Breaking Bad's Color Theory: The Meaning Behind The Colors (2023)

Breaking Bad's Color Theory: The Meaning Behind The Colors (1)

Since its debut, Vince Gilligan, the creator and executive producer of "Breaking Bad," has used color as a way to communicate the mood and meaning of the series.

“Color is important in 'Breaking Bad'; we always try to think in terms of that. We always try to think of the color that a character is wearing, in the sense that it represents their mood on some level," Gilligan said in an interview withVulture.

As the “Breaking Bad” series draws to a close, this deliberate use of color has become more evident and visible as symbolism, particularly in the characters' costumes. While color can be an indicator of a particular character's state of mind, certain colors can also evoke warnings and hints about what will happen in a given episode of "Breaking Bad".

This is our take on the use of color in the "Breaking Bad" series.


The color red takes on multiple meanings throughout the "Breaking Bad" series. When characters in the series use color, it tends to connote aggression, violence, and murder. In the first season of "Breaking Bad", Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) wore the color consistently, reflecting his aggressive nature in the meth business. But red can also symbolize general aggressiveness. This theme of aggression and violence is also seen throughout the series. While working for Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse concoct their meth in an underground lab painted mostly red, connoting the violence and murder that keep their operation going. Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) wears red just before he angrily punches Walt after realizing that Walt is the drug dealer he has been looking for all along.


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Orange is the color of warning and danger. Often in the "Breaking Bad" series, characters wear orange clothing or orange objects are present in a scene just before something dangerous or deadly happens.

In the prison scene of Season 5, Episode 8, "Gliding Over All", Gus' former henchmen are surrounded by other prisoners in orange jumpsuits just before coordinated killings occur in different prisons simultaneously. In Season 5, Episode 14, "Ozymandias", Hank wears an orange shirt under a black coat just before Jack Welker (Michael Bowen), the uncle of Walt's former partner Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), tells him to mate.


In the “Breaking Bad” series, yellow is often directly associated with the operation of manufacturing, selling and laundering methamphetamine. Yellow also means caution, which is increasingly taken as Walt gains more experience in the meth business. When Walt and Jesse move into Gus' underground superlab, they don yellow jumpsuits, showing how meticulous and careful they are with every step they take. Gus, the man behind Walt's product distribution, often wears yellow when meeting with Walt, which reinforces his cautious and calculating nature. Yellow also works as an indicator of something that is about to happen, as does orange. In Season 5, Episode 8, "Gliding Over All", Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) wears yellow just before Hank realizes that Walt is the drug dealer he has been chasing all along. And in season 5, a neighborhood kid is playing with a bright yellow remote control car outside Hank's garage when the confrontation between Walt and Hank begins.


Green serves as the personification of despair, envy and greed. As of the "Breaking Bad" pilot, Walt is seen wearing a green apron while making his first batch of meth. While he initially started cooking meth in desperation to secure his family's future, it turned to greed when he experienced the power and great wealth that meth brought him.

In Season 4, Episode 13, "Face Off", Walt is seen wearing a bright green shirt after Gus is killed by a bomb planted on Hector Salamanca's (Mark Margolis) wheelchair. When Walt calls Skyler after the bombing, he simply exclaims, "I won."

Although Walt killed Gus out of desperation to save his own life, his desperation quickly turned to greed. With no boss to answer to, Walt rose to the top of his meth operation, gaining immense power and wealth.

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Breaking Bad's Color Theory: The Meaning Behind The Colors (2)

Regarding envy, Walt is seen sitting in a bar in "Granite State", wearing a green jacket while his former partner, Elliot Schwartz, appears on the television show "Charlie Rose", denying that Walt had any significant contribution to it. the gray matter. Technologies outside the name. Walt's envy was renewed, as Elliot had benefited from Walt's research, and Walt believed that the wealth Elliot gained should be his. Elliot's denial was the slap that encouraged Walt to leave the bar before the authorities arrived.


Blue serves multiple symbolic purposes in "Breaking Bad".

When objects are colored blue, they tend to signify purity, escape and security. The iconic blue meth that Walt and Jesse created was of the highest purity, which Todd was only able to replicate after taking Jesse prisoner. In Season 5, Episode 14, "Ozymandias", Skyler is seen in a flashback wearing a blue tank top, minding things at home while Walt is secretly out in the desert preparing meth. This meant a time when Skyler was completely unaware of Walt's drug dealing.

Breaking Bad's Color Theory: The Meaning Behind The Colors (3)

Blue also meant safety and protection. Saul Goodman's (Bob Odenkirk) luggage in Season 5, Episode 15, "Granite State," was blue, which was fitting since he was escaping to safety when Walt's world completely came crashing down. The blue meth that Walt produced was also the key to Walt's financial security.


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Gilligan offered this explanation for the color purple in his Vulture interview: "Well, Marie would say purple is the color of royalty."

Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) is certainly given to wishful thinking and wishful thinking. Characters who wear purple in the series tend to be in a position where they are being lied to. Walt deceived Skyler for a while about what he was doing to secure his family's future. Walt and Skyler were misleading Marie about who was behind the drug dealing and even Hank was being tricked by Walt into thinking Walt was handing him a confession, when it turns out to be a blackmail video.


White traditionally serves as a color of purity. Often when characters are seen dressed in white, their intentions are pure, even if they don't necessarily have the "high ground".

This dynamic is seen in Season 5, Episode 14, "Ozymandias", with Skyler wearing white that contrasts with Marie's black outfit while Marie turns the tables on Skyler. (Also note the purple accents on the flowers and the bottom of Skyler's exposed sleeve - although Walt has been exposed at this point, there's still a measure of cheating in this exchange.) White is often used in direct contrast to black. The White family lived on Black Creek Lane. In Spanish, that translates to "dark chain," in Walt's case, a dark path he's leading his family down.


Black represents several things throughout the series. Death, deceit, infamy, wickedness, and power are represented by him. One of the signature uses of black in the "Breaking Bad" series is seen through the black hat that Walt wears at different points in the series. Every time he dons the hat, he's asserting his power and plotting a dark purpose. The few times Marie doesn't wear purple, most of the time, she wears black. Season 4, Episode 3 "Open House", shows Marie dressed in black as she falls back into her kleptomaniac ways.

Breaking Bad's Color Theory: The Meaning Behind The Colors (4)
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Beige signifies a sense of conformity and richness in "Breaking Bad".

When Walt is not in the lab, he usually wears khaki pants and a beige coat. Season 1, Episode 5, "Gray Matter", had Skyler walk into a party wearing a blue dress, with all the wealthy guests wearing beige or white. "Jesus, I don't think we got the beige memo," he said.

This is also seen in Season 5, Episode 9, "Blood Money", with Walt dressed all in beige with his employees arriving in red caps and dark uniforms.

color combinations

Colors often function in direct opposition to one another in the "Breaking Bad" series, like a color wheel. For example, black tends to position itself against white. Color combinations tend to show conflicting emotions at play. In Season 5, Episode 11, "Confessions", the whites are dressed in neutral colors, while Hank wears purple and Marie wears black. Walt and Skyler remain calm throughout the scene as Hank is tricked into thinking that Walt is handing him a confession tape, which is actually a blackmail tape.

Each individual color works to bring out the emotions of a specific scene, reinforcing themes and emphasizing characters' emotions throughout the "Breaking Bad" series. Take a look at some of your favorite "Breaking Bad" episodes and let us know what you think about the role of color.

And be sure to catch "Felina," the final episode of AMC's "Breaking Bad," on Sunday at 9 pm. m. EDT. Look for more coverage of "Breaking Bad" at the International Business Times.

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© Copyright IBTimes 2023. All rights reserved.


What is the symbolism of color in breaking bad? ›

Skyler's blue represents loyalty and peace, while Schrader's red represents violence and anger. Partners who are loyal to Walter White receive money (represented by green, a mixture of blue and yellow), while those who oppose him are met with violence (represented by orange, a mixture of red and yellow).

What is the symbolism of the color purple in breaking bad? ›

In Breaking Bad, Purple is primarily worn by Marie and it is used to symbolize protection, self-deception, and complete lack of involvement in the meth trade. Marie often wears the color purple to show her self-deception. Throughout the show he often tries to convince herself that she is somebody that she isn't.

What is the significance of the color green in breaking bad? ›

Green on Breaking Bad represents money and (more importantly) change. It perhaps should come as no surprise that the color green is heavily associated with money throughout the series.

What does yellow represent in breaking bad? ›

Most of the time, the colour yellow in the show is associated to any person or part of the meth business, ranging from meth kingpin, and Walt's boss, Gustavo Fring's chicken shop business 'Los Pollos Hermanos', which has yellow uniforms, to Walt's hazmat suit that is donned during meth cooking.

Why is Marie always in purple? ›

Throughout the series, Marie is almost always shown wearing the color purple, which creator Vince Gilligan explained is symbolic of her being misled; for example, Walt and Skyler were deluding Marie about who was behind the drug business.

Why does Skyler always wear green in Breaking Bad? ›

Skyler starts out blue, but turns dark once she starts to figure out Walt's secret. Her timeline turns deep blue, almost purple, as her flirtation with Ted grows, and then it turns green once she discovers Walt's stash of money.

What does Walt wearing pink mean? ›

Within the color theory of the show, pink seems to symbolize not just death, but the indirect damage caused by Walt – the destruction that he sets in motion, and the innocent lives that it can claim.

What does the pink stuffed animal mean in Breaking Bad? ›

The bear itself is considered very symbolic in Breaking Bad. It has been said to symbolize the consequences of Walt's actions, or his loss of innocence. It also appeared to foreshadow Gus Fring's death two seasons later; an explosion would leave him with burns almost identical to that of the bear.

What is the hidden message in Breaking Bad? ›

No matter your intentions, you can and will (if you go to Walter's extremes) hurt others irreparably. And while Walter likes to think he's in control, he's not, simply because others have their own free will. When Walter fully gives in to his murderous rage, he goes too far to be forgiven.

What is the color theory breakdown? ›

Understanding the Color Wheel

Three Primary Colors (Ps): Red, Yellow, Blue. Three Secondary Colors (S'): Orange, Green, Violet. Six Tertiary Colors (Ts): Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Violet, which are formed by mixing a primary with a secondary.

What do oranges represent in Breaking Bad? ›

For "Breaking Bad," oranges signify how Walt's devious actions topple the lives of everyone around him. As Looper observes, colors "play a key role" in "Breaking Bad," often indicating specific aspects of characters' personalities and emphasizing the narrative's themes.

Why do Hank and Marie not have kids? ›

Most likely, I think, is that the writers of the show didn't give Hank and Marie kids because it would be an unnecessary distraction from the main plots and story lines of the series. In short, they would get in the way.

What does the blue ribbon mean in Breaking Bad? ›

Why does everyone wear a blue ribbon in Breaking Bad? The characters in Breaking Bad wear blue ribbons to commemorate the deaths of the people over Albuquerque in Wayfarer 515. This accident was attributed to Jane's father, Donald Margolis, shortly after she choked on her own vomit.

Why is Hank and Marie's house purple? ›

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad: "Well, Marie would say purple is the color of royalty. Color is important on Breaking Bad; we always try to think in terms of it. We always try to think of the color that a character is dressed in, in the sense that it represents on some level their state of mind."

Why is Walt's water brown? ›

Meanwhile, Walt leaves an apology on Skyler's voicemail for his behavior at the party. He starts washing the dishes, but stops when the faucet spits out brown, frothy water from the house's faulty water heater.

Is Nettie abused in The Color Purple? ›

Nettie is a fighter who tries to fight for her sister to get an education, fights off her father Alphonso who tries to abuse her sexually, and also fights off Mister's sexual advances.

Why was Hank so obsessed with minerals? ›

Originally Answered: Why did Hank begin collecting minerals in Breaking Bad? It's showing you how deep the Blue Crystals are in his head. He's stuck at home; some deep anxiety is being partially relieved when he can gather, study, and sort blue crystals.

Is Nettie alive in The Color Purple? ›

In fact, Celie's constant love for Nettie has been a source of sustaining strength for her, and now that Nettie is alive, Celie's self-confidence becomes so strong that she will frighten the men who have made her cower for so long.

What is Walter White mental illness? ›

His symptoms got increasingly worse as the series progressed showing that now, he would need treatment for this clinical diagnosis if he hopes to return to any form of a normal life. It is no coincidence that Walt encompasses all nine characteristics of having a narcissistic personality disorder, as outlined in DSM-5.

How much younger is Skyler than Walt? ›

Skyler is 12 years younger than Walt, whom she met when she was a hostess at a diner near Walt's former place of work, near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Why was Albuquerque chosen for Breaking Bad? ›

"They said New Mexico has a tax rebate for film and television production, and it's a pretty substantial one," Gilligan recalled. "And really, it's a hard [carrot] to turn down ... and so New Mexico very quickly became the place we decided to shoot our show for strictly financial reasons.

What does teddy bear symbolize? ›

Teddy bears are given to remind us of the innocent and pure love we need in today's society, as it symbolizes the love, freedom, and innocence we had as children.

Why is Walt obsessed with the eye? ›

The fact that Walt holds on to the eye represents God's omnipresence and Walt's awareness of God 'watching' him and realisation that death and judgement is inevitable.

Why does Walt say say my name? ›

He offers Declan the chance to buy out Mike's share and oversee Walt's distribution network, guaranteeing that they will make more money than if Declan produced meth on his own. To reinforce his point, Walt demands that Declan "say his name"; Declan resignedly acknowