University Writing Center Blog

Posted on March 26th, 2019 in Thematics, Writing Strategies by University Writing Center

Written by: Katie A.

Color is a paramount factor in any kind of descriptive writing; it is symbolic of many literary elements including symbolism, mood, personality, and environment. When incorporating color into your writing, it is important to visualize the scene or concept at hand and consider the exact hue you plan to communicate to your readers.

We’ve all heard the basics of color theory: red is energized and confident, orange is healthy and confident, yellow is optimistic and excited, green is peaceful and natural, blue is deep and calm, and purple is mysterious and magical. However, when you want to encourage your readers to actively experience the scene you depict, it becomes necessary to dig deeper into the world of colors and examine the ways a specific hue interacts with the surrounding descriptive adjectives.

When I need color inspiration for an artwork or piece of descriptive writing, I immediately turn to the most expansive source of color varieties in existence: the Internet. Here are a few of my favorite sources for color research:

1. Pinterest: probably THE most creative media site known to man. Provides endless examples of color wheels, swatches, palettes, and schemes.

2. The Color Thesaurus: writer and blogger Ingrid Sundberg has created a magnificent series of visually appealing color synonyms.

3. Glidden: paint swatches (either in-store or online) are incredibly useful for determining the name of a precise shade within a certain color scheme or family.