Artifexian – Color in Librus

Following on from my last post, “Color in Fictional Settings”, this week I’d like to look at how we can apply color meaningfully in a constructed setting. To help me out, I teamed up with author Sander Famil to discuss his unique treatment of the color purple.

On earth, purple is the color of royalty and prosperity and it’s not hard to see why. In antiquity, purple dye was got from the mucus of the Murex mollusk. Production of a mere 1.5 grams of dye required beating, drying and extracting the mucus from roughly twelve thousand Murex mollusks.

Yes, you read that correctly, 12,000!

Naturally, due to the costs involved, purple became a color effectively reserved for the rich.
But, what if mollusk genocide wasn’t a prerequisite to obtaining a purple dye? What if purple was a more naturally abundant color?

Sander Famil proposes such a world. In Askur, purple is a common color. Many plant species are purple in color and the pigment is easily extracted and manipulated, leading to some very interesting cultural implications…

So next time you’re dealing with color, don’t just make white the color of good and black the color of evil. Think deeper. Ask why a certain color has a certain connotation and then imagine a scenario in which it that connotation is flipped on its head. Trust me the results will be….colorful!

Hope you all enjoyed.
Until next time
…Edgar out!!!

  • John H Reiher Jr

    I thought about adding what colors the Kutalii thought were good, bad, and indifferent. Obviously, Red is a color of life and goodness, since that’s the Kutalii skin color. Green is also a good color, as that’s the color of plant life.

    Bad or negative colors is a good one, as the Kutalii have four sets of cones, Red-Yellow-Green-Blue, so they see more colors than we do. So some of their colors look the same to us, but to them are different as Yellow is from Orange is to us. To them, there’s a color between those two that we can’t see. Their rainbow has more colors in it than ours.

    • Very cool! How do the Kutalii deal with other species who inadvertently display or use those bad colors?
      Could I, as a trichromatic human, integrate into their society or would I constantly be ridiculed for wearing bad colors or not recognising the good colors etc?

      • John H Reiher Jr

        That’s a good question. I’d guess it would be like the guy who wears an orange shirt with red and green plaid shorts, argyle socks and open toe sandals. You have no taste in colors.

        As a trichro, you’d operate like someone who’s color blind in their society, you depend on others to tell you if your colors are correct or if you need to change your shirt, even though to your eyes, it’s light yellow-green, but to them it is Yeleen, or whatever their name for it is.

        For the most part, they’d treat humans as tacky dressers, mixing colors together that shouldn’t go together and the humans just can’t understand why you can’t wear yeleen with relow.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    This was a interesting article.

    • Thank you, good sir. What are you thoughts and opinions on this whole color thing?

  • the meaning behind colors is an interesting thing to think about 🙂

    usually I design the vehicles and characters with a cross of what color looks the best for this application, and what color makes the most sense. i think I subconsciously think about their meanings without really thinking about it XD

    my web comic’s main ship the Charon IV is painted in cream and a dull red, colors to help show that it’s old “like your typical boring family car from the 1970s” it has blue ion engines which is just the most common color of ion engine in my comics universe. meanwhile the newer Bogey GT “a sports car” is bright purple with yellow ion engines.

  • BOB

    I’ve considered this thoroughly and I think that you should really invent a new color spectrum and change other aspects such as gravity, what people survive on, etc. Star Trek is an example of what you should not do. They never hit a star when in warp. Almost every species the federation has encountered is humanoid. The writers focus more on the plots and not the characters.