Why is color symbolism important

Throughout life, we are influenced by colors. They are always around us and affect our feelings and thoughts more than we think. So the use of color can touch our different emotions and evoke them. Therefore, writers use color symbolism in their texts and poems.

The colors we see will directly influence our reaction to the environment. The psychological impact of colors on the human brain is based on the definitions we have placed in our lives over time. For example, red color is usually indicative of danger, while a green color signifies safety. 

In short, I’m crazy about literature and in this article, we are going to examine the different color symbols we see daily around us.

What is color symbolism in literature

In literature, symbolism takes many forms, such as objects, images, shapes, and colors. A color can have a special meaning in a written piece, which when used in a written piece can have an impact on a reader’s mood, ideas, and concepts.

In a culture or society, colors can have specific meanings or representations. So color symbolism must be interpreted within the context of culture, time, and context.

Why do writers use symbolism

At first, we should know how can the color symbolism help writers.

The use of symbolism in literature is to make an action, an object, or a name meaningful by incorporating deeper meaning into them. A symbol is a concrete item that is linked to something else in order to give it greater significance.

By using symbols, writers can communicate with their readers without having to directly say what they mean. These indirect approaches help authors to create nuance and complexity. But in order for the symbol’s meaning to be believable, it must be supported by the rest of the story.

Symbolism is beneficial to creative writers and poets in these ways:
  • Facilitates understanding of complex ideas and central themes.
  • Provides writers the ability to present big and complex ideas in an efficient, artful way.
  • Facilitates the process of critical thinking among readers as they examine the author’s text.
  • Adds emotional weight to the text.
  • Distracts from a subject that is too controversial to approach openly.

Common uses of color symbolism in literature

Setting the scene with color

If you use colors in writing, your audience will receive an impression of your work. For instance, the trees are green and brown, the sky is blue with a touch of white, the sea is a pearlescent green. The elements will help your reader visualize your text or poem’s scenery as they read it.

When you write out your imagination through colors, you can create a shared experience with your reader. In other words, you can communicate effectively with readers by using colors in your writing.

Using color to evoke an emotive response

Colors can increase the emotional impact of poems by exuding emotions. Reading a poem can be affected by the colors a poet chooses by way of human emotion, vibrations, and experience.

For instance, conveying anger can be difficult when writing about the color blue. However well written, the story is likely to shift readers’ moods into a more subdued mood and draw a more somber response.

Writers who frequently use personal experiences in their work or often shift to storytelling may want to consider changing the color scheme to support the emotional response that they are seeking from the reader.

Using color to create ambiance or mood

In addition, colors contribute to creating an aura of perception that contributes to creating tone, intensity, and a sense of speed in your work. A color-infused ambiance can help guide readers through an experience through shifting narrative, rather than leading them in a hop-scotch through the story.

Color symbolism in different types of literature

Literature from all over the world has examined different colors and their meanings. Therefore in this paragraph, we want to know learn about color symbolism in different cultures.

Color symbolism in French literature

In the 12th century, French poets and writers used only seven colors to express romance, characters, and emotions. These were: White, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green Black and Brown.

Color symbolism in Fairy tales

Due to the study of color symbolism, fairy tales are the best resources; examples include: Red as blood, white as snow, black as a crow, etc. These elements evoke emotional reactions in children and make the story more relatable.

For example color symbolism can be seen in Snow White; White visually represents Heaven, Red represents the spilling of blood and enticing yet poisonous apples, and Black represents rebirth and desire.

Color symbolism in Gothic literature

In Gothic literature, the colors red and black are highly symbolic as they really draw readers in and create an emotional response:

  • Red color meaning in Gothic literature: In Gothic literature, red color means dominance, which could have a stimulating effect, according to a 2004 study of psychology majors in Alabama. Gothic writers can evoke both positive and negative emotions depending on the circumstances. Anger and intensity, along with passion and warmth, are examples of these feelings. Red also represents fire and blood, and it can represent passion, determination, and love. In addition, red triggers and increases appetite, metabolism, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Also it is highly visible and is used to indicate danger.
  • Black color meaning in Gothic literature: Black is associated with death, evil, formality, elegance, and mystery in Gothic literature. It also has negative connotations, particularly in poems, and when paired with colors such as red or orange can create an aggressive color scheme.

As a result, the Gothic literature uses red and black for all its literary needs due to these emotional connections to these colors.

What do different colors symbolize

Now let’s see the color symbolism of each color in literature.


Excitement, energy, passion, love, desire, speed, strength, power, hotness, aggression, danger, fire, blood, war, violence, all things intense and passionate, sincerity, happiness (Only in Japan).

photo of red color

Pink is associated with love, romance, tenderness, acceptance and calmness.

photo of pink color
Beige and ivory:

Symbolize unification. Ivory color symbolizes calmness and pleasantness. Beige symbolizes calmness and simplicity.

photo of beige color

It symbolizes joy, happiness, betrayal, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, gold, philosophical thought, dishonesty, cowardice, jealousy, covetousness, deception, illness, hazard, and friendship.

photo of yellow flower
Dark Blue:

In a word, it signifies integrity, power, and seriousness.

color symbolism of dark blue

Calm, peace, tranquility, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence in conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, loyalty, water, technology, depression, appetite suppressant.

color symbolism of blue

Symbolizes calm. Teal is a symbol of sophistication. Aquamarine represents water. A lighter turquoise color has a feminine vibe.

color symbolism of turquoise

Royalty, noblesse, spirituality, ceremony, mysterious, wisdom, enlightenment, cruelty, honor, arrogance, mourning, temperance.

photo for purple color

Feminine, graceful, elegant.

photo of lavender for color symbolism

Energy, balance, enthusiasm, warmth, expansiveness, flamboyance, demanding attention.

photo of orange flower

Nature, wellness, environment, health, renewal, youth, fertility, envy, inexperience, misfortune, vigor.

color symbolism of green

A sense of stability, hearth, home,earth. outdoors, comfort, endurance, simplicity, and comfort.

brown color photo

Security, reliability, intelligence, staidness, modesty, dignity, maturity, solidity, conservatism, practicality, old age, sadness, boredom. Silver signifies tranquility.

photo of gray sky

Reverence, purity, birth, simplicity, cleanliness, humility, precision, innocence, youth, winter, snow, good, sterility, marriage (in the West), death (in the East), or cold.

photo of snow

Strength, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, evil, unhappiness, depth, style, sadness, regret, anger, anonymity, underground, good technical color, mourning, death (Western culture), austerity, detachment.

black color photo


Color has been a part of stories since the very beginning. Writing and poetry use colors to establish a concrete picture of their characters and scenes. anguage itself embodies symbols, whether verbal or written. Therefore the use of color symbolism in literature gives words more meaning, thereby turning the written content into a more effective instrument. Also, if you are interested in color psychology and want to know more about the meaning of colors, you can read this article.


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