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Yellow/Purple Contrast

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In basic complementary color theory, Color Contrast (a Super-Trope) refers to the use of any two polar opposite colors on the wheel. When such colors are put together in a single image, with almost no other color presence, the effect is called popping, or standing out heavily. This, in turn, colors films to have a strong contrasting palette as the natural technique. It is seen regularly in Orange and Blue, sometimes in Red and Green, and, though technically values rather than true colors, even in Black and White.

So where does that leave Yellow and Purple?

As the closest colors to black and white in terms of their difference, this is the clearest contrast on any colorspace. Thus it is used to indicate light and darkness, sun and moon, day and night, shades of electricity, Good Colors, Evil Colors (particularly if they are royal factions, as gold and purple are historically reserved for royalty), or any other Color-Coded Characters or motifs that can be imagined (compare the aforementioned).

Warning signals are almost always indicated by some shade of yellow or gold. Depicted positively, it signifies spirit, spirituality, a Primary-Color Champion, earthiness, and a sense of warmth, and bees. Depicted negatively, it signifies body neglect (such as Gold Tooth), cowardice, and greed. And again, bees. Among others, wealth, blondes, and physical power can go in either direction.


Supernatural and mysterious elements tend to be indicated by purple or violet. When depicted positively, it signifies wisdom, depth, and balance (particularly between the Onis). Depicted negatively, it signifies poison, dark magic, a Secondary Color Nemesis, or excessive pride. Either way, Purple Is Powerful (and/or graceful).

Also compare Color-Coded for Your Convenience, and Color-Coded Emotions, in which yellow usually portrays happiness and purple portrays melancholy (while both can portray types of fear).

NOTA BENE: To qualify as an example, both colors must be used simultaneously to symbolize an In-Universe relationship (in other words, context). If they are merely displayed colors, such as on an athletic uniform, it does not fit.



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    Anime and Manga 

  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Eriol created Spinel Sun to be a contrast to Kerberos. While Kerberos is a happy-go-lucky Sweet Tooth who has a golden body with white wings and red highlights, Spinel Sun is a stoic yet hyperactive-when-eats-sweets who has a black/purple body with blue highlights.
  • Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop makes prominent use of this trope in her character design, with her dark purple hair popping out against her primarily vivid yellow outfit. Spike Speigel also has shades of his trope in his own design, featuring a banana-yellow shirt underneath an indigo suit.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure 02: Digmon is an insectoid Digimon with purple accents on his yellow armor.
    • Digimon Tamers: Renamon has yellow fur and purple sleeveless gloves. Her mega form Sakuyamon is a human woman in yellow and purple armor.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Although there is no consistent canon colors, much of the color schemes perceived in popular media has the Joestar clan often clad in blue and purple as they fight against the blonde golden-clad megalomaniac Dio Brando.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (2004)
    • Each of the four Links has blonde hair, while their counterpart Shadow Link has purple hair. The Links are heroic, if dysfunctional, while Shadow is a petty and destructive villain until Princess Zelda, who is also blonde, convinces him that Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Vio (the purple Link) has a purple tunic to contrast his hair, showing that he is simultaneously the most effective Link (The Smart Guy and the team's best swordsman) as well as The Millstone ( plots a Fake Defector plan without telling anyone else, fails to destroy the Dark Mirror, etc.).
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Fate Testarossa has both gold-colored magic and hair, which contrasts with the purple magic and hair of her biological mother Precia. Appropriately, Fate's character arc throughout her entire life is shaped in part by the shadow that Precia cast over her.
  • Naruto: Naruto and Sasuke, contrast each other with their respective forms in Shippuden, with Naruto’s newer transformations being mostly yellow and Sasuke’s Susanoo being purple in color. This also applies to Asura and Indra Otsutsuki the sons of the Sage of Six Paths, and Naruto and Sasuke are the respective reincarnations of Asura and Indra.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lunabory of Noonbory and the Super 7 has yellow skin and wears a purple jumpsuit. Of course, being the Super Sensor of sight, it's fitting that she has an eye-catching contrast in her appearance.

    Comic Books 
  • In the short lived Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Dr. Sydney Allard, an inhabitant of Sub Diego and Black Manta minion, is exposed to a strain of Joker Toxin which he drops and is driven to madness, murdering a home's inhabitants. Inspired by a purple and yellow fish at the home and said insanity, he grabs a pair of waterproof markers, colors his entire body yellow and purple, and dubs himself the Clownfish, symbolizing his insanity and philosophy of life as a joke.
  • Mister Mxyzptlk, a recurring foe of Superman, is sometimes portrayed wearing a yellow and purple tunic to emphasize his chaotic nature and contrast the preferred colors of his favorite playmate, a Primary-Color Champion.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • In Coco, The Land of the Dead is always dark, with a purple haze all throughout. The bridges that lead back out of it are made out of orange-gold marigolds.
  • Despicable Me 2: Gru's yellow Adorable Evil Minions were subjects of an experimental potion that makes a Face–Monster Turn to any living creature in contact with it. So, the Big Bad Eduardo "El Macho" Perez, with the help of Dr. Nefario, kidnapped most of the Minions and exposed them to the potion, converting them into "Evil Minions", which are purple thanks to the substance and are the Evil Counterpart to Gru's uninfected yellow Minions.
  • To obtain Maui's hook, Moana must enter through the cave of Tamatoa at the Realm of Monsters. The gold that the materialistic Tamatoa hoarded from his shell glistens so shiny, like a treasure from a sunken pirate wreck, against the supernatural purple ambience of the realm.
  • Gold and purple is a recurring Color Motif in Tangled, being the colors of the kingdom of Corona; the gold associated with the sun, and the purple associated with the royal family. Rapunzel, is a graceful, spirited young lady whose long blonde hair has healing powers, and she wears shades of lavender and mauve to signify her kindness to people and her status as the long lost princess.
  • In Turning Red, Priya wears yellow and is the polar opposite in personality to Abby who wears purple.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Black Panther (2018), the main character, T'Challa wears the Black Panther suit with purple undertones, while his adversary and Foil, Killmonger wears the Golden Jaguar suit that is very similar but has yellow undertones. Both suits use their accent colors to symbolize royalty, but while T'Challa prefers the purple suit for stealth, Killmonger wears the flashy Golden Jaguar suit.
  • Disenchanted (2022): During the climactic Wizard Duel, Malvina's magic is deep violet while Giselle's is golden.
  • In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), King Ghidorah is given a dark gold color for his scales and his Gravity Beams are a blinding yellow. In Godzilla vs. Kong, his decapitated left skull glows purple when it reanimates and turns Mechagodzilla into an undead monster under its control.
  • In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Wenwu's rings glow indigo and purple when in use. After he dies protecting his son Shang-Chi, the hero empowers them with the power of Ta Lo which, besides increasing their power, turns them yellow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Boys (2019), Starlight and Stormfront are both female rookie members of The Seven. While Starlight has yellow accents on her costume and has powers based on yellow light, Stormfront has a purple-and-black suit and can project purple lightning. While they get along at first, their aspirations are completely at odds; Starlight genuinely wants to do good, while Stormfront is a Neo-Nazi whose atrocities go all the way back to the Third Reich.
  • In The Flash (2014), Iris West is a Badass Normal who wants to become a reporter, while the titular character is a somewhat impulsive CSI and gives off yellow lightning when using his Super Speed. When his power is temporarily transferred to her, she gives off purple lightning. Their Kid from the Future, XS, has both colors.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Very deliberately used in the seventh season episode "No Pressure", where Ted finally decides he wants to let go of Robin, the entire cast is seen wearing purple for the episode. However, in the end, after Ted makes his decision, he steps outside to a sea of people — all of them sporting the Mother's iconic yellow umbrella, symbolizing how moving on from Robin was the only way for Ted to fall in love with his future wife.
    • In the episode where the Mother's face is revealed, she's carrying her signature prop, the yellow umbrella, and she's wearing a dark purple dress, which symbolizes her moving on from mourning for her first boyfriend, Max, who died prematurely. The weekend she meets Ted is significant for her as because she finally let go of Max, and thus she and Ted are finally ready to meet each other mere hours later.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Luke Cage is associated with yellow, Kilgrave with purple. This is reflects their opposing relationships with Jessica. The lighting even gets in on it, with Jessica's default lighting being a cold blue, reflecting her isolation and anti-social tendencies, moving to warmer yellows as Luke helps her cope with some of her trauma, but to blatant purple as Kilgrave throws her into PTSD flashbacks. Also, the flash drive containing critical information on Kilgrave is yellow.
  • Kamen Rider Build's Best Match NinninComic Form uses the Ninja and Comic halfbodies. The purple Ninja halfbody has the Onmitsu scarf that can wrap Build's entire body to camouflage himself with the local scenery, but the yellow Comic halfbody do the opposite with its flashiness when it creates highly visible Manga Effects when using its powers. The form's description as "Shinobi Entertainer" in its Transformation Name Announcement lampshades the contrast; a shinobi operates in concealment while an entertainer thrives in the spotlight.

  • We Can't Dance by Genesis invokes this trope to carry a day/night theme throughout the album art, featuring "day" scenes with predominantly yellow backgrounds and "night" scenes with predominantly blue and purple ones. In both cases though, blue is used to represent the silhouettes of the father and son figures that appear on the cover art.
  • Three of a Perfect Pair by King Crimson features an abstract reinterpretation of the Larks' Tongues in Aspic album art, with blue analogs of the sun and moon figure against a stark yellow backdrop; the colors themselves invoke a similar day/night dichotomy.
  • Tubular Bells II by Mike Oldfield features a yellow version of the iconic "bent bell" icon against a blue backdrop. In this case, the yellow color of the bells acts as a substitute for gold, thus upgrading the bent bell from its silver predecessor, while the blue background acts as a reinterpretation of the first Tubular Bells's oceanic background.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • This trope pops up in two early major conflicts in the Dynasty Warriors series. Firstly, in the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the two forces clashing are the Imperial army and the Yellow Turban rebels, who have armies clad in purple and yellow, respectively. Secondly, in the battle of Hu Lao Gate, the two forces involved are the anti-Dong Zhuo coalition, and the Imperial army, now lead by the tyrannical Dong Zhuo. The coalition is lead by Yuan Shao, who has his troops wear gold coloured armour, while the Imperial army retains their purple colour scheme.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Throughout the franchise, the colors yellow and purple are frequently used to give prominence to the most important and/or dangerous characters in the story. Sometimes these characters are in conflict, others the character features both colors at once in some way. The original Five Nights at Freddy's, for example, has Golden Freddy, a yellow version of Freddy Fazbear that behaves much more supernaturally than the other haunted robots, appearing and disappearing at will and, in the first game, crashing your game if he kills you. On the other side is William Afton, colloquially known as "The Purple Man" for the sprite used to represent him starting from Five Nights at Freddy's 2. He is the Greater-Scope Villain of the franchise, whose indulgence in child murder kicks off the entire plot of the games, as his victims' souls are what haunt the animatronics out to kill you, and who used a yellow animatronic suit to lure children to their deaths.
    • Gameplay-wise, the first game has this in the form of Bonnie and Chica, a lavender-colored rabbit mascot and a yellow chicken mascot respectively. Both display contrasting AI behavior when making their way to your office:
      • Bonnie will always try to enter your office through the left doorway. He's also the quickest and most persistent of the two, often being the first to exit the stage and capable of skipping past multiple rooms, even appearing right next to your office at the drop of a hat. While this means you have to deal with a big purple bunny trying to kill you constantly, he thankfully tends to give up and retreat rather easily once you shut the door in his face and wait for him to leave.
      • Chica will always try to approach you from the right side of your office, and can only make her way towards you one adjacent area at a time, making her somewhat slow. Once she reaches your location, however, she'll prove to be much more patient and stubborn compared to Bonnie, waiting right outside your office for longer periods of time. This requires the player to drain more power keeping the door closed in order to keep Chica at bay.
    • Golden Freddy doesn't appear in Five Nights at Freddy's 3. Instead, a yellow version of Bonnie the Bunny nicknamed "Springtrap" is your main foe. However, the trope still kicks in as scenes between the levels reveal that the Springtrap is Afton the Purple Man, trapped and maimed inside the animatronic yellow rabbit.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is a departure from the lore in many ways, with the Purple Man making only a brief cameo unrelated to the plot. However, purple and yellow are still prominent in Fredbear, an animatronic who replaces all the others once he becomes active, moves at fast speeds, and is second only to an all-black version of himself known only as "Nightmare". His design is similar to Golden Freddy, a yellow Freddy Fazbear, but with a purple top hat, bow tie, and buttons instead of Freddy's and Golden Freddy's black.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location has as its last big reveal a second "Purple Man", William Afton's son Michael, who seems to actually be purple due to being rendered undead following possession by a rogue animatronic, Ennard, who expelled itself from Michael. The game ends on a monologue by Michael saying the last thing he must do is track down his father, at which point Springtrap appears on the screen. In the following Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, it's heavily implied that Michael is the player character making a last stand against Springtrap, identified in the credits as William Afton, and the remaining animatronics once and for all.
    • To cap it all off, there's Ultimate Custom Night. The way it's presented means there's little concrete confirmation, but popular speculation is that the game is William Afton's Ironic Hell and that he is being tortured by one of his victims, identified only as "The One You Should Not Have Killed", and implied to be Golden Freddy, as he appears fading and twitching should you challenge all of the animatronics at their hardest difficulty and win.
  • Flight Rising: Opposite elements Light and Shadow are represented with yellow and purple, respectively.
  • In Golden Sun, the Earth element is associated with the color yellow, while its polar opposite, wind, is associated with the color purple.
  • Two of the Dashing Prince's many Cousins showcase this in Katamari Damacy:
    • Velvet, one of his Royal Cousins, has a violet dress with a flared skirt that makes her resemble a bell or a UFO, with a golden yellow ring around its outer hem and matching yellow for the frame around her face. She's noted to be one of the haughtiest of his cousins, priding herself on her supposed maturity and acting like an Ojou.
    • Second Cousin Miki, meanwhile, wears bright, sunshine yellow with purple tights and is a Spirited Competitor who aims to place in the top three of any contest she enters. Though she tends to only place in the top six instead, she doesn't let that get her down. This also creates a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast between her and Velvet.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Zelda's golden-blonde hair contrasts with Hilda's dark purple hair. As cross-dimensional counterparts, this also shows in Zelda's magic being associated with light while Hilda's is associated with shadow. Late in the game, it's revealed that Link and Ravio have a similar contrast.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: One of the dungeons, the Ancient Cistern, uses yellow colours and a well-lit environment in the upper parts, giving an aura of purity and goodness. However, the deeper parts of the dungeon are littered with undead creatures and poisonous water, using purple colours and dim lighting to emphasise a feeling of death and decay. The dungeon boss, Koloktos, follows the same theme. It is a golden divine-looking automaton, but when Ghirahim corrupts it, a purple substance invades Koloktos’ body and instantly turns it against Link.
  • In Metroid Prime: Hunters, the purple, Lawful Good Noxus is contrasted with the yellow, Ax-Crazy Kanden.
  • Overwatch:
    • Zenyatta's abilities include Orb of Harmony, which is yellow and heals its target over time, and Orb of Discord, which is purple and increases the damage its target takes.
    • Moira's primary weapon is a pair of biotic gauntlets with opposing uses; the left one shoots a yellow healing mist, while the right one shoots a purple Life Drain tendril. Her Biotic Orb allows the player to choose between one of two Pinball Projectiles to launch; a yellow healing one, or a purple damaging one. Her Ultimate, Coalescence, shoots a giant beam flashing with both yellow and purple, which quickly heals allies and damages enemies who are inside of it.
  • The Blacklight Barbican in Pandora's Tower juxtaposes the bright, yellow energy from the Dawn Tower with the dark, purple energy from the Dusk Tower. It serves as the core of the two aforementioned towers (which pay homage to the god of light and the goddess of darkness respectively), and is there where the protagonist battles the Dual Boss (the Master who employs light energy and the one who employs dark energy, again represented respectively by yellow and purple) of both towers. The Barbican also provides the gateway to the the Centrum (the whereabouts of the Final Boss).
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Amped Toxtricity has this color scheme going on, as it represents a guitarist, who's typically supposed to stand out more from the music.
  • The first Saints Row game had the purple-clad Third Street Saints as the protagonists trying to clean up Stillwater and take out all other gangs, the most powerful of which is the Vice Kings, a yellow-clad gang that deals in vice-relates crimes like prostitution or gambling with a legitimate hip-hop record company as a front. They were even formed to combat Los Carnales and their leader Benjamin King used to run with the Saints' leader Julius.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The respective Token Fliers of Team Sonic and Team Dark are Tails and Rouge. Tails is a friendly fox with yellow fur while Rouge is thieving, sly bat who wears a purple outfit.
    • Tails' yellow also contrasts with Wave, a snarky, aggressive purple swallow who serves as his equivalent on Team Babylon as their Flight-type member and tech expert.
  • Splatoon:
  • Spyro the Dragon is a purple dragon with yellow horns, scales and underbelly. Depending on the era, it can either reflect his being a hero with an occasionally arrogant and combative personality, or being a noble character without the experience or knowledge expected of him.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Just as Mario and Luigi share a Red/Green Contrast, their rivals Wario and Waluigi share a Yellow/Purple one. Wario's yellow applies nicely to his greed and desire for gold and money. Waluigi's dark purple goes in likeness to his vanity, sense of pride and brooding nature.
    • Wario himself has a Yellow/Purple Contrast in his own color scheme too, having purple overalls alongside his yellow cap and shirt. In his case, purple signifies evil, as he's supposed to be an evil Foil to Mario, as well as poison, since he's... kinda gassy.
  • A subtle example can be found in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where after being defeated, Galeem and Dharkon crash into the ocean and explode in yellow and purple respectively.
  • World of Warcraft: Two of the most dominant forces in the World of Warcraft universe are Light and Void, and unsurprisingly, the Light has gold, yellow, and white motifs (and occasionally pink or violet), while the Void uses black, dark purple, and dark blue for its color scheme.

  • In Homestuck, the kingdom of light Prospit, whose job is to protect Skaia from Derse, is decked out entirely in yellow with the inhabitants in white, and players who visit Prospit in their dreams wear yellow pajamas. The dark kingdom Derse, which is at war with Prospit, is themed in purple with the inhabitants in black, with its dreamers wearing purple pajamas.

    Web Animation 
  • Very common in David James Armsby's (of Autodale and Dinosauria fame). Merry Madness and Scary and Strange (the prequels to Autodale) contrast the benevolent rat in earthy yellows and the malicious hound in bright purples, while Sharp Teeth (the short that inspired Dinosauria) uses it to demonstrate the opposite, that there is no good and evil in nature as the dinosaurs assume either palette depending on the POV.
  • RWBY: Yang is mostly associated with yellow and tan, but has noticeable purple (mostly her eyes, as well a purple sash on her left leg). In the case of her eyes, it represents the mingling of her father's blue eyes and her mother's red eyes. Taiyang notes Yang has a lot of her mother's qualities, but Yang also takes a lot after her father (and as a result, is a much better person than Raven).

    Western Animation 
  • Tasha the bossy yellow hippo and Austin the shrinking violet kangaroo from The Backyardigans. They are the two who appear least often on the show, and occasionally, when they do appear together, they're paired up as a team, such as the mountain cavemen in "Cave Party", the mad scientist and her assistant in "Scared of You", the Ice Lady and her worker in "The Secret of Snow", or the tourists in "The Swamp Creature".
  • The dynamics between Chowder and Panini can be this, with Chowder as the ambitious, excitable, yet danger-prone apprentice who is abhorred by Panini's advances, and he wears purple clothing, and Panini who is a more reserved apprentice who is obsessed with Chowder, and she wears yellow clothing.
  • Darkwing Duck is a heroic character with a huge ego befitting the varying shades of purple in his outfit. His Evil Twin is the greedy Negaduck, who wears a yellow jacket (and red and black accessories).
  • A variation with Fanboy and Chum Chum. While both ditzes, Fanboy is the slightly more sensible of the duo and his costume is mostly purple with a lime green bodysuit, while Chum Chum is a joyful Keet whose costume is mostly yellow with an orange shirt.
  • Abby from Grossology wears a yellow bodysuit when on the job and a purple shirt and skirt combo in her civilian life. While purple-clad civilian Abby is an everygirl who wants to be popular, yellow-clad Grossologist Abby is a rough-and-tumble tomboy with no gag reflex and an iron stomach.
  • The Queen of Jammbo from Jelly Jamm has purple skin and hair (purple is the colour of royalty) and wears a yellow dress (she is a warm, happy individual).
  • The Lion Guard: The song "Beware of the Zimwi" utilizes a yellow and purple palette, helping to accentuate the creepiness of Rafiki's description of the mythical creature.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • When going on Friendship Missions, purple-coated Twilight Sparkle and yellow-coated Fluttershy go along. Both are shy but intellectual ponies, with Twilight as a socially awkward yet analytical Bookworm, and Fluttershy as a timid yet a great animal caretaker.
    • Mane-wise, blonde Applejack, and violet-haired Rarity, though polar opposites, go together on Friendship Missions with Applejack providing hard work, strength, and integrity, and Rarity providing style, charisma, and a sense of charitability.

  • The Morton Salt girl wears a sunny yellow dress and a lavender colored umbrella in front of the indigo blue background. Her yellow dress and sunny disposition even when it rains emphasizes the "when it rains, it pours" motto of the brand.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers are most prominent in wearing the gold and purple combo since 1967. Their most iconic players, such as Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James, fill up half of every top 10 list of the best basketball players ever. In tribute to Kobe Bryant, the major landmarks of Los Angeles were lit up with purple and gold lights.
  • The Minnesota Vikings use this color contrast, though their uniforms admittedly have a generous helping of white as a tertiary color.
  • The nonbinary pride flag includes a yellow stripe, meant to signify people whose gender identities sit outside the male/female binary, and a purple stripe, meant to signify people whose identities mix or sit between male and female. These are paired with a black stripe for agender identities and a white stripe for identities that encompass all genders, fitting yellow and purple's proximity to black and white in terms of color space.
  • The intersex flag is a purple ring atop a solid yellow background. Those colors were chosen as they were viewed to be free from gender associations, representing how intersex people are not aligned with either biological sex.


Video Example(s):


Giselle vs Malvina

The showdown between Giselle and Malvina begins with them firing color-coded beams of magic at each other. This causes a small explosion that knocks everyone backwards.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeamOWar

Media sources: