Artifexian – Color in Fictional Settings

Aside from the obvious, good guys are dressed in white and the bad guys in black, how can color be applied within a fictional setting? Can we as storytellers exploit color, to yield something a little deeper than bland dualities.

The answer is a resounding, yes!purple_forest_by_ninjatic-d7e4dsp

Take plants for example. Must plants be green? Around a very dim star, plants might evolve black colored foliage, so as to maximise their intake of what little sunlight is available to them.
If this were the case, then its easy to imagine that culturally, the color black would invoke images of prosperity, growth, fertility etc.

That is if the culture in question perceives the local plant-life as being black.

Just because an object is a certain color does not necessarily mean it will be perceived as that color.
The color of those black plants could vary wildly for species to species, depending on how many photoreceptor cells each species has in their eyes.

Where we human see black an alien may see something entirely more colorful.
But, lets say for argument sake an alien race did see these plants for the black color they truly are.

What if those aliens didn’t have a word to describe what they saw?
Without a linguistic component would the color black then, cease to exist?

And even if the color does exist to them, what would black sound like?

Confused? Check out my video below and all shall become clear.
Until next time,
…Edgar out!

P.S I want to give a massive shout out to the /r/worldbuilding subreddit. This video was inspired by a competition the mods run over there, called the Weekly Challenge competition. It really is a great page. Very entertaining, creative and informative and I strongly suggest you stop by and check it out.
A must for any world-builder, writer or storyteller.

Artwork by Kirk Quilaquil (

  • John H Reiher Jr

    Sometimes I wish I had Tetrachromacy like some people do. The artist, Concetta Antico, can see into the UV band of light and her art reflects this.

    • But can we appreciate her artwork?

      • Christmas Snow

        Her artworks:

        I don’t know if she find a way to paint the extra color she sees. If she has tetrachromacy then I wonder how her BRAIN would conceive the color: Having a new sensory organ does not mean our brain has the new sense, unless it has the compatible “plug-in”, shortly speaking. It is possible her UV cones produce the effect of a (say) purple color, because the brain cannot perceive a new color outside its definition range, but it can perceive purple. In that case, painting purple will give her painting an identical look compared to the object.

        If she perceives a new color, then I wonder how she can make us perceive it in her painting. One day an EEG scan will be accurate enough to map the visual cortex and reproduce those electric signals in another person via electrodes. The person will be able to sense and see what others do. I believe it is possible within the next decade.

    • I’d would love to see in RGB and Infra-red. Infra-red strikes me as being very useful.