Offbeat Colors

Students learn the English words for standard colors pretty early on:

red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, grey, and white

As students are exposed to more words and contexts, they’ll pick up on other colors, perhaps cyan, gold, tan, etc. But what about some of the less common colors? Learners might not have a lot of occasions to use some of these colors, but this can be a good exercise in descriptions.

Choose Colors

Students should do this activity for multiple colors, let’s say four. Here are some to choose from (although you can certainly add your own ideas to the list; you can also use any from the above paragraph that students do not already know). Alternately, assign some at random.

  • aquamarine
  • auburn
  • bronze
  • chartreuse
  • chocolate
  • copper
  • eggshell
  • fuchsia
  • goldenrod
  • indigo
  • lavender
  • lilac
  • lime
  • maroon
  • mauve
  • olive
  • onyx
  • persimmon
  • periwinkle
  • pistachio
  • puce
  • rose
  • salmon
  • sea foam
  • sienna
  • sinopia
  • taupe
  • turquoise
  • tuscan
  • vermilion

Identify on Color Wheel

1. How does the color relate to the standard colors? Is it a variant of pink? Does it lie somewhere between yellow and green?

2. Is the color dark or light? Is it dull or bright?

A color can be any combination of dark-light and dull-bright. For example, pastel colors are both light and a little dull. For another example, neon colors are neither dark nor light; they are half-way between. But neon colors are always very bright.



Where are you likely to see this colors? On cars? The walls of hallways? Pottery? Signs in store windows? Are you more likely to see this color during a particular time of the day or season of the year?

What type of mood does this color fit? How does it make people feel? Check out our Color Significance project for more.

As you get more specific in your descriptions, they become more subjective. It would be interesting to compare finished projects between two students who had the same color.

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