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The Ultimate Guide to Superhero Colour Theory

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While absorbing the contents of a Batman comic or watching the latest Marvel release on the big screen, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why superheroes and their villainous counterparts are dressed in their respective colours? Probably not. But did you know that colour plays an important part in the storytelling process and, in the same way colour theory can be applied to several aspects of our lives, it can also aid us in differentiating the good guys from the bad?

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular characters in the comic book universe, Superman. He is dressed predominantly in blue and red, with his logo emblazoned in yellow – all primary colours. Captain America is another character clad in ‘classic’ superhero colours, his patriotic ensemble of blue and red inclusive of a fair amount of white to symbolise purity. Now, let’s look at Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor and his iconic purple and green armour. This particular pairing of secondary colours is frequently associated with the bad guys of the comic book universe including, but not limited to, Green Goblin, the Joker, and the Riddler. There will, of course, be the odd exception, but the general rule is that primary colours are attributed to those with good intentions while secondary colours are reserved for those who choose to inflict harm on others.

Fascinated by the influence colour has on our perception of various fictional characters, the team over at Cartridge People put together the following infographic to explore this particular application of colour theory in more detail.

Superhero Colour Theory

John Pring

John Pring is the Managing Editor of Visual Broadcast and an experienced data visualisation and infographic specialist. His main interests include literature, football, art & design, infographics and visual storytelling, and you can find him on Twitter @designbysoap

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