colored flight suits. In a desert environment, they'd stick out like sore thumbs. Which might be the point, since it increases their chances of being found by one side or the other (a mercenary is unlikely to care which, if they're not likely to be ill-treated) before their water runs out.
  • High-ranking members of the Black Organisation in Case Closed usually wear all-black clothing, leading to the organisation's In-Series Nickname. Rather odd, given that it's ostensibly a secret organisation.
  • The Five Star Stories is similar to 40k, in that Super Soldiers get ludicrously flamboyant costumes, while ordinary grunts have realistic uniforms based on actual combat fatigues. The translated sourcebook insert sections in the English editions even describe some of the Real Life inspirations for various pieces of FSS military equipment. Colus, for example, seems to be a big importer of pre-reunification West German surplus.
  • The bright blue uniforms worn by the Amestrian soldiers in Fullmetal Alchemist are definitely eye-catching. Bullet, too, occasionally.
  • Loud uniforms are a recurring element in many Gundam series. Justified in the case of the mobile suit pilots and naval officers, who aren't trying to hide, but played unfortunately straight by other military personnel.
  • Enforced in Heavy Object when the 37th botches a PR stunt on global television. They get a Punishment Detail where the soldiers need to assault ice-locked enemy warships in the Arctic icecap. Their mandatory uniform for this assault on foot across pure white snow against heavily armed emplacements are bright red uniforms with white fur trim; the higher ups really don't like them.
  • France from Hetalia: Axis Powers has a bright blue and red military uniform as opposed to the dull colored uniforms his fellow Allied Forces wear. It's lampshaded in one strip where France wears a boring grey inform instead of his usual one, when England questions why France explains that French army's colorful garb made it ridiculously easy for the Italians to aim at them.
  • In Pumpkin Scissors, Alice Malvin wears a bright orange uniform coat, while her subordinates wear a deep green. Also seen on other junior officers in the series.
  • The World Salvation Committee from Sands of Destruction wears pale blue and white uniforms in a world that's largely desert (including the ocean). They also occasionally wear white bird masks. Of course, these are just grunt-level Mooks. Higher-ranking members like Naja get to wear their own clothes.
  • Averted by the green goons in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, but invoked by their captains. note  The good guys' uniforms are about the same, right down to the bull's-eye insignia.
  • Purposefully invoked in Skip Beat! with its uniform for the Love Me section. It's an overall-suit described to be an eye-searingly bright color, and gets depicted as bright hot pink in color illustrations, so that anyone cannot help but remember this uniform.
  • Subverted in Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online: LLENN wears a full on pink combat suit... which actually does work for stealth in a desert environment (as seen in the manga's opening scene). Truth in Television — in real life, the British SAS used pink land rovers for desert ops. Played straight when she's in a forest and sticks out like a sore thumb (which is why she is often found donning a leaf green cloak to blend in).
  • In Winter Cicada, Kusaka wears one while fighting in the Boshin war. One wonders how in the heck they could even fight with those helmet-hair thingies.

    Comic Books 
  • Many organizations in the Marvel Universe qualify:
    • HYDRA agents wear a bright green/yellow ensemble, sometimes with the organization's logo as a chest patch.
    • The scientists of AIM wear a distinctive bright yellow uniform often lampshaded for its resemblance to a beekeeper's suit.
    • When in uniform, agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wear only slightly less conspicious blue-and-white jumpsuits.
    • The Sons of the Serpent changed their outfits a number of times but usually wore green, often with orange highlights, generally with a conspicuous circle or serpent's head on the chest.
    • The Fantastic Four's original uniforms consisted of a sky-blue suit with a white circular badge featuring the number 4 on the chest. The second one, intruduced during John Byrne's run, wasn't much better: dark blue, but with white gauntlets and boots, and with a similar bullseye badge. Oh, and the only members who did not wear this exact uniform are the Thing and She-Hulk — who instead wore cut-down versions that showed as much of their brightly coloured skin as possible.
    • The original blue and yellow uniforms of the X-Men and the black and yellow ones used by the original New Mutants are two more heroic examples.
    • Speaking of the New Mutants, their former opposite numbers, the Hellions wore black and magenta uniforms (sometimes rendered as magenta and purple).
  • Examples from the DC Universe:
    • Kobra is often depicted as a DC analogue of HYDRA, wearing similar brightly-colored outfits in green, yellow, and orange.
    • The Demolition Team is a band of mercenaries who wear a fearsome ensemble of bright blue shirts and dark blue pants.
    • The members of the various Lantern Corps usually have their Corps sigil across their chest.
    • Interestingly averted by the original version of the Secret Six. Yes, they usually have very bright and distinctive outfits, but when they go on night or stealth missions, the colouration changes accordingly.
  • In a non-organizational example, Marvel Comics' Moon Knight is a nocturnal hero who wears a bright white full-body uniform and cloak. It's usually justified as Moon Knight intimidating his enemies by being highly visible.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side parodied this with a cartoon showing medieval soldiers being issued tabards with a literal bulls eye painted on them.

    Fan Works 
  • Played straight in The Secret Return of Alex Mack; Terawatt wears bright white. It's even stain-resistant. Possibly justified since she's not aiming to be a regular soldier; she's on rescue missions as often as combat, so instant recognition is an advantage, and when she does fight, she's often in her quicksilver form anyway.
  • Zigzagged in With This Ring. The protagonist has strong opinions about sensible costume design, and tends to silently evaluate new heroes when he meets them — often not being very impressed. He persuades Miss Martian to tone down the red 'X', symbol of the Manhunter police organisation, on her torso, and his own armour is grey. On the other hand, his power ring constructs glow orange, quite brightly when he's getting serious, so he's not much good at stealth himself. Superman, meanwhile, explains to him that part of the reason for the bright solid primary colors is so that civilians are reassured and villains are drawn to the more resilient target.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Hicks in Aliens, like most of the Space Marines, wears camouflaged, dark armor... Except he has a bright heart and padlock on his chest. Micheal Biehn , the actor who portrayed him, really did not like this and thought it made him a obvious target, but as he was brought in as replacement for another actor shortly after filming began, it was there to stay.
  • Parodied in Ali G In Da House. Ali and his fellow 'gangsters' go to raid the antagonist's base wearing gear with camouflage patterns. Unfortunately they all choose garish, day-glo colours.
  • Austin Powers: Dr. Evil's legion of Mooks sport large badges with his triangular logo over their left chest.
  • Discussed in A Few Good Men. Three Navy officers arrive at the Marine Corp base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two of them are in Navy dress white uniform, while the third is wearing a far more subdued khaki work uniform. The private that drives them from the airfield mentions to the first two officers that he has some camouflage jackets in the back of the jeep, saying, "If the Cubans see an officer wearing white, they might figure it's something they want to take a shot at."
  • The various troops of Ming the Merciless in the film adaptation of Flash Gordon have assorted fancy uniforms in various shades of shiny gold and bright red (also powder blue and carnation!). The top officers (such as Klytus and Kala) and some of the bridge crew wear a more practical black.
  • Many Mooks in earlier James Bond movies. In most movies, this is averted for good guys (even Red Shirt ones) who do wear realistic uniforms.
    • Most of the SPECTRE mooks wear orange.
    • Sort of averted in Goldfinger, as the mooks wear grey.
    • In Thunderball, two armies of divers fight over a bomb lost in the ocean. One side wore shiny black, the other orange.
    • In You Only Live Twice, Tiger Tanaka's Ninja troops wear gray while SPECTRE's soldiers wear red and yellow.
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Stromberg's mooks also wear orange, as contrast to the British, Russian and US sailors with proper coloring though those mooks aren't proper soldiers, but rather workers and builders with guns for defense. And such workers (like aboard oil rigs) occasionally wear orange, so they could be spotted easily during rescue missions.
    • In Moonraker, Hugo Drax's mooks wear yellow Latex Spacesuit, even on earth. You could say the same for the US marines astronauts, though they do wear suits resembling real astronauts (though with US flag insignia on it).
  • Averted in Max Manus. On their first mission someone wants to know why their commando uniforms don't have the Norwegian flag on the shoulder, but it's pointed out they're posing as British commandos in the hope that the Germans won't retaliate against the locals. After the liberation when they're escorting the King for his Tickertape Parade, Max notes their uniform now proudly shows off their flag.
  • In Operation: Dumbo Drop, the Vietcong soldiers try to avoid this by wearing civvies like everyone else; it fails because, as Cahill points out, "they all got the same damn haircut."
  • In Radioactive Dreams, one character wears a pseudo-military uniform where the epaulets are a row of flashing L.E.D.s. She wears this outfit to the climactic multiway fight IN A DARKENED WAREHOUSE. 'Shoot between the dotted lines' (it is decades since I saw this, so details are unreliable).
  • Anton Arcane's mercenary mooks in The Return of Swamp Thing wear bright orange uniforms in swampy surroundings.
  • The Batman Cold Open of The Soldier (1982) has the Heroes "R" Us dressed in black uniforms and berets, being picked up in the middle of an American city by a Black Helicopter (at least it's very early in the morning) after wiping out a terrorist squad. The whole scene runs on Rule of Cool, so no-one asks why a deniable government dirty tricks team are outfitted like Highly-Visible Ninja. The rest of the movie however they're genuine Rogue Agents, so wear the appropriate civvies.
  • Star Wars: In Return of the Jedi, Imperial Stormtroopers wearing eye-watering white armor (with contrasting black undersuit) in the Endor forest is just as good as wearing a "please, shoot me" bullseye on your chest, suggesting that the guy who runs their marksmanship academy must have also designed their fatigues. Oddly, they do wear more appropriate no-contrast white gear during the battle of Hoth and, incidentally, it's one of the only times we see them winning a skirmish in the films. Popular Fan Wank tries to justify this by pointing to how the stormtrooper uniform is such horrible camouflage because it's meant to intimidate and instill fear in the enemy (or possibly just the locals of whatever planet they're enforcing), but tactically speaking, this makes as much sense as soldiers going into battle wearing their parade dress uniforms. The actual explanation given in the Episode II Visual Dictionary (canon status questionable as of the EU-reboot) is that clone troopers fear no-one and want their enemies to see them coming; in The Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith, and Rogue One there are some camouflage variants seen. Ironically, their stark white uniforms with black bits would have been perfect on Kamino, given the white halls. note 
    • Legends has also stated that the Scout Troopers on Endor were actually Storm Commandoes, an elite special forces unit that typically wears black scout trooper armor. The fact that the wore white on Endor was part of the Emperor’s trap, to lure the Rebel strike team into a false sense of security. And it worked, if the Ewoks hadn’t intervened the strike team would have been executed, the Rebel fleet would have been destroyed.
  • Both sides in Street Fighter. The A.N. wear blue and mauve camouflage (seriously), and the Bison Troopers wear bright red stormtrooperish armor. Ironically, back on base (and during the time Guile actually wanted to be shot) they wear typical olive drab colors.

  • Destroyermen mentions the US Navy practice of dyeing officers' white uniforms with coffee in wartime to make them less conspicuous.
  • Discworld:
    • In Monstrous Regiment, when the squad makes makeshift ghillie-like camouflage uniforms, Sergeant Jackrum refuses, saying it is beneath his dignity and is about as "treelike as a big red rubber ball" in Polly's view. Earlier, she lampshades the impracticality of wearing a bright red uniform in a green, brown, and grey forest when Jackrum grills her on sentry duty.
      Jackrum: Ashamed of your lovely, lovely uniform, Perks?
      Polly: Don't want to be seen dead in it, Sarge.
    • Jingo also lampshades it:
      Vimes: So into this land of sand-colored rocks and sand-colored dust and sand-colored sand you, Willikins, will march with your red and white uniform?
  • In Anne McCaffrey's short story "Duty Calls", the Hrruban officer first appears wearing shades and dyes that would seem to make her stand out a mile away. It is explained that the camouflage was chosen specifically to hide her from the alien race occupying the planet she's infiltrating, since they do not see the same way.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: The Heralds serve as everything from diplomats to special forces. Normally, their all-white uniform is a respected symbol of authority, but the lack of any other option on the battlefield is subject to much Lampshade Hanging. However, it is implied that the Heralds intentionally draw attention to themselves because they're so noble that they would rather be hit than some random soldier, no matter how irreplaceable and tactically valuable they are. The two most militaristic Heralds (a former enemy captain and a former mercenary) wear dark gray instead whenever possible. The regular Valdemar army wears dark blue and silver which are the nation's colors.
    • The standard-issue steeds of said Heralds are no less conspicuous between the indelible white coats, silver hooves, and blue eyes. However, a sentient warhorse with more speed and stamina than anything remotely natural is usually useful enough to make up for it even without factoring in the various psionic and arcane abilities.
    • Part of it is also proof of identity: the stories take place in a pre-industrialized world, so bleach is not easy to come by. Very few people are able to afford a pure white outfit and the expenses involved in keeping it white, which means that it's very difficult for someone to impersonate a Herald, due to the costs involved in faking the uniform. The shades used in Healer Green and Bardic Scarlet were chosen for similar reasons.
  • Commented on by Diana Wynne Jones' protagonist in The Homeward Bounders. Here the characters get transported from world to world at a moment's notice, each world being at different technology levels. On finding themselves trapped in a war zone, Jamie immediately starts to look out to see if uniforms are brightly coloured or mud brown. In terms of civilians trying to go their own way, the former is good, the latter, pretty bad.
  • The marine battlesuits in Invasion of Kzarch are big, black, and not in the slightest inconspicuous. However, to be fair, they do include a camouflage function, which is to be used at all times in a battle zone.
  • Defied in Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally. Enterprise security chief Colin Matlock suggests to Captain Kirk that they may want to eschew their usual Starfleet uniforms for the attack on a Romulan space station (his Red Shirts in particular). They and their Romulan allies go in wearing light gray fatigues.
  • In Pax Britannia novels by Al Ewing, Jake Scorpio and the Agents of S.T.E.A.M. (a parody of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.) wear fluorescent jumpsuits that are apparently "anti-camouflage". When they attract your attention you don't understand how you could possibly have not noticed them, but if they don't your eyes just slide away.
  • The Blue Hordes in the Redwall book Lord Brocktree have their fur dyed blue from head to tail. Then again, they rely far more on numbers and fear factor than camouflage.
  • Safehold: One Army of God general thinks that his Charisian opponents don't understand that the whole point of an officer's uniform is to make him easily seen by his men... then remembers how many AoG officers got sniped by Charisian riflemen.
  • Star Wars Legends has Stormtroopers after Endor use camouflaged armor when on missions that need it. In the X-Wing Series, Stormtroopers on commando/assassination missions wear slate gray armor. Lampshaded at one point, where Imperial troops raiding a jungle village in their shiny whites is taken as proof that they're local militia not Stormtroopers, since "getting whipped by one Wookiee and a bunch of Ewoks persuaded the Empire to institute some reforms".
  • Warhammer 40,000, Duty Calls: Cain snarks regularly about the varied uniforms worn by the Periremundan Planetary Defense Forces. Each plateau of the planet has their own design, and almost all of them are this trope — one plateau issued green and purple striped body armor, with orange fatigues.
  • The Wheel of Time: Justified with Elayne's Amazon Brigade of bodyguards. Their fancy, flashy outfits are intended to make them look purely ceremonial so they'll be underestimated, when in fact they're a Praetorian Guard trained by none other than the Eternal Hero Birgitte Silverbow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy Summers invokes it by goes patrolling in brightly-colored outfits, because vampires are attracted to bright colors, and genre savvy citizens wear muted colors.
  • Parodied in Dinosaurs when the dinosaurs go to war. Their uniforms have the national flag on the back... which just happens to resemble a bullseye.
  • The Alliance soldiers in Firefly got the nickname "purple bellies" from the purple-painted armor they wore on their abdomens. And while the coats that gave the Independent "Browncoats" their nickname would probably help blend into the arid environments of most outer worlds, the red vests they wore underneath would definitely not.
  • Game of Thrones: The Night's Watch wear pitch-black uniforms. This would be reasonable in any other location, but the Night's Watch patrol the North, and when they're out in the snows beyond the thick forests just north of the Wall, they kind of stand out.
  • In Generation Kill, the Marines wear a mixture of desert camouflage BDUs and MCUsnote  while training in Kuwait. In preparation for the invasion of Iraq, they are issued MOPP suits to be worn over their fatigues just in case Saddam Hussein decided to deploy chemical weapons. The Marines are issued MOPP suits in woodland camouflage to their vocal displeasure. The only person given a desert pattern MOPP suit is Rolling Stone and it's rendered unusable almost immediately because it's too small and the Marines have to tear open the crotch because it's painfully squeezing the journalist's genitals.
    • And then there's Rudy's "chicken suit".
  • Stargate SG-1 examples:
    • The Jaffa had the sigil of their god tattooed (or painfully gold-plated) on their foreheads, but it's usually hidden under their armored helmet. The glowing red eyes of said helmet, on the other hand, definitely stand out. However, it makes sense when you realize (as is specifically pointed out from time to time) that the Goa'uld and Jaffa are a "modern" military force solely in terms of technology. In terms of organization and tactics, they're strictly tribal/feudal. Their armies are meant to be seen and feared, to cow people into submission through displays of power rather than through actual ability. When the Jaffa begin to rebel in solid numbers, they begin to accept human-style weapons and tactics because the human way of war is to kill the enemy effectively and efficiently, while, while the Goa'uld way is to intimidate enemies who are either of similar composition or essentially defenseless civilians.
    • Lampshaded in the hundredth episode where a TV show based on the Stargate program is being made. One of the actors asks why the aliens never wear camouflage, and the writer claims that Executive Meddling wanted the aliens "to be seen". The actor argues that an alien wouldn't want to be seen, and Jack points out that this may be why all the aliens are dead. The actor finds this very helpful.
    • The same is true for the Ori armies, whose goal is to show off the glory of the Ori and who use staff weapons similar to the Jaffa.
  • Every incarnation of the Power Rangers and Super Sentai ever. Some series even made the Mooks' sigils be their only vulnerable spot. Zedd's Putties being destroyed by a single punch has been seen as some sort of Lampshade Hanging.
  • Star Trek:
    • The typical Starfleet uniform is a single-color shirt with black trousers. In many situations, representing the Federation is partly shown via uniform-wearing (especially in Insurrection when Picard resigns his commission temporarily). Therefore, if they are acting as diplomats or ambassadors, then they need to be easily identified. Many times in the various series, characters disguised themselves to blend in when on a hostile planet. In the original it was usually via costume, and in the later series surgical alteration was used to transform the characters. However, somewhat justified in that Starfleet personnel, as their name suggests, are on board a spaceship most of the time and are thus in theory unlikely to be personally shot at (though this doesn't explain why away teams didn't wear subdued colors as a matter of course).
    • The later series gradually phased out the bright colors in the uniforms in favor of black and gray, limiting the colored part to the shoulders and eventually just an undershirt. Enterprise also has quite reasonable dark blue uniforms.
    • Starfleet personnel in ground-combat situations sometimes wore a variant uniform where the colour was limited to a shoulder-flash. In the Star Trek Expanded Universe, these uniforms are called Surface Operation Blacks, and the most recent version has even removed the shoulder flash.
    • The Bajoran Militia in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine zigzags this. Garrison-duty Militia officers such as Kira Nerys wear bright colors (red and dark pink for command, gray and green for technicians, orange and blue for medics, gold for security), but Militia on field duty, as seen in "Shakaar", wear grey.
    • Star Trek: Discovery continues to put Starfleet in brightly colored uniforms, now royal blue with metallic accents, but with the twist that they put a black overlayer on when they're expecting combat (it resembles a flak vest). Section 31 operatives also wear distinct black combadges (that also double as communicators decades before this becomes standard). In Star Trek: Lower Decks, it's lampshaded that it's odd for a clandestine organization to announce itself with distinct uniforms.
  • The miniseries V (1983) has this trope relating to the 'visitors' themselves. As the 'visitors' only dressed up as Human Aliens in the first place to appear friendly to humans, it is reasonable for them to not be wearing camo or body armor as that would've rather spoiled that image.

    Tabletop Games 
  • VIPER from the Champions Universe has their symbol prominently displayed on their uniforms. Earlier editions had their heroic counterparts UNTIL doing the same, but the most recent incarnation goes for the more subtle (and more realistic) approach of just putting the badge on their headgear and uniform sleeves.
  • Possible in a game of Warhammer 40,000, depending on how you and your opponent painted your models. There are also canonical examples in the background:
    • The overwhelming majority of Space Marines eschew camouflage in favor of their chapter's color scheme, some of which are rather garish (the Howling Griffons' quartered yellow and red, for example). They're also a fully justified example: Space Marines are inhumanly tough, wear armor that's proof against all but the heaviest weapons and know what their reputation as the God-Emperor's Angels of Death does to enemy morale.
      • Despite this (and the page quote), Space Marine Scouts wear camouflage and less bulky armor (still superior to standard flak though). Justified not only in that they're, well, scouts, but because they're at the very beginning of their careers as Space Marines, and they don't have all the implants or bioaugmentations that allow them to wear their iconic Powered Armor.
      • This overall attitude has begun to shift slightly as of the Indomitus Crusade. All the new Primaris Marines have been outfitted with stealth and reconnaissance training and complements of specialized Vanguard Marines were dispatched to each marine chapter. Notably, Vanguards (especially Eliminators) prefer wearing drab and camouflaged cloaks over their power armor.
    • The countless regiments of the Imperial Guard can play this straight or avert it. The Cadian regiments prefer drab olives and tans or camouflage suited for their current campaigns, while the Mordian Iron Guard is famous for fighting in bright blue dress uniforms. Though in the Mordians' case, this is justified since they come from a night world with a history of weathering Chaos assaults, where the ostentatious uniforms are important for visibility and morale. They also fight in the open in tight infantry blocks instead of using stealth and maneuver, so they would stand out just as much in appropriate fatigues.
    • Eldar warriors can be brightly colored depending on their Craftworld of origin or what Aspect Warrior shrine they belong to, but their Harlequins are some of the most flamboyant units in the entire game. Of course, being able to see a Harlequin is not the same as being able to hit them - as Eldar they are already inhumanly fast and agile, and on top of that all Harlequins fight with anti-grav "flip belts" allowing them to cross the battlefield in great leaps and bounds, as well as holo-fields that turn them into swirls of brilliant colors.
    • Orks may fall under this when they fight under their clan colors (the Bad Moons' traditional scheme is a lurid yellow decorated with black flames, for example), and they also have superstitions about certain colors, so some soldiers paint themselves bright blue for luck (fanon holds that an ork kommando painted purple and orange is the epitome of sneakiness, because have you ever seen one? Of course not! That's how good they are). Vehicles will often be painted red, because as we all know the Red Ones Go Faster. Orks also provide something of a lampshading of the Imperium's use of the trope. Some of the most sought-after additions to a Bosspole are Space Marine helmets and Inquisitor caps, due to coming in a variety of fetching colors.
  • Much more prevalent and justified in Warhammer, the medieval Low Fantasy game. Imperial State Troops wear resplendent uniforms, eye-watering colour combinations under steel armour and hats with very large, colourful feathers. Truth in Television: the troops' style is emulating the Landsknecht mercenary soldiers of 15th/16th Century Europe.
  • The Campus Security in GURPS Illuminati University wear red uniforms with a literal Bullseye Badge, underlining their status as the setting's Red Shirts. Their most common nickname isn't "Targets" for nothing.
  • Some characters and military groups in BattleTech and its expanded universe are guilty of this. In many prestigious units, mechwarriors do not bother putting camouflage on their BattleMechs, such as the Knights of the Inner Sphere painting their mechs a blindingly obvious white or chrome with gold highlights. The 1st Marik Militia likewise uses highly conspicuous liveries - their primary color setup is bright purple with blue and red highlights. However, more pragmatic units and units in the field tend to use more realistic camouflage on their mechs. Infantry, tanks, and aerospace fighters, on the other hand, are generally in more appropriate camouflage. Somewhat justified, as even the smallest actual battlemechnote  is at least eight metres tall and runs off a power source that has a significant thermal signature even when idling, rendering camouflage rather pointless.
  • In Rocket Age it should be pointed out that this is mostly seen in the art of various adventures, rather than the actual text, but it often seems strange to see something like Soviet soldiers wearing Ushankas outside their secret hideout on Mars, which unlike in our reality is an incredibly hot world.
  • Mutant Chronicles: Zig-zagged by the Venusian Rangers, who are famous for wearing pristine, snow-white armor. The fluff claims this is an artifact left over from the (highly useful and realistic) arctic camo the Rangers wore during their first big deployment in Venus' polar regions during the Dark Legion War and is maintained to commemorate the victories won there. It is also mentioned that many Rangers (who are elite assault troops rather than light infantry) believe that they have no reason to try to hide (and given that according to the crunch Ranger armor is completely impervious to small-arms fire and grenade shrapnel, they may have a point), but that many units also paint their armor in more location-appropriate camo schemes rather than maintain the iconic white.

  • Most of the minifigs in Lego sets have bright colors, even the more outright militant sets (licensed properties notwithstanding).

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series
    • The Sumeragi mooks are rather guilty of this, wearing bright-colored uniforms coded for each weapon they're issued with (ironically the mooks armed with homing missiles are the ones with the most sensible color scheme). Justified as they are corporate soldiers rather than military servicemen.
    • Eden Pawns are a subdued example as their uniforms are appropriate for the terrain they are operating in. Only the pawns armed with chain-mines and submachine guns wear yellow and red respectively and even then, the latter are only encountered inside their headquarters helped that some of them are equipped with an optic camouflage that make them ideal at setting up ambushes and infiltration.
  • All the Empires in PlanetSide are guilty of this. The Terran Republic has bright black and red uniforms, the Vanu Sovereignty has shiny purple and green armor, and the New Conglomerate has neon yellow and blue.
    • The sequel makes the default uniforms darker with most uniforms being largely grey fatigues/spandex with faction-colored bodyarmor sections, but players can return to the old silliness with camouflage being a cosmetic that players can buy, to varying degrees of trueness to the definition of camouflage; "Tech" is shiny chrome, and the Valentines Day "Loyal Hearts" camo is a iridescent faction colored camo that is so bright it can be seen from a mile away. You can then further augment your high-visibility camo by wearing the glow-in-the-dark Hard Light cosmetic armor and activating the Lumifiber cosmetic on your vehicles.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic I & II, soldiers of the Old Republic got to battle wearing bright red combatsuits, and the Mandalorians seem to like wearing armor in nearly every color of the rainbow. But both are easily topped by the Sith Troopers and their shining silver uniforms.
  • In Haze, the Mantel soldiers all wear helmets and shoulderpads that glow luminous yellow, with the rest of their armor being dark grey or black. The helmets and shoulderpads also flash red when the user takes damage. In reality, those helmets would only serve as massive targets for their enemies, especially since they'd flash whenever they hit their marks.
  • The dull grey armour in Gears of War would be good for blending in with one's surroundings if not for the colour-coded lights on it.
  • Justified in Xenonauts. As noted in the xenopedia since the color spectrum of the aliens is likely vastly diffrent from humans, camoflauge patterns and their development would likely be just a huge waste of time and money thus the research department decided to use simple blue jumpsuits to make recognising friendlies easier.
  • Halo:
    • Getting The IWHBYD Skull in Halo 3 creates a chance of a Grunt making fun of the Master Chief's shiny armor. Of course, said Grunt is most likely to be in orange, red or white armor.
    • Other Spartans seem to enjoy bright blues and oranges, among many other colors. And that's not just in multiplayer deathmatches either.
    • In general, the Covenant races wear bright-colored armor which becomes ever more ornate as they advance in rank, with Brute War Chieftains and Elite Field Marshals wearing particularly fancy helmets into battle. On the other hand, many of the Covenant forces can cloak (even if it took them a while to figure out how to also cloak those big glowing energy swords of theirs).
  • Half-Life:
    • In the original game, HECU marines are equipped with (among other things) Urban Camouflage BDU, black combat vests with green shoulders, and occasionally helmets with either the Urban Camouflagenote  or M81 Woodland Camouflagenote  pattern or a red beret for squad leaders, even though US Marines don't wear berets. These color schemes, which blend poorly with the game's desert environments, were a conscious choice by the developers in order for the HECU to be more visible to players, especially on the lower-resolution monitors of the time.
    • Also played straight with the Black Ops. Both the female assassins in the base game and the male grunts in the expansion pack Half-Life: Opposing Force wear conspicuous black outfits regardless of where they are deployed, though the former also benefits from an invisibility cloak if you're playing on Hard difficulty. This is lampshaded in the web series Shephard's Mind.
    • The Combine Elites in Half-Life 2 wear bright white armor, probably to emulate Imperial Stormtroopers. They also have a glowing red lens on their helmets.
  • Almost everyone in Evil Genius wear brightly colored uniforms. Your neon yellow workers and the orange military minions are particularly obvious. Enemy spies and agents also come in full dress uniforms, some of them more glaring than others. The game itself is a parody on Spy Fiction movies and series, particularly James Bond.
    • Averted with the social minions, whose goal is distracting enemy agents, making them think the island is just a tourist hotspot. The valets are dressed as bellhops (despite performing all hotel functions), while spindoctors, diplomats, and playboys wear suits (albeit with bright-colored jackets).
    • One mission involves the island being invaded by several groups of Mooks in orange jumpsuits. They're, basically, the worker minions of your rival, minus the hard hats.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Justified according to the prequel novel Mass Effect: Revelation in that there's no real point to actually wearing camouflage anyway. If you're wearing anything even remotely modern, the only way to hide yourself from enemy sensors is to use a full-on Invisibility Cloak system, because everyone's armor is outfitted with sensors able to pick you out. Your enemies will see you regardless of whether you're wearing dull camouflage or bright blue and yellow-painted gear. For this reason, suits with Tron Lines are commonplace, especially among mercenaries; if you can't hide you might as well be visible and intimidating.
    • Phoenix-series armor from Mass Effect is white and pink. White and pink. One of the (female) party members starts the game with it, but you can give it to anyone. Krogan in pink is hilarious. A few others, particularly the ones designed by Devlon Industries, are highly visible outfits. Then again, the Phoenix series is apparently designed for medics, and the Devlon series of armor is designed for construction and utility work in high-risk areas, so it makes sense that they wouldn't be camouflaged.
    • All three of the major mercenary groups in Mass Effect 2 wear obvious uniforms, with the Blue Suns wearing, well, bright blue and white armor, the Eclipse wearing yellow and black armor, and the Blood Pack wearing bright red. The latter being justified as the krogan don't hide from their enemies.
    • Thanks to the armor customization in Mass Effect 2, it's possible to send Commander Shepard into action wearing bright pink. Yahtzee commented on this in his review of the game.
    • Cerberus dresses its soldiers in highly conspicuous white and gold uniforms with clearly visible logos of the organization, in spite of their status as a covert black-ops terrorist group, and the fact that just being a member warrants a prison sentence in Citadel space.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, GDI soldiers wear bright yellow uniforms/armor. Nod troopers wear black and red. Note that in the original game, their respective faction colors were tan and black. Or rather, it was gold and red (just as in Sun), but it was far less prominent on their things, and the cinematics indicated that even that was an exaggerationnote 
  • The Marines of Doom wear quite sensible fatigues, but their body armour comes in Day-Glo Lime Green and Peacock Blue.
  • In Quake III: Arena, you can select from a wide variety of dull brown, gray, and orange skins, though this still does not make them invisible in front of brown, gray, and orange backgrounds. However, there are always some players who pick the bright red or blue team-deathmatch skins all the time. If you are presented with multiple targets, they are the ones you aim at first.
  • The villainous teams in the Pokémon games, while not militant per say, do tend to wear very noticeable uniforms for criminal organizations.
    • Team Rocket tend to wear black uniforms with a big red R on the chest, probably the most inconspicuous; then again, they're probably the most well-known organization in the country they're in, so they'd still be noticed.
    • Team Aqua wear blue and white pirate-like uniforms, Team Magma wear gray and red hooded uniforms, but these two tend to show themselves in public the least out of the villainous teams.
    • Team Galactic are rather well-known and wear typical "space-traveler" uniforms, gray and blue and really make no effort to hide themselves (they've got extremely villainous buildings just standing there in the middle of goddamn cities) and are mostly ignored due to Apathetic Citizens.
    • Team Plasma also make no effort to hide themselves and dress almost like knights, but they are trying to be known in order to convert people to their goals.
    • Team Flare wear very conspicuous bright red suits and style their hair like flames, but this may be intentional as quite a few citizens in the game think they're just some sort of exclusive fashion club as a result.
  • When you dress as the enemy in Space Quest, your uniform has a helmet, but none of the guards on the Deltaur are wearing helmets.
  • In Halo: Reach, Rainbow Six: Vegas, and every other multiplayer FPS with a character creator, most players are normally dressed in gaudy and brightly-colored fatigues and armor.
    • Though Call of Duty: Black Ops prevents you from meddling with the actual uniform, there's nothing to stop you from slapping orange-and-black tiger stripes on your gun, putting a bright pink emblem on it, and then wearing blue face paint.
    • Actually invoked in a commercial for Halo 4, where a trio of players in various shades of neon were laughing it up, saying how you had to make your armor "pop" so that the poor schmuck you just killed knew just who it was that was now tea-bagging you. Then the pre-order special rock-texture camouflaged player walks out from right next to them (having gone unseen the whole time) and takes all three out before any of them knew what happened. "Pop".
  • In Blacklight: Retribution nearly every single soldier wears the same dull grey fatigues, which normally would be great for camouflage in an urban environment...if it wasn't for the bright neon lights all over your body including hands, torso and a particularly helpful pair on the standard helmet indicating the best spot for a headshot.
  • In Team Fortress 2, every class's uniform is brightly-colored around the torso, to draw attention to the weapon they're wielding and to make aiming at them easier.
  • In Alpha Protocol, the secret organization G22 fields field operatives wearing bright red jumpsuits and a very distinctive helmet with glowing night-vision goggles. Given that their modus operandi is supposed to be maximum subtlety and stealth, it's a little jarring.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a significant portion of gameplay revolving around camouflage, and most characters wear sensible fatigues. The Boss, however, wears a highly conspicuous white uniform. Which proves to be excellent camouflage in her final battle in a field of white flowers.
  • Star Trek Online
    • Until season 9, armor visuals were in bright, often shiny colors, with bright red for tactical officers, orange or yellow for engineers, and blue for science officers. However, you can turn armor visuals off, and it's quite possible to customize the uniform underneath to more subdued shades. Armor visuals were made part of the tailor in season 9, allowing for much more variety.
    • Klingon players tend to avert it, as their color palette lends itself more to earth tones and, barring some of the reputation system armors, they didn't get armor visuals (ostensibly because their uniform is itself armor).
    • While Romulan Imperial (NPC) uniforms continue to be quite conspicuous, Romulan Republic (player faction) uniforms are colored a yellowish khaki with gray trim by default.
    • Post-season 9, Cryptic put out an official uniform code based around the "Odyssey" style, with more subdued colors, and changed all the Starfleet NPCs over. Most officers' service (shipboard) uniforms are black with a color stripe, although flag officers get silver or gold braid and commanding officers get white shoulders, while enlisted service uniforms are in gray with colored shoulders. Tactical (field) uniforms are mostly in gray.
  • While Sands of Destruction only introduces us to two members of the World Annihilation Front (your Token Evil Teammate and Love Interest, Morte, and the leader of the Front, Lacertus Rex), and we aren't even told if they have a uniform, Morte's outfit is hot pink. Gameplay and Story Integration has her personal outfits equipped with the trait "War Paint", which makes the enemy more likely to target her. As her stats don't lend her to being a tank (she can dish hits, but can't take them), this means she's likely to die in combat. A lot - luckily Kyrie gets a revive move. Their opponents, the World Salvation Committee, wear pale blue and white uniforms in a world that's largely desert (including the ocean). The one place their uniforms might provide some camouflage, the Winter Isle, is the one place you'll never encounter them.
  • The Galician uniform in Valkyria Chronicles is a blue with red and white stripes design, although the colors aren't as bright as some examples. Special mention for the Bullseye Badge goes to Alicia. Her baker's scarf may be a nice symbol of the life she fights to defend, but in the mean time she's wearing a bright red piece of cloth on her head.
    • Played with in Valkyria Chronicles 4. The Ranger Corps. wear a much more sensible dirt-brown uniform, which is about the best camouflage one could expect in the setting. That falls apart when they end up in the snow, but then they have bigger problems than just being spotted. They eventually get insulated uniforms, with appropriate camo, and even the tank gets a lick of paint to blend in better.
    • Both games have medics wearing bright pink. The fourth game clarifies they're noncombatants and want everyone to know it. It does become a problem in Chapter 13 when a sniper is deliberately targetting medics in violation of the treaty.
  • Splatoon has an interesting case, as players' hair/tentacles and ink are colored bright neon hues that contrasts with the environments of the game. However, the game's main objective is to paint as much of the stage in this same color. Since you can swim in ink of your own color, in addition to allowing for better mobility, areas painted with your ink provide some degree of camouflage.
  • In Disco Elysium, going by the old war veteran René Arnoux, who is Still Wearing the Old Colors, it appears this was very much the case with the old royal army of Revachol. How else can a bright blue jacket with canary yellow markings and an accompanying pair of almost fluorescent orange riding-pants be described? René even acknowledges that taking it into combat during the Civil War might have looked and felt glorious, but it proved amazingly impractical against the rebelling Communists, who in contrast blended much better in in urban envioments due to wearing black and grey fatigues, and the royalist forces suffered for it over the course the war.
  • Ravenfield has the Eagle and Raven factions wearing bright blue and red respectively. Even in the Spec Ops gamemode your small squad is still dressed in bright blue/red, albeit with some extra black gear on top of their normal uniform. The game features downloadable skins so you can dress up your army in more practical uniforms for the environment but they have no effect on the enemy's ability to spot you.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine being set in the same universe as the table top game, naturally plays with this trope the same way. Captain Titus and the Ultramarines play it straight with their power armor being bright blue with gold trim and heraldry. Lieutenant Mira and the Imperial Guard avert it by wearing the standard olive-drab flak armor of Cadian regiments.
  • Elden Ring: The Lordsworn soldiers and knights all wear brightly colored tabards & often decorated helms. In this case, it's for much the same reason historical soldiers did; there were six Lordsworn factions fighting in the Shattering, and they all wore similar armor types, so the distinctive colors kept friendly fire to a minimum. The only faction to avert it were the Mt. Gelmir troops, whose color was black.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
    • The lower ranks in the Imperial Legion wear fairly standard metallic chain and plate armor in darker colors. Higher ranks, however, get into the gold/tan "Templar" armor with bright red accents, the gaudy Imperial Silver armor, and finally the legendary, enchanted (causing it to glow) Lord's Mail typically worn by the highest ranking member in the land.
    • Bouyant Armigers are the Tribunal Temple's elite force, with their members hand-picked by Physical God Vivec himself. Despite operating in desolate areas such as Molag Amur and inside Red Mountain, their very best tend to wear bright green, iridescent, spiky glass armor that really stands out.

  • The Cinnabar Army in Alice and the Nightmare has uniforms that are intensely red and have very distinct — end ever brighter red — visors in their helmets, which... may not be much of a tactically-sound decision.
  • All three armies — Reds, Blues and Yellows — in Gone with the Blastwave wear drab brown coats and gas masks set off by a bright white-and-their-colour helmet, meaning that the most brightly coloured part is the one you least want to be shot in. On the other hand, the world of GWTBW is so crapsack a character not having a death wish is considered a twist, so this could be seen as an advantage.
  • Last Res0rt:
    • Players (the ones without a team, at least) wear white jumpsuits with the logo... right over their freakin' hearts. Well, at least where we think their hearts are.
    • The Executioner's outfits aren't much better, since they're still brightly colored (with the possible exception of Team Equuleus)!
    • The other main fighting force we've seen (the Star Org) has slightly drabber blue/teal outfits, although those berets of theirs make rather nice targets....
  • Sarilho: The Meditans are not afraid to be spotted in battle, apparently.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Lampshaded in this comic. Captain Andreyasn designs a new logo for the company, and some grunt says "From here, it looks like a bullseye in your mass center." While characters tend to wear brightly-colored bulletproof uniforms, they usually change when they know they're going to want to be sneaky. For a mercenary company, being highly visible means being intimidating, and is also viewed as an asset.

    Web Videos 
  • Campfire Stories:
    It blends in with nothing! "UCP" is the camo pattern, which stands for "Universal Camo Pattern", because it universally doesn't blend in with JACK. FUCKING. SHIT.
    • Humvees / APCs has Zach discuss the initial equipment problems the US had in Iraq, and he names issuing woodland camo to the troops as one of the examples.

    Western Animation 
  • The G.I. Joe cartoons and comic books almost always give the various Cobra army uniforms large iconic cobras, ordinarily in bright blood red. The Crimson Guard (who provide the page image) are actually a bit of a subversion, as they're not frontline troops, but Cobra Commander's most elite forces. One has to have a degree in law or accounting to even be eligible to join, although scientists and others with highly specialized, and valuable, skills have been included in the ranks. Siegies, when not serving directly at a Cobra base, are deployed out into the world to infiltrate society, spying on enemies and legally earning money to be funneled back to Cobra. Usually, when you see this uniform, it's within Cobra-controlled territory, and if it's on the frontline, it's likely during a Cobra civil war. That being said, standard Cobra ground troops wear bright blue outfits that fit this trope pretty well.
  • The Autobots and Decepticons always have their corresponding faction sigil visible from the front, usually either on their chest or their limbs. It's fairly unsurprising that The Masquerade in any given series will last about five minutes.
  • The Henchmen of The Monarch in The Venture Bros. wear bright yellow and black uniforms with ridiculous oversized butterfly wings on the back. The idea seems to be pretty much standard-issue with supervillains; the only henchmen we see wearing camouflage are those working for Sergeant Hatred, who has an army theme.
  • Agents of M.A.D. often wear jumpsuits with the M.A.D. logo emblazoned on the chest in public. Despite this, Inspector Gadget never realizes that they are his enemies. Then again said agents include three specific mooks that are ALWAYS there and Gadget doesn't recognize them either, so odds are Doctor Claw knows there's nothing to worry about.
  • In a Family Guy cutaway, Peter is shown in combat in the jungle in full clown mode, including face paint. He tells the other soldiers "You guys are stupid. See, they're gonna be looking for army-guys."

    Real Life 
  • The British Redcoats, who wore bright red uniforms with white crossbelts. This was before camouflage was much of a factor in warfare. The bright red color helped commanders keep track of troop movements amid smoke-covered battlefields. The color also blended together when British troops stood together, making it difficult for enemies to count their numbers.
    • British uniforms subverted this trope on long enough deployments. Between the dirt they picked up and the fading of the cheap dye used for enlisted men's uniforms, they would wind up khaki after a year or so of field wear. This is why the British turned to khaki when they abandoned the red.
  • Musicians (fifers and drummers especially) were often uniformed in the reversed colors to the regular soldiers (British musicians would have coats of their unit's facing color faced in red for example). The reason was simple, so the officers could locate them (the musician was the equivalent of a radioman, drumbeats carried better than voices). Trumpeters especially would also occasionally be sent towards enemy lines bearing messages or to accompany an officer sent to parley with the enemy. Here conspicuousness was also a desired effect.
  • The French continued their use of the Highly Conspicuous Uniform into the early days of World War I, when the British and Germans had switched to more practical khaki and field grey, respectively. The French had considered alternative colors, but the problem was that they would have had to buy dyes from Germany. However, the story of bright uniforms is exaggerated, with most frontline troops having more reasonable uniforms. The Conspicuous Uniforms were mainly Reserve or Dress uniforms that were pressed into service because of an extreme dearth of proper ones.
  • Whilst the uniforms were camouflaged in WWI, it was a considerable time before Officers' rank marks were removed from the cuffs. A lot of Officers were shot gesturing with a hand above trench-level before rank markings were moved to a more discreet location on the shoulders.
  • While German armies were intelligently camouflaged, this was not so with their air force. Germany's premier pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, popularized the idea of painting aircraft with bright colors for quick recognition from friendlies when he painted his own aircraft red.
    • But then military airplanes that were painted to camouflage them were painted to be camouflaged while standing on the ground. The paint jobs generally were not that useful in flight, while especially for flying in larger formations - like Richthofen's "Flying Circus" - the leader(s) had to be easily identifiable by the rankers, especially because communication had to be done optically (hand-signals, waggling wing-tips etc.) before the introduction of radio communication between the pilots in the inter-war era.
  • Some French soldiers in World War II had the "Bullseye Badge" variant. A special patch, worn on the chest, over the heart, represented the bleu, blanc et rouge of the French flag as a circle with a blue rim, a white inner circle, and a red dot in the center—that's right, a literal bullseye target.
  • In a more modern situation, the US Air Marshals, whose entire purpose was to sit anonymously on planes so that potential hijackers or terrorists wouldn't know if there was one on board, were for some time required to dress in business attire, even if everyone else on the plane was dressed looking like they were ready to hit the beach. Even more insanely, they were required to show their ID at the gate and get on the plane before the other passengers. After this was publicized in the media by air marshals who'd been complaining that undercover agents should actually try to be undercover, they changed the rules. At least one marshal, before the rules were changed, decided to use these rules to his own advantage. Since it was practically impossible to be incognito, he would make a deliberate effort to stand out, making it clear that he was the marshal of the plane, so that if anything did go wrong, his partner at least had a chance of being ignored.
  • Real life Bullseye Badges: Allied tanks after the invasion of Normandy carried the US white star on their sides. When a lot of destroyed allied tanks were found to have a neat hole punched in the middle of said star, they were drabbed-down with mud or paint.
    • German vehicles at the time of the invasion of Poland had a national insignia that was a white cross (on dark grey vehicles). After discovering that Polish troops used the cross as a target marker, the white cross was first overpainted with yellow, then later with a black cross painting out the middle of each arm leaving four white corner angles, then went off into lower-visibility variations.
    • Modern air forces mostly have two-tone grayscale versions of their "official" roundels and insignia. Compare the two on the page for the Royal Australian Air Force on The Other Wiki.
      • Two other examples would be the RAF Roundel where peacetime it was Red, White, and Blue but during WWII they made the white either very narrow or left it out and the BIG Red Rising Sun on the flight decks of Japanese aircraft carriers. In fact, in Midway, one of the bomber pilots aimed directly at the big red spot on the Hiryu and hit it.
      • In late 1944 and 1945, more and more British naval assets were deployed to the Pacific to join in the war on Japan. Hard experience, of trigger-happy American gunners who shot at any red circles, suggested that it would be a really good idea for British aircraft to lose the red circle in the middle of the roundel. Thus royal Navy carrier aircraft were distinguished by a blue and white roundel only.
      • Note that until partway into WWII, the roundel used by American planes was a blue circle with a white star and a red circle centered in the star. Guess why American warplanes no longer have a red circle in their roundel?
    • Played straight with the "invasion stripes" used by the Allied air forces during the Normandy invasion. Of course whatever remained of the Luftwaffe in the area was a far smaller threat than friendly fire, so pretty much Justified.
    • "Stripping the paint" for aircraft in WW2. The British and Luftwaffe scorned it because it made the aircraft shiny and blatantly obvious. The US 8th Air Force simply didn't care; more than once it was actually suggested that they wanted enemy aircraft to find them, so the enemy would engage and be destroyed.
      • The actual reason for using the minimal bare-metal finishes on the American planes, of course, was that it was cheaper and faster to build and deploy the aircraft if they didn't waste time painting them first. It was also pointed out that the olive-drab favored by the Army didn't exactly blend in with the skies of Western Europe to begin with, which was where the Germans tended to run into them anyways.
      • There was also the point that the coat of paint actually reduced performance (because it added weight) - an unpainted B-17 was 8mph faster than a painted one and an unpainted P-51 was up to 16 mph faster. Also, the olive drab was primarily of value in making aircraft parked on airfields less visible to people attacking that airfield - in WW2, by 1944, US airfields weren't often attacked. These days camouflage is primarily aimed at optically-guided missiles.
      • During the Cold War, US Navy aircraft usually had a base coat of white paint, with various attractive color schemes. Beginning in the late 1980s, the US Navy began moving to a low-visibility gray scheme on all aircraft, with the idea meant to reduce visibility in dogfights (for Tomcats and Hornets, seen here) and for some measure of camouflage for support assets (i.e. helicopters). Because of the unpopularity of the move, in order to have its cake and eat it, the Navy allows the certain aircraft in each squadron to be painted in a special high visibility color scheme. The development of radar means that visual camouflage is no longer as critical as it used to be, but it can still be useful in a dogfight, with both pilots relying on the Mark 1 Eyeball.
    • The Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy faced the same problem with their planes having big red dots, which were used as bullseyes by American planes. The IJN arguably was a worse offender, given their planes were painted bright white.
      • In a compensating move, Allied forces revised their markings. The prewar US aircraft marking had a red circle in the middle of the white star. This was removed in 1942 after it was discovered that overeager pilots would fixate on the red dot and attack any aircraft displaying a red circle marking, even if it was only part of a larger marking; the RAF/RAAF similarly painted over the central red dot of their insignia with white for aircraft in the Pacific theater.
      • Many US Navy dive bomber pilots in their after-action reports would indicate that they used said Japanese hinomaru [rising sun] symbol on the decks of Japanese aircraft carriers as convenient aiming points for their payloads.
  • The Cold War offers a particularly grim example: The strategic aircraft (bombers and the interceptors designed to fight them) of many nations were often painted glossy white. Called "anti-flash white," this color scheme was applied because white is the best heat reflector and it was expected that these planes would be flying near nuclear explosions if they went into combat.
  • The cockade used by the enlisted men of the Finnish Defence Forces has been a literal blue-and-white bullseye for the longest time. It's the butt of quite a few local military jokes.
  • If the enemy is unscrupulous, medics and civilian emergency vehicles still have this problem. While the main reason for putting big red-on-white crosses/crescents on medical assets is to proclaim they're not a threat and to encourage the enemy to direct their attacks elsewhere, the conspicuous markings can indeed backfire if the opposition suspects a Trojan Horse. And yes it's still illegal to give weapons to medics featuring The Red Cross, which is the second reason the Red Cross is barely seen anymore.
    • This Bill Cosby routine sums up the disadvantages of being a conspicuous wartime medic pretty well.
    • Similarly, World War II American officers had a particular white marking on their helmets, which officers at the time would go out of their ways to smudge with mud to hide. It was noted once that Tom Hanks's character in Saving Private Ryan, for instance, would have in real life known better than to leave a bright white "I'm an officer, snipe me!" mark on his forehead.
  • Inverted Trope at times during War On Terror operations in Afghanistan. Special Operations Forces troops sometimes have as their assigned mission to blend in with, gain the confidence of, train, and fight beside native irregulars. To that end they wear native dress, let their hair grow (to an extent) and grow beards (to the Afghan tribesmen a beard denotes manhood). Occasionally a Pentagon commando general officer will take it upon himself to try and make them "...present a more military appearance..." by ordering said troops to shave, get haircuts, and wear "proper uniforms". Such an order is invariably ignored by the field troops if their chain of command passes it on and doesn't just bury the order somewhere in the piles of paperwork any modern army generates.
    • Meanwhile, some Canadian troops in the early months of the war in Afghanistan were issued green/brown "temperate woodland" camouflage, due to a lack of beige/brown "arid region" uniforms.
    • Similarly, a number of British and US troops had to make do with jungle-pattern camouflage BDUs during Desert Storm, as there weren't enough desert-pattern fatigues in storage and the jungle-pattern was at least designed for hot weather.
      • Until Multi Terrain Pattern uniforms were issued to the British Army, British troops in Afghanistan had to wear a mix of Desert and Woodland camouflage, as Helmand province's terrain can quickly go from green to brown and back again.
    • Training gear used by many non-deployed military units will give off the impression of either this or a poorly-equipped Ragtag Bunch of Misfits due to various mismatching camo patterns on the gear. Seeing an airman in the grey tiger-stripe ABUs, with a woodland camo BDU patterned kevlar vest, and a sold green helmet (or even a helmet colored with the Army's ACU digital camo) can be a sight to behold, even before they then don a bright reflective belt for safety's sake. Remember, of course, that old gear is often used for training, while they would save the newer stuff for when they actually need it.
  • Soviet penal battalions in World War II reportedly made to exploit this trope sometimes to act as decoys (e.g., being dressed in dark uniforms in a snowy environment to draw enemy fire to themselves instead of regular Red Army units). Yes, the people who ordered they do that didn't care about their chances of living.
  • The United States military combat uniforms (the Army Combat Uniform, and before it, the Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Combat Uniform) all feature a patch with a reflected United States flag on their right shoulder note  When deploying into a location where red, white and blue blend in poorly, it's switched out for a less visible monochromatic version.
  • The US Army's infamous "Universal Camouflage Pattern", a grey-ish mess of a bad idea that fit in absolutely nowhere. A picture of a soldier laying down on a couch that actually matched the pattern went memetic, sometimes captioned as 'It finally blends in with something!". The Army eventually issued MultiCam, an actually-universal camo pattern that lost to UCP, for troops in Afganistan starting in 2010, and eventually phased UCP out completely in favor of its own MultiCam knockoff.
  • The Swiss Guard both plays this straight and subverts it. The official, well-known uniform is colorful as a peacock. The work uniform is much more practical.
    • Not to mention that looking like a Renaissance Faire reject is a great way to sucker a would-be papal assassin into dismissing you as harmless window-dressing. At least, until you pull a modern sidearm out of those poofy sleeves...
      • This tradition goes all the way back to the original medieval Swiss mercenary bands, who wore very colorful uniforms to announce their presence to their enemies and hopefully demoralize them with their badass reputation.
  • Admiral Horatio Nelson wearing one of these led to his being shot by a French marksman at the cusp of his greatest victory at Trafalgar, although what rendered him conspicuous was probably less his officer's uniform than the decorations he wore.
  • The US Navy loves this trope:
    • Dress uniforms (the blue and the white sailor outfits) are explicitly meant to attract attention and their antique style stands out far more than other services, plus they tend to be required in any sort of public relations arena where other services still wear less formal uniforms.
    • The Navy Working Uniform or NWU type I, worn from 2008 until 2019. Similar to the digital style of camouflage worn by the Marines, with a digital pattern of the standard fatigue design, the NWU was meant to evoke the style of tactical gear worn by other services. All well and good except for the color, a blend of blue and grey. For extra mileage, officers and senior enlisted had spots of gold coloring on them. Arguably subverted however, NWUs are meant to be worn in a shipboard or industrial environment and are designed not to hide the sailor, but to hide any paint or oil stains the uniform accumulates. Thus, while they might "look" more military than the utilities they replaced, they would have been almost useless in an actual tactical environment. Not to mention that it's pointless for a ship's crew to camouflage themselves.
      • This was replaced between 2016 and 2019 with the NWU Types II and III, uniforms of the same cut and general pattern, but different coloration. They also improved the pocket layout, buttons/velcro, and a variety of other features.
      • They ended up looking almost exactly like Russian riot police (OMON) in their white-blue-gray "city" camo.
    • US Navy flight-deck crews work in an environment which is loud, dangerous, often poorly lit, and very busy. Since being spotted by the enemy is not an issue, the various work groups wear brightly-colored jerseys in a rainbow palette, so they can easily spot and identify each other and their role.
    • Averted with the parts of the Navy (like the Seabees and SEALs) who work where they might actually get shot at, previously with a copy of the more traditional fatigues from another service, though now with the NWU type II and III.
  • Subverted with Britain painting some recon planes pink during World War II. While they stood out garishly on the ground, when flying dawn or dusk flights the pink was actually the most effective camouflage color. In a similar manner the Long Range Desert Group 'Pink Panthers' look a bit stupid if seen outside of a desert.
    • Similarly-garish was the "dazzle" camouflage of WWI and WWII. Naval vessels were painted with big, blocky intersecting stripes. The point wasn't concealment but rather confusion as the odd lines and shapes made it difficult to determine the range, heading, size, and type of the ships so painted.
      • It turned out that transforming ships into sea-going zebras did not have the desired effect and in World War II this type of camouflage was not attempted again. However, the Royal Navy then did develop a special Western Approaches camouflage where ships were painted mostly white with a few light green and light blue areas. This was actually a pretty effective colour scheme for the North Atlantic.
      • The Japanese navy often used land based camouflage patterns on its sea vessels, making them mostly green. The logic is that a ship will most likely be spotted at sea anyway and this way they could at least conceal ship movements between ports.
      • Some ships used prominent camo on certain parts of the ship and actual stealthy camo on others. The goal here was to disguise them as entirely different types of ship.
  • British police officers are frequently seen wearing bright yellow jackets or tabards with reflective panels over their regular duty uniforms. They provide a highly visible presence while on foot patrol and reduce the chances of being run down by a passing car during traffic stops, but can be something of a disadvantage when trying to approach the scene of an emergency call covertly.
    • Pretty well all police, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency responders are required (or are in the process of and will soon be required) to wear some form of High Visibility Clothing (either as part of the clothing itself, or as a vest worn over it) in situations where they are supposed to be seen. Even, amusingly, military personnel if their duties dealing with civilians require it. Nothing like seeing someone in the latest digital camouflage wearing a bright orange vest with reflective stripes.
    • The current (well, for the past 20 to 30 years in the USA) trend for police to be more "militarized" and wear military style uniforms (either very dark blue or black, or out and out camouflage) conflicts with the idea that police are supposed to be easily identifiable. If someone is pointing a gun at you or breaking into your house, you might think that it would be a good idea for you to be able to instantly identify if they are police or criminals.
  • For many years, the German police forces (aptly named The Thin Formerly Green Line or Senfmännchen (Mustard Men)) wore a somewhat pastel-based assortment of colours on their uniforms, including moss-green jackets, mustard-yellow shirts, brown pants and green or white caps. (Many police officers tended to wear black leather jackets on active duty, which was also permissible). This was for reasons similar to the British lime-green vests, but over the years the Lands changed their uniforms to dark blue, partly on the urging of the European Union to make all European police uniforms dark blue.
  • UN peacekeeping tend to wear rather ordinary fatigues, but with sky blue helmets (Commonly with "UN" in white letters) and berets. Also, all their vehicles, including tanks, are painted bright white, with UN or the UN logo on them.
    • Some units of the British Armed Forces, most notably the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines, have equally vibrantly-coloured berets as part of their uniform. These are often worn on foot patrols during counter-insurgency operations, partly because civilians find them less intimidating than helmets but mostly because the Taliban -and the IRA before them- have learned that those berets mean serious professional opposition.
  • According to an urban legend, around the time of the Vietnam War, some high-ranking idiot(s) in Taiwan's military had the bright idea of making their newly-bought tanks look more impressive by painting over the camouflage paint job... with metallic paint of the sort one might see on a brand new Ferrari. By the time their superiors found out, it was too late and the repainting was already done. So when those superiors told them what a stupid idea it was, they sanded off the paint, including the original camouflage paint, leaving the shiny metal underneath exposed. Hardly an improvement.
    • Out of desperation, some Soviet tanks produced during WW2 were sent to the battlefield unpainted. This was for various reasons including production time, likelihood of survival regardless of whether it was painted, and simple unavailability of appropriate or sufficient quantities of paint. Famous instances included the Siege of Leningrad and the defense of Stalingrad, in which the front line was a short drive from the factory gates - or in Stalingrad's case, ultimately within the factory itself. Those unpainted tanks which survived for long enough built a patina of rust, mud, and dirt which was almost as effective as painted camouflage.
    • In besieged Leningrad, there was hardly any conventional green paint for military vehicles built at the local factories. As a Red Navy base, what the city had in abundance was battleship grey in various colours. Therefore tanks and vehicles on the Leningrad front were seen in two or three-tone grey camouflage schemes, which in a local context worked effectively.
    • For similar reasons, British forces in Egypt in 1940 - a backwater low down the supply chain where it was thought a war would be least likely to break out - had practically no desert yellow paint. A massive influx of material from Britain, sent out to defend against an Italian threat, was in its European green. No yellow paint was sent out. Surplus paint held by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force was scrounged and the Caunter Scheme was devised to make the most of a bizarre assortment of colours. British tanks and weapons were seen in a geometric pattern using up to six colours, including battleship grey, sky blue, chocolate brown, khaki, green and ship's pale grey. What is most surprising is how well it worked in the desert.
    • The first units of the German Afrika Korps also had to make do with European-style camouflage early in the campaign, for both their vehicles and uniforms. The OKH (Army High Command) originally figured that since just one of its 30 mobile (panzer and motorised) divisions would be operating in the African desert, there was no point in going to all the expense of ordering in special paint for it in any particular hurry. When Hitler took special interest in that panzer division's performance, and a full four of Germany's mere 250 infantry divisions were sent to North Africa to reinforce it, they made the necessary arrangements.
  • The "Red Devils" of the Sengoku Jidai were so called because they wore bright red lacquered armor, unlike the brown or black armor of most samurai. Their leader, Ii Naomasa, received a bullet wound at Sekigahara, possibly due to the conspicuousness of his red armor making him an easier target.
  • Japan Air Self Defense Force pilots and aircrew stationed at Hokkaido wear bright orange flightsuits, deliberately invoking this, to aide in visual search in the event of an ejection over ice-cold water.
    • Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers wear red or orange wetsuits for similar reasons.
  • Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft are typically painted in generic military gray or green (for land-based helicopters), except for planes and helicopters which are specifically designated for search and rescue: they are painted yellow with red trim and a big red stripe. Their crews wear bright orange flightsuits or coveralls, their unit's headgear is an orange beret, the parachutes used by Search and Rescue technicians are bright orange with a black stripe and even their backpacks are orange or bright red. The purpose is to let people in trouble see that the Big Damn Heroes are coming.
    • This is common for dedicated SAR units around the world. The US Coast Guard paints most of its equipment in its most highly-visible colors. CG Red is a shade that's closer to Visibility Orange than anything else, and the Coast Guard's Dolphin helicopters, for example, are painted all CG Red with black and white trim. In Britain, the Royal Air Force uses all-over bright yellow for its SAR units while the Royal Navy prefers battleship grey with the tail-boom and nose in a colour not unlike CG Red, and the RNLI paints its surface craft all-over Visibility Orange above the waterline with a navy-blue lower hull.
    • The Japanese Air Self Defense Force's Air Rescue Wing is an inversion; originally UH-60J Rescue Hawks were painted in a high visibility white on yellow color scheme, but have since moved to a dark blue on blue maritime camouflage scheme.
  • Over the course of World War II the Waffen SS were issued uniform items in a multitude of camouflage patterns which often came in both summer and autumn colours. SS units also adopted camouflage clothing issued to the forces of other Axis nations and even borrowed items from the German army. By the end of the war it was not uncommon for Panzergrenadiers to go into combat wearing trousers, smocks, jackets and helmet covers which were in completely different patterns and colours to each other.
  • Golf even has an iconic example of this. One of the highlights of The Masters, the first major championship of the men's golf season, is the award ceremony in which the winner is fitted with a distinctive green jacket. Even if he's won the event before. Said jacket identifies members of Augusta National Golf Club, the exclusive private club which owns and operates the tournament. All Masters winners become honorary members of Augusta National, giving them lifetime access to the club.note  By club rule, the reigning Masters champion is the only person who can take his green jacket off the club premises. There's a practical reason for this restriction—the members wear these jackets to identify themselves during the tournament.note