Power of Color in Story Telling

There is a book “If It’s Purple Someone’s Gonna Die: The Power of Color in Visual Storytelling” by Patti Bellantoni. While the focus of the book is examples in movies, there is good information for artists and writers too. I’ve always strived to make the colors in my backgrounds colorful and welcoming to the viewer, framing Wraith and their hiveship homes as complimentary as possible.

I also started thinking about color symbolism in Wraith life. Here are some random observations:

*Queen Sally’s hair is bright crimson red. It is sexy, powerful, and attention-grabbing. Sumner can’t help but to look at her. Unlike the Athosians, Sumner can’t look through Sally.

*The map hologram control panels are topped with yellow and yellow is the color of the path between destinations, represented by red and blue endpoints. Yellow can be a cautionary color.

*The on-board Wraith worshippers in “The Hive” wear various shades of soft blues. As if symbolizing their lifestyle transformation, the earthy tones of their village clothes are set aside and they don soft shades of blue, the color of the sky where Wraith ships fly the skies and dominate. Moreover, the shades they wear are muted in comparison to the colors of hiveship lighting, symbolizing submission. Yet, the cloth is finely woven, not course, and would be luxurious fabrics back in many of their villages. Chaya Sar’s dress is of similar finery, elegant and accepting of her duties over the skies of Proculus.

*A big, flashing red button means danger for cultures in other galaxies too. Explosive Wraith grenades blink red. Until the self-destruct is disarmed in Queen Taina’s cruiser, it stays red. The color red highlights enemy darts on the heads-up canopy display of the dart John stole in “The Hive,” while friendly darts are highlighted in green. Green buttons, on the opposite side of the color wheel and the color of Wraith skin tone, are status quo or friendly. Many computer displays stream green data layers.

*The Wraith hiveship interior sets themselves have a variety of colors: mysterious purples, calm blues, and vibrant reds, with accents of vibrant greens, warm oranges, and white here and there. I can’t see reasons for each choice scheme, but blue lighting is common in both Wraith and Ancient interiors, a very calm and cerebral color.