Follow TV Tropes


Rainbow Speak

Go To

"Sword and Shield are different colors, so you know that they are two different items."
The Legend of Zelda Speedrun Commentary

An NPC has just told you that you have to retrieve the legendary golden sphere from the ancient dragon. Legends say he's in the Cave of Horrors. To find out where that is, you'll have to ask the Town Sage.

...Yeah, you've all seen this. Important words and phrases are highlighted for your convenience in at least one different color. While the exact first game to implement this is unknown, certain games like Ultima VI (using links in the dialogue to introduce topics of conversation), Final Fantasy, and the opening scroll to Star Wars: A New Hope (putting the DEATH STAR in all caps) come to mind.

This happens mostly in video games, especially those that lack voice acting, but can occur in comics and other media from time to time. The World Wide Web, especially, invokes this for identifying hyperlinks (well, usually). See also: Painting the Medium, Bold Inflation, Notice This, and Color-Coded Speech. Contrary to what one might expect, this is not the binary opposite of Black Speech. Text of this kind lends itself very well to a Dramatic Reading.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • The character names in ElfQuest, being sometimes indistinguishable from regular words (Nightfall, Treestump, Shade, Pool, Ember), are always in bold, which can give a bit of an odd emphasis to speech ("That's better, Moonshade. Now Leetah can get along in the woods"). After this long it's starting to feel a bit like they can't trust the audience to parse regular sentences with unfamiliar names.

    Fan Works 
  • In Divided Rainbow, whenever the story shows a direct POV "flashback" from one of the Swapped Five's "past", the font color switches from black to purple.
  • In KanColle fic Eternity, many of the lines are colored blue or red, a few times just to differentiate the speakers, but most of the time it is used to show the mood or feelings regarding the described subject. In Yonaga's/Enterprise's case in particular, when she really hates something to the point of almost regressing to her old Pacific War-self, the red lines look corrupted via the Zalgo font.
  • With This Ring uses colored text and punctuation to demonstrate connections to the emotional spectrum that empowers Lanterns. If someone is feeling afraid, for example, their words are in yellow. If someone's punctuation is colored, it means that they're entirely suffused with the emotion; either they're going crazy, or we're seeing a ring-projected image of them, or they've achieved emotional enlightenment and understand how that emotion relates to everything.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the closed captioning of Pete's Dragon (1977), the titular dragon's growly noises are all in green, money words are in yellow, and angry words are in red.

  • Many versions of The Bible print all of Jesus's utterances in red font. In many other versions LORD is the translation of Yahweh whilst Lord is just your bog standard godly title.
  • Penn & Teller's book Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends has everything printed in red being a lie. This is part of the schtick that the book has several means that supposedly prevent readers other than the owner from learning all of the tricks.
  • The Familiar has the word familiar in pink, even in different meanings (e.g. familiarity). It also has a few blue houses for good measure.
  • The Geronimo Stilton books highlight a word or phrase once a sentence in different colorful font.
  • House of Leaves always has the word house in blue, Minotaur in red (and crossed out), and a few significant words in purple.
  • Done in-universe in The Light Fantastic: As Rincewind reads aloud the Eight Spells, the words appear in various bright colours. A mispronounced word appears a dirty brown.
  • The Neverending Story uses this to distinguish Bastian reading the book (red) from the actual adventures in the book (green). Only certain editions of the book do this (namely hardcover versions), while the others (paperback) simply use italics.
  • Most titles in the Septimus Heap series present words relating to Magyk in bold, i.e. Queste, Darke, etc.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In certain Fansubs of Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and other Toku shows, especially ones by TV-Nihon, the characters' transformation calls, In the Name of the Moon phrases, and attack names will be in their signature colors (along with signature fonts and motions... good luck actually reading the words sometimes, but they sure look cool and dance real purty, and that's what matters! ...right?)
  • The unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Magnificent Light" has a form of synesthesia that causes him to see the words people speak in the air.note  He came to the conclusion that white letters meant the person was telling the truth and red letters meant they were lying.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, any info on the books you can find that's required to solve a puzzle is highlighted in red.
  • In the Animal Crossing games, your name/nickname is in green, the name of your town is in purple, the names of villagers are orange, and the names of items and other important text are in blue.
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, listening to conversations from civilians will have them mentioning important things in red while stuff for Side Quests are colored blue.
  • The Another Code series uses this lightly, mostly to highlight conversation choices, as do the Kyle Hyde games set in the same universe (Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window).
  • Key terms appear in a different color in Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. In an interesting take on the trope, the player can press a button to bring up a glossary to describe the term in question. The game even points out which terms you've encountered before. Since this is a sequel to a game that was on a different platform, it makes so that the characters don't have to drop quite the level of in-character exposition that would otherwise be necessary.
  • Assassin Blue marks Assassin Blue's and Red's names in blue and red respectively.
  • In Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, when you qualify for one of the Multiple Endings, you get a MeMemo (journal) entry with the phrase "I feel like I've uncovered a whole new future for myself!", and it's presented in Rainbow Speak to emphasize the fact that the phrase is something you should pay attention to.
  • Certain words and phrases you need to remember in the original Banjo-Kazooie tremble and shake in their text box. When Brentilda reveals Gruntilda's embarrassing secrets, the secrets are in an animated wavering font.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm uses this here and there. Actions in the text (like *sigh* and *gasp*) are always written in green, and terms related to the First Internet are often written in red. One_Wing, for his part, speaks in solid gold.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi abuses this quite badly. The colored words are apparently chosen at random. The same goes for its sequel, Musashi Samurai Legend. Not as often, however.
  • Used in the Breath of Fire series, particularly in the second installment, making an already bad localization an eye-gouging chore.
  • In Catherine, some plot-important words are outlined in pink.
  • Cave Story uses a variation of this which few people have seen before: Important words are surrounded by ●bullets●.
  • Celeste uses this for the character names.
  • Used in City of Heroes, particularly in later missions. The user-created story arcs also permit the player to colour text as desired; in fact, one of the people who will give you advice on how to build an arc suggests coloring important information in mission briefings/debriefings to make sure people who only skim the text will see it.
  • Civilization 5 precedes words such as production or science with hammers and beakers, respectively. It doesn't actually color the text, however.
  • Sid Meier's Colonization uses this too, so that you can quickly get to the point without looking for the relevant parts in the text messages.
  • Custerd's Quest: Normally text is white, but certain descriptions are in several different colors. At one point the narrator even says about the text "(in purple, for effect)".
  • In Darksiders II, names, locations, and important concepts are highlighted in different colors in conversation subtitles.
  • Deltarune: Important words tend to be colored either yellow or red. Special nouns are also put in all caps, most prominent being the KNIGHT and the FOUNTAINS OF DARKNESS.
    Seam: Historically, this land was ruled by the Four Kings, from CARD CASTLE to the East. But, recently, a strange knight appeared... And three of the kings were locked away.
  • During the briefings of Descent: FreeSpace and its sequel, the names of friendly ships (like the GTD Galatea) are in green, while the names of enemy ships (like the SJ Sathanas) are in red. There is also purple for unknown-allied ships, but that's rarely, if ever, used. These colors are also used during the game for targeting ships.
  • Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for the NES gives every character's subtitles a unique colour.
    AMRU and ARISHA were married and had twins named LACE and IRIS. AMRU became ill from his battle with ZAWEL. Meanwhile, GALDA started conquering the EARTH.
  • In Dubloon, the Chest and the key to it are marked in yellow.
  • Dynamite Dux's opening is written like this: "Lucy" is in pink, "Bin" and "Pin" are blue and red, respectively, and anything related to "Achacha" is colored orange.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind uses hyperlinks in the dialogue texts to introduce new topics of conversation.
  • Eternal Darkness is all over this trope. There's gold for keywords, and each resident Eldritch Abomination has its own color code: Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath, and Mantorok.
  • In many games, especially MMORPGs like Everquest, an NPC will say something like, "I'm glad you stopped by. Right now, our village is under attack from [dragons]." At that point you respond, "Dragons?" And he then goes on to explain. Saying anything besides the "highlighted" word gets you nowhere.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, blue is generally used for characters, like your Servant and the other Masters, while red is usually used for important terms and for enemy Servants. Gold is also used once, in a book you can read if you visit the library during the 4th week.
  • FE000000: Names of colors in the chroma tab and their effects are written in their respective colors, unlike most other text which is white, or black if you're using light mode.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II has this for its "passwords" system, where you have to advance the plot by asking NPCs about certain terms marked in red. It's pretty straightforward until the game starts throwing Guide Dang Its in there, such as the method to get the Infinity +1 Sword. The post-game Bonus Quest gives you an additional 30 or so words to work with, most of them only present to up the Guide Dang It! moments.
    • From's recap of Final Fantasy VIII, a prime abuser:
      She also reminds Squally (read: us) that he can review his studies at the [study panel] which he can access from [[his] seat], but if he's ready, he should meet her at the [front gate] and they'll head over to the [Fire Cavern]. Ah, I [get it]. The brackets are to let us know where the hell we're supposed to go. It's a nice touch when you're the type of gamer who doesn't always pay attention and sometimes misses the destination, but I think it's a little overdone in [this case]. Next thing you know, they'll have blinking text, a big neon sign, fireworks, blaring horns, dancers in sequined leotards dancing around, and a big flashing arrow that says "GO HERE" to let you know the next destination. Jeez.
      Though the game is just as likely to play it for laughs. For example, during the Shumi Village sidequest, the Village Elder tells his aide that "You shall not eat or sleep until the statue is complete" and "shall not eat or sleep" flashes in bright yellow.
