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What Are Forbidden Colors

Forbidden colors are a classic kind of color scheme that are often seen in traditional and vintage designs. The term “forbidden” is used to describe a palette that is very particular in terms of color composition and usage of hues.

Forbidden colors are not a set of shades that are considered to be “wrong” or “seen as bad” but rather they are just a preferred color palette that have certain qualities that artists and designers can choose when creating their art or designing a product or website.

What makes Forbidden Colors Different?

Forbidden Colors are different from other types of color schemes because they are not just composed of a few different shades, but instead are completely unique in terms of the combination of colors used. A traditional color palette would normally include anywhere from three to seven colors, but with forbidden colors, there can be as few as two and as many as ten or more. This wide range of colors allows for more creative expression, as well as layering of colors to create a more complex and interesting final design.

In addition to being more complex, forbidden colors also often have a deeper, more intense hue than other color schemes. The colors used in forbidden colors tends to be very dark or very light, creating an almost ethereal quality to the product or design.

It is this combination of darkness or lightness and complexity that makes forbidden colors so attractive to designers and artists.

What Colors Are Found in Forbidden Colors?

Forbidden colors can include a wide range of colors, depending on the artist or designer’s individual tastes. Some of the more traditional forbidden colors are shades of green and blue, but even more unique combinations such as deep purple and lavender or yellow and magenta have gained popularity as well.

In addition to the traditional palette of colors, forbidden colors often include hints of metallic colors, such as gold or silver, to add a bit of an edge to the design. In addition to these metallics, bright white and black are also commonly seen in these color palettes, to really contrast the hues and give the design a unique look.

What Type of Art or Design Utilizes Forbidden Colors?

There is no one specific art or design field that uses forbidden colors, as this depends on the individual artist. However, it is commonly seen in tattoo designs, digital artwork, and vintage posters or advertisements. For example, tattoo artists might use this type of color palette in order to create a unique, complex design that stands out from traditional tattoo design styles.

Digital artists might use this type of color to liven up a piece, or to create an almost dream-like atmosphere. Finally, vintage style art and designs often utilizes these colors in order to create a more nostalgic and classic look that appeals to both young and older viewers.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Forbidden Colors?

The pros of forbidden colors is that they can create a unique, complex design or art piece that stands out from the rest. It also allows for more complex color juxtapositions and contrasts, which can help lead to a dynamic and interesting outcome.

The cons are that it can be trickier to make lighter colors stand out against the darker colors in the palette, which can lead to a less effective final design. In addition, some people may also find these colors to be too dark or intense, which can be off-putting for some viewers.

Tips for Using Forbidden Colors

When using forbidden colors, it is important to have a plan in mind for what colors will be used and how those colors will be layered. It is also important to keep the colors in balance, as to not overpower the design with only dark or dull colors. Additionally, it is important to not just rely on traditional pattern or images, but to be more creative in the way that colors are used and to truly let the forbidden colors shine.

Layer different intensities and shades to keep the color palette interesting and unique.

When Should Forbidden Colors Be Avoided?

Forbidden colors should be avoided in cases where a soft, subtle look is wanted. These colors can appear to be too much or be too intense, which can be off-putting and make the design look less effective.

Additionally, if a design is supposed to be feminine, then forbidden colors should likely be avoided as this color palette tends to be a bit more masculine in tone.

Examples of Forbidden Colors

Some examples of forbidden colors include navy blue, deep purple, jet black, gold, deep red, teal, silver, and white. These colors can be used together in unique ways to create a wide range of designs, from subtle to intense. Any color can be used as part of a forbidden design, as long as it is not too overpowering and does not leave the design looking dull or uninteresting.


Forbidden colors can be a powerful tool when it comes to creating art and designs. This type of palette gives designers a chance to create something truly unique, whether it be a digital work of art or a vintage-style poster. However, it is important to plan out the colors and to not overpower the design with too many hues.

The traditional forbidden palette of navy and deep purples, jet black, gold, silver, and white can make for some truly unique and captivating art when used correctly.

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