COLOR AND PATTERN THESAURUS

BLUE



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HELPFUL TIP:

Color is important to the human experience, meaning readers are hardwired to notice it. When description is necessary, think about how your color and pattern choices may be used as motifs to help symbolize an idea you want to subtly reinforce in the setting description.
COMPARISONS:

LIGHT SHADES:
A robin’s egg
An ocean in the Caribbean
Forget-me-nots
Cornflowers
Periwinkles
Pool water
Mouthwash
Wide open sky

MEDIUM SHADES:
Pacific blue tang fish
A blue Jay
A blue rose
Curacao liquor
The "blue screen of death"
The bluebell flower
A peacock feather
Cookie Monster
Bluing
Blue beetle
Blue morpho butterflies
Turquoise

DARK SHADES:
Denim
Blueberries
Stormy water
Sapphires
Concord grapes
Ink
Huckleberries
Blue cheese
Frostbite
Bruises
Varicose veins
Lakes
Rivers
Cobalt
Lapis lazuli
Blue shrimp

HUES WITHIN THIS COLOR SPECTRUM:
azure, periwinkle, turquoise, aqua, sky, robin’s egg, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, royal, sapphire, teal, ultramarine, powder blue

PRACTICAL EXAMPLES:
Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. The right color comparison with a man-made or natural object will help paint an immediate picture, helping readers see the setting in a way that keeps the pace moving. When using something man-made or natural as a color comparison, choose one that is not only accurate and known to readers but also fits the mood. To feel authentic, the color choice should match the viewpoint character or narrator’s history, education, and range of experiences.

A WEAK EXAMPLE:  We reached Albert too late. His eyes stared ahead, glassy and unseeing, and his lips were blue, as if he had chugged a bottle of Scope only moments before expiring.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS EXAMPLE? The comical twist at the end spoils the shock of finding a loved one dead. As well, while (most) mouthwash is blue, it doesn’t tend to stain the things it touches.

A STRONGER OPTION: We reached Albert too late. His eyes stared ahead, glassy and unseeing, and his lips were blue, as if he had eaten a handful of ripe blueberries only moments before expiring.

WHY DOES THIS EXAMPLE WORK? Comedy shifts to sadness through the suggestion of Albert doing something utterly benign moments before his death. It also highlights how fragile one's hold on life really is.

SYMBOLISM ASSOCIATED WITH THIS COLOR:
depression, peace, friendship, inflexibility, honesty and loyalty, trustworthiness and sincerity, responsibility, strong relationships, nostalgia