The Forbidden Color Schemes

We are indescribably gifted with the simple (yet not so simple) ability to see the world in color. How beautiful our surroundings are shown to us in every moment. There are so many colors to experience, so many hues, tints, and shades. Some theorize that there are even more, but fall on the spectrum of visible light outside of what is biologically available to us as human beings.

All this is to say that color is mysterious and important. There is psychology of color. However, unlike certain shapes – sharp triangles, for instance – colors do not always have such a strong, overwhelming association. We might think of love when we see red, especially around this time as Valentine’s Day approaches, but we could also think of blood, often the result of love’s antonym.

Because of how one color can be associated with so many different things, I have found myself facing head-on an issue I have been dealing with for as long as I could put a crayon to paper.

See, from the time I could differentiate colors, I was taught never to put orange and blue together. Why? They are complementary colors, after all; they are supposed to go together.
University of Virginia Logo

No; they aren’t.

Orange and blue are UVA colors.

I was born a hokie, which means maroon is the color that has a magnetic force with orange.

I was never to pair orange and blue.

– That’s a sin.


In reality I live one state down from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech and go to a school whose colors are red and black (though they too have started repping orange. People are angry about it – we shouldn’t talk about the logo change). I don’t much care about the Virginia school rivalry politics, but I know I still could not sit down and design something in orange and blue and not feel like I was shamming myself and my family.

Is that not a funny issue? But it is impeded in me. The feelings I associate with this certain color scheme are negative ones. Virginia Tech’s colors comfort me. Maroon and orange are right beside each other on the color wheel, so they aren’t as eye catching together, but they are warmer.
Virginia Tech’s Logo

There are other color pairs that tend to make me feel uncomfortable as well, like green and red when it is not Christmas time. There is only about a one month span for those colors to be seasonally appropriate.

Greens and purples – why are we bringing up Barney?



To all of the local North Carolinians surrounding me, is there a difference to you between dark blue and light blue bigger than the changing shade or tint? They have been renamed to Duke Blue and Carolina Blue, so I’m going to guess you can relate.

[Hokie Hokie Hokie Hy, Tech Tech V.P.I]



2 thoughts on “The Forbidden Color Schemes

Add yours

  1. aas someone who attended Carolina, yes! There’s a big difference. It’s funny how we become color chameleons too based on where we attend school. I never wore red before working at GWU, and I’m not sure it was a deliberate choice either. I just started moroine my wardrobe to fit in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: