Writer’s Resource: Colors

You MAY have noticed that I love words. I love seeing them, collecting them, and learning about them. But as a very visual person, I also have another passion.

Hi, my name is Rachelle. Hi Rachelle, the circle of addicts respondsAnd I’m obsessed with color. If you ask for my favorite, I am one of those people that will stutter, list off twenty, and eventually give you some sort of vague answer that is not very slightly helpful. Because, I love them all.

So when I found blogger/author/artist Ingrid Sundberg’s Color Thesaurus, I was delighted with its depth and visual satisfaction.

In her own words:

I love to collect words. Making word lists can help to find the voice of my story, dig into the emotion of a scene, or create variety.

One of my on-going word collections is of colors. I love to stop in the paint section of a hardware store and find new names for red or white or yellow. Having a variety of color names at my fingertips helps me to create specificity in my writing. I can paint a more evocative image in my reader’s mind if I describe a character’s hair as the color of rust or carrot-squash, rather than red. – Ingrid

Can you see why I love her already?

I was impressed and awed with how she was able to show the tiny nuances between the different shades of each color. She gives a disclaimer that warns it is only how she interprets each shade, but I was onboard with her vision and agreed for almost all of her examples. What a valuable resource for an author looking to enrich their descriptions!

Then, since I love challenges, I decided to see what other colors I could find. And so, the hunt began. A few hours later, I exhausted the dictionary and only had a handful that I felt like could be used in a story without sending the reader straight to Google for a definition.

So, below are her original graphics and my meager (name only) additions.


Other shades of green: Kelly, grass, leaf, apple, jade, spinach, willow, avocado, bottle green


Other shades of blue: turquoise, aqua, cyan, ice, cornflower


Other shades of purple: pomegranate, puce


Other shades of pink: peony, raspberry, roseate, cerise


Other shades of red: maroon, burgundy, carmine, vermilion, ruddy, henna, terracotta, poppy, saffron


Other shades of orange: Pumpkin, ochre, ginger


Other shades of yellow: sunshine, straw, goldenrod, citrine, taxi cab, sunflower


Other shades of brown: earth, copper, chestnut, burnt sienna, auburn, bay, bister, russet, sorrel


Other shades of tan: Khaki, biscuit, buff, ecru, camel, mushroom, taupe, nude, bisque, toast, dun, suede


Other shades of white: milk, chalk, oatmeal, champagne, crystal, vanilla


Other shades of grey: dust, stone, granite, cement, platinum


Other shades of black: … I’ve got nothing, guys. I think she covered this color pretty well.

I found that I was surprised by how many extra words for tan and brown I found as compared to the others! But I guess those are colors more prominent in nature, so generations of humans have been referring to the shades of earth before dyes (and computer pixels) were used.

What color words do you think I’ve missed?

P.S. If you liked this post, be sure to check out Part Two, where I give myself permission to list some fun, rarer names for colors and the history behind them!

(Resources: Colourlovers, Theasurus.com, Ingrid’s Color Thesaurus)


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