    • Final Fantasy X highlights the names of places you have to go in blue, and when characters speak in Al Bhed (a one-for-one substitution cipher that the player can learn one letter at a time), the untranslated letters are displayed in bright magenta, but otherwise the trope is averted.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, important terms such as "Garment Grid" or "Sphere Break" are presented in yellow in the subtitles when first introduced.
    • Final Fantasy XIV often employs this with its dialogue boxes - NPC dialogue is sometimes in a different coloured box or a box with effects around the edges, to signify cases where your character's Echo is translating for you. Quests also often denote special items or emotes involved with the quest's objectives by highlighting the text this way.
  • For Fire Emblem Warriors, you'll often have your forces named in blue, enemies named in red, neutral units named in yellow, and allied units named in green.
  • This is a major annoyance in Folklore, which marks words in blue quite often.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn uses these like internet hyperlinks; if a phrase is in red, then you can pull up a short encyclopedia article explaining it on the second screen (bright red means it's new or updated, dark red means the entry hasn't changed since the last time you saw it).
  • Guilty Party: This trope, with the lie detector, makes it easier to find out whether someone is telling the truth (green) or lying (red).
  • The subtitles for Half-Life 2 give a distinctive color to each character.
  • Hellgate: London has every quest giver give the important facts in bold.
  • In Hey You, Pikachu!, words that Pikachu can understand are red, while important terms, like locations, are in blue.
  • The intros to Hydlide and Hydlide II for the PC-88.
  • In Hype: The Time Quest, all the important words are highlighted in red.
  • In Just More Doors, the text switches to literal rainbow colours when mentioning how "wonderful" the experience is and how much "fun" you're having.
  • In the Japanese version of Killer7, whenever somebody uses a word with the kanji for "kill" () or "death" (), the kanji is bigger, colored red, and has spikes protruding from it.
  • Kindergarten and its sequel have hints within dialogue coloured yellow. In a more indirect example, every character also has a differently-coloured textbox.
  • In Kingdom Hearts χ, information in Notices often tends to presented in this - for example, medal, gem, and Keyblade names will be presented in the color of their element (Magic - Blue, Strength - Red, Speed - Green), information they want you to pay particular attention to will be a dark orange, and references to boosted strength or defense will be presented in a bright yellow, which is also true on medals themselves with boosted stats.
  • La-Mulana highlights important terms in either red or blue. Blue usually refers to locations, but not always.
  • In Layton's London Life, a bonus RPG packaged with some versions of Professor Layton and the Last Specter, rainbow speak will indicate whether a character's speech affects your character's happiness. Red text will reduce your happiness, while green text increases it.
  • The page quote refers to The Legend of Zelda, which has been known to use it ever since the very first game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time takes this to the extreme. Especially when referring to the Sages/Temples. Light (yellow); Forest (green); Fire (red); Water (blue); Spirit (orange); Shadow (purple).
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker parodies it a little. The legend of the Triforce has been lost to the ages, and the few who talk about it call it the... Triumph Forks. Just hearing about it (from Fishmen or Salvage Co.) does get you on the right track, though.
    • A Link Between Worlds takes this trope a step further. Not only is there Rainbow Speak but certain characters have color-coded text boxes.
  • In LittleBigPlanet, NPC dialogue highlights important items and game mechanics in pink. The ability to do this in player-made levels was added in the Play Station Vita version.
  • In the game Lux-Pain, the pages that show information on certain subjects use this to indicate what type of information it is.
  • Used in the Metroid Prime Trilogy to point out important terms in Enemy Scan text.
  • Throughout the Monkey Island series, Guybrush is the only character whose text is always white when he speaks, even when voices were added to the later Monkey Island games. Many characters often speak lines of dialogue in colors, with one text color attributed to each character's speech. In Tales of Monkey Island, for example, in forming subtitles, Elaine's text is "cameo pink", while Demon LeChuck's text is "asparagus green". Similarly, the Voodoo Lady's text is "thistle" (a shade of purple), the Marquis De Singe's text is "pink lace", and Morgan LeFlay's text is "munsell red".
  • Nethergate has no Dialogue Tree in the proper sense, instead letting you type in words to ask about. If a character mentions, say, Emperor Nero, asking about him will get the standard "I don't understand" message, but Emperor Nero marked in blue indicates that they have something special to say about him if asked.
  • Neverwinter Nights has the option. Traditionally, normal text is displayed in white, skill checks in red, and actions in green.
  • Ni no Kuni:
    • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch does this pretty heavily - just about any important item or location will be indicated in red.
    • In the sequel, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, during the stories in the Trial of Knowledge with the Kingmaker, the key terms that are part of the puzzle you have to navigate are presented in rainbow speak. Within the puzzle itself, the respective statues are color-coded based on these keywords.
  • In Ōkami, key phrases are highlighted in red. A person actually used this to play Okami in Japanese despite not knowing the language, simply because he could match up highlighted key phrases.
  • The Pathfinder games, Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous, take a hypertext-style approach: the highlighted words in dialogue aren't especially relevant to the plot, they're mostly references to prominent people, places, and events in the setting which the PC should already know about. Mousing over them will pop-up some additional info about the term in question for the benefit of the player.
  • Since Pokémon started as a monochrome series, it has a variation in fully capitalizing every monster, attack, place, or person name (i.e., "Wild PIKACHU appeared! PIKACHU used THUNDERBOLT!"). Diamond and Pearl ditch this, reverting to just putting monster names in all caps, and using some colored text for certain items. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Generation V decapitalize the mons' names as well.
    • FireRed and LeafGreen color speech by male NPCs blue and speech by female NPCs red.Note 
    • HeartGold and SoulSilver color the words "Sinjoh Ruins", "Mystri Stage", and "time travel" red for an unexplained reason. More normal is the starters' names being highlighted in color of their types at choice screen.
    • N shouting commands to save you in Giant Chasm is colored blue in Black 2 and red in White 2.
    • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games highlight locations you can visit with colors.
  • Pyre highlights certain words - most often character names or places, but also other terms used in the worldbuilding - in a dark orange. These keywords can be hovered over for a tooltip explaining them. This is also the only way to understand one of your team members, who can only communicate in shrieking noises - the tooltip tells you what he's really trying to say.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape puts anything of remote importance in red. If you didn't notice the importance of the pirates the first time, don't worry; the game won't stop putting the word "pirates" in red. Ever.
  • If you talk to the villagers in Rune Factory 3 and they mention an item they like a lot or give you a hint regarding the storyline, it will be highlighted in blue. The things that Sophia and her father mean in the opposite are highlighted in red.
  • Scooby-Doo! Big Air: A few important words and mode names are marked in green in 2's How to Play.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge: Important items and innuendos in dialogue are highlighted yellow.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Persona:
      • This was belatedly added to the PSP remake of the first Persona, even though it was unnecessary.
      • Persona 2 was the first Persona game to use Rainbow Speak, only using orange for rumors.
      • Persona 3 has a variation: Words that show up as terms in the game's Dictionary are in blue, while otherwise-important words or phrases are red. The red words are also used quite heavily near the end of the game to inform you about the upcoming Point of No Return.
      • Persona 4 uses it sparingly.
      • In Persona 5, key names and terms are indicated in red in things such as tutorial screens and story recaps.
    • Devil Survivor has it as a plot point. After Mari is taken over by Kresnik, her text shows up as bright pink whenever she talks to distinguish between the two voices.
  • In Shovel Knight, the names of the knights and The Enchantress appear in appropriate colours (along with other words, like "pay" appearing in green for example). In addition, the text may wave or shake to add emphasis.
  • Solatorobo uses red for items or people vital to the plot, green for important-but-not-quite-vital sentences, and (blue in parenthesis for thoughts or whispered words).
  • Sonic Battle. No key words, just the basic trope. It also has the tendency to put important terms like "Chaos Emerald" in quotes.
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, major characters each have a special colour their subtitles are in.
  • In Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, an alien at the Space Bar conveys rainbow Symbol Swearing, leaving the narrator to remark, "What a colorful language!"
  • In The Stanley Parable, part of the subtitles will change to red if you wait long enough to type in the password (2845) in the boss's office, thus annoying the Narrator. This will also occur in the path where you fall off the lift if you persistently defy the narrator's demand that you walk through the RED door, and in the Real Person ending when the Narrator is agitated with your refusal to say the password for a voice receiver (Nightshark-115).
  • Star Ocean:
    • In Star Ocean, names of locations are marked in red.
    • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time not only does this, but gives you an electronic encyclopedia which gives description of all the location names, etc, you encounter ... including in the text of the encyclopedia. The game not only talks in WikiWords, it gives you a read-only wiki for reference purposes. Amusingly, you can find a mild spoiler before you're supposed to by reading (and unlocking) certain articles before you meet Maria.
  • In Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, everyone has their own color-coded dialog. Dash (brown), Luke (cyan), Leia (gold), Leebo (gray), Xizor (lime green), Guri (red), Palpatine (purple). IG-88 and the nameless swoop jockey speak in white.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Mario Party series generally uses yellow for the word "Star" or "Stars", and green for player names and other assorted words.
    • The Mario & Luigi series also uses this trope, usually when referring to one of the brothers.
    • Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel feature this. Not only will the name be highlighted in red, but a picture of the item will be displayed next to it.
    • Parodied in Paper Mario: The Origami King. One of the bosses, a sentient box of colored pencils, speaks with each letter in a different color.
  • In tutorial screens in Tales of Berseria, important text tends to be highlighted in lime green. For example, the screen regarding the most powerful mystic artes highlights that they are of an even higher class, that they require five BG and fulfilling certain Break Soul requirements and so forth.
  • Taming Dreams: Some words are highlighted, like these segments from Episode 1:
    • When Enki asks Mardek about his dream:
      Enki: You know, your purpose. You have to be driven by a dream! Something you'd ask the gods to make true if you found them!
    • When Enki discusses his own dream:
      Enki: My dream is to reach the Nexus and find the gods, who'll make my dream come true, that's what gods do!
  • Telltale Games often gives each important character's subtitles their own color. Every game based on The Walking Dead makes the current player character's speech white, while everyone else's speech is highlighted by a unique color to indicate their importance. Tales from the Borderlands features two main characters; the male lead has blue text while the female lead has pink text.
  • Terranigma uses orange to mark items.
  • Terraria colors the text of its items based on how powerful they are, with stronger items typically using brighter, bolder colors as the game goes on. It serves as a quick visual indicator that the player has progressed further in the game, from mining Hellstone for the first time and seeing it as the first ore written in green, to getting the Ancient Manipulator and watching deep red letters show up when it's picked up. Literal rainbow (the text shifts through all colors of the spectrum) is used for Expert-exclusive items and the Treasure Bags that hold them, while Master Mode uses a shift from red to yellow and back to give it a "fiery" look.
  • The Tree of Life:
    • Layers that rely on specific one-letter variables use a different color to avoid confusion with the corresponding points.
    • Oxygenated Blood (OB) and Deoxygenated Blood (DB) are written in purple and blue, respectively.
    • Effects which are added to milestones/upgrades in previous layers are written in red. Unlocking Species provides effects written in purple instead.
  • Undertale:
    • Various things throughout the game are written in yellow text, usually indicating a helpful hint for the player. Most significantly, a monster whose name appears in yellow on the battle screen can be immediately pacified with the SPARE command.
    • Red text is almost always used to highlight something of a violent nature. (One sign even has the word "GREEN" written in red, explaining it to mean "Destroy at all costs!") The name of the antagonist Asgore is rendered in bold, all caps, and blood red upon first mention, though another character refers to him in yellow text and, contrary to earlier and later information, insists he's just a Nice Guy. Both portrayals turn out to be true in a way. One sign a player has started down the No Mercy route is messages entirely in red appearing in place instead of some of the ordinary Flavor Text.
    • A literal rainbow text highlights the name of Asriel Dreemurr.
    • Some attacks in the game are special, in blue or orange. Thus, when they're mentioned, the relevant color is used. Which provides a moment of foreshadowing when Sans mentions his brother's own special blue attack: he uses a different shade of blue, and indeed the attack is different.
  • Wild ARMs 3 crosses this with a gimmick called the [ASK System], marked in red. It allows you to press for further information on a highlighted phrase or topic by selecting it, but in practice, all it does is give you a small conversation tree that doesn't give you that much more information than you would have otherwise gotten.
  • In The World Ends with You, memes (words or sentences you can influence people's thoughts with) are written in red. This red text is also used in key words in the Secret Reports; the secret report for Another Day has entire pages written in red (It Makes Sense in Context, though).
  • Xenogears has [several] methods of -catching- one's "attention".
  • Xenosaga Episode III has colored words that you can "ask" about when overhearing someone else's conversation, leading to conversation trees.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney highlights hints and key evidence in orange. It also plays a "ping!" noise when a hint is displayed. Also, the protagonist's inner monologue is presented in blue, and witness testimony during the cross-examination stage is a nice green.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth adds light green for leads that are added to Miles' logic page. Which is used masterfully. By making logic a gameplay mechanic, the player doesn't have to work so hard to deduce what happens by themselves as they had to in other games. This is when they subvert this trope by specifically not highlighting any text and therefore not adding it to the logic page. There are quite a few points where Miles realizes all the important things he missed, which flashbacks to the text, this time highlighted in green; or gets a logic overload that's so much harder than usual to work out because of the large amount of possible connections that you may drain your life by trying to work it out, encouraging the player to try to draw connections that Miles himself doesn't catch on to by looking at wherever this trope is averted for possible leads.
    • While The Great Ace Attorney usually plays it as straight as the rest of the franchise (though in red rather than orange), it also presents a rather unique subversion in the case of Enoch Drebber, who has the strange Verbal Tic of highlighting his words pretty much at random (including one seriously impressive point where he screams a half-red "AAAAAAAHHHHHH"). Apparently it's just the way he talks, stilted and off-kilter as part of his "acting like a Clock Punk cyborg" schtick.
  • Ballad of an Evening Butterfly: Red, menacing-looking text appears several times in the visual novel to set the creepy and suspenseful mood.
  • Danganronpa uses different-colored text like Ace Attorney, but also has the Re:ACT system, wherein you can press Triangle once purple text appears to interrupt and inquire further about purple text. The Non-Stop Debates also use Orange text for possible contradictions and purple for chatter.
  • Monster Prom has Color-Coded Multiplayer, and it writes the names of player characters in their color (yellow, red, green, or blue) whenever their names are spoken or mentioned by the Narrator. Stat changes are also colored based on what player they happen to, such as "+2 BOLDNESS" being in red to a player who picked Amira, or green for Brian.
  • Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, which is heavily inspired by the Ace Attorney series, uses blue and green the same way as in that franchise, while using purple for notifications like "New statement added."
  • Umineko: When They Cry features Rainbow Speak as a plot point. In it, anything said in red is guaranteed to be true (though it is strongly implied that the red-text speakers are Unreliable Narrators), while things said in blue are used for theories of possible explanations of events. This carries over to the anime adaption, making it possibly the only non-textual example.

    Episode 5 adds a third colour: gold. It's used for making statements that use Beato's rules as a basis for deduction. The final Episode adds purple, which is functionally the same as the red truth, except that anyone can use it, and only the culprit may lie using it.

  • Cucumber Quest does this repeatedly. It's a Video Game parody.
  • In Homestuck conversation is color-coded by character in a non-supernatural way. Certain phrases — or some characters' voices — are rendered in an even more bizarre way, including stylized or even animated text.
    • The kernelsprites are generated by the Video Game Within a Comic SBURB as each player's helper and Quest Giver NPC. When they explain the setting they speak certain important terms in underlined text, as if the phrases have mystical significance.
    • Doc Scratch is soft-spoken but wields immense power. We see him lose his cool for the first time with this peal of Angrish: SHE HAS WHAT!? In an instance of Power Glows, the text itself flashes and crackles with lime-green energy.
    • Later Jadesprite does the same: WHAT DID YOU DO?
    • The Green Sun is capitalized, lime-green, and animates with a twinkiling glow. When Dave refers to it in plain style, Rose corrects him as if he were mispronouncing it.
    • The Tumor is always in bold black font, no matter what color the pesterlog would be otherwise.
    • A literal version can be seen in this page of its subcomic, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff.
    • The names of members of the Felt are always written in green, except for Snowman (the "o" is black), Doc Scratch (the "o" is white), and Lord English (the "o" is a pool ball).
      • Lord English himself exaggerates this by speaking in animated flashing rainbow lettering - with the exception of the letters L and E, his initials, which stay black.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces uses this for emphasis.
  • In Paranatural, Agent Day has spoken with key words and phrases in red. Max lampshaded it.
  • In Point-Blank Assassin, special words are highlighted with [brackets].
  • Speech in Slightly Damned is written in blue when a character is speaking Angelic. When a character is speaking using sign language, the translations are written in magenta.
  • In Sinfest, Squigley's Mushroom Samba has significant words in color. Before that, he sees his "WOW" turn into a bird.

    Web Original 
  • On the internet, certain words are blue. This means they are links you can click on. If it's red, it's a Dead Link.
  • On some forums, blue is used for sarcasm and green for innuendo.
  • Some moderators on internet forums use a different "ex cathedra" color or font for posts in their capacity as moderators. E.g. red in RPGNet, where it's sometimes called "mod voice".
  • These instructions for a the thing s. It is a good to read the mALL!
  • This DK Vine article about Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It has all the Batman & Robin-inspired ice puns highlighted in light blue.
    Cue Retro Studios at E3 2013 to deliver the ultimate chill pill. Donkey and Diddy are back for another adventure, this time in glorious High Definition ("HD", I like to call it; I just made that up off the top of my head but you can use it yourself if you like), but they better stay frosty as they battle yet another new slew of enemies: a cold-hearted Viking crew!
  • Various subsets of The Slender Man Mythos use this; for example, there's 'A Lack of Lexicon, which has each character speak in a different font; at one point, the font actually changes in colour as it reveals one character (jokingly) masquerading as another.
  • On the Penny Arcade forums, an alternative to "quoted for truth" (QFT) is "limed for truth", in which the quoted post is lime coloured.
  • Tilda Moose of the SCP Foundation apparently has the ability to speak in blue.
    • A certain forest that cannot have an SCP number requires people that talk about it to never use consistent names for parts of it so descriptions that refer to the same thing are written in the same color to prevent confusion.
  • TV Tropes:
  • Cracked image macros are known for this.
  • So This Is Basically... makes fun of Nintendo's tendency to use this to highlight important words in their Fire Emblem video by having the one saying them Suddenly Shout the words in question.
    Childhood Friend: Sure is weird that you can use the sword that only the DRAGON LORD with the MARK OF DESTINY is able to wield.

    Real Life 
  • Closed captions sometimes give different characters different colors.
  • Subtitles for anime often use different colours for the different characters, especially while several are talking over each other (including background conversations); and plain white or yellow for translations of text (signs, newspapers, etc.)
  • For movie and TV scripts, as well as aspiring authors writing their synopses, it is common practice to put the first instance of each character name in all caps. This is used both to denote importance and to help the agent/publisher in case they need to reference back who a character with a certain name is.
  • The vast majority of text file editors integrate some form of "syntax highlighting", in which the editor will recognize the programming language used in the open file and display things like keywords and numbers in different colors than the rest of the code, so as to make the code easier to read.
  • Textbooks frequently use boldface and/or colored lettering to call attention to new vocabulary words when they're first used and defined, and italics for subsequent uses of such terms. Likewise, academic exams may use boldface to highlight key instructions within a short-answer question, e.g.: "Describe two examples of _______________." Similarly, students and note-takers often use highlighter markers and/or colored pencils in their notes and materials as a note-taking strategy to denote important terms, concepts, formulas, and the like that they need to focus on.
  • On many websites, links are displayed in a different color, typically blue.
  • Aviation and spaceflight checklists always capitalize the BUTTON or instrument to check and which action to take, so pilots can reference the checklist quickly without having to read the entire sentence and figure out the right button, but instead can follow the checklist from memory.
  • The VIC-20 and Commodore 64 had built-in key combinations (eight of which were labeled right on the keys) to change the color of subsequently printed text in the built-in BASIC. This had no effect on the commands entered, nor was it stored as part of the program (though using such a combination within a quoted string would store it as a special character, and was the standard way to program the printing of specific text colors). On the 64, it was common to immediately switch to white for improved readability over the default light-blue-on-regular-blue scheme.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Color Coded Keywords, Rainbow Text


I Am Thou, Thou Art I

In "Persona 5," when establishing a new confidant certain key words are highlighted in red. Perhaps these words are of importance?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / RainbowSpeak

Media sources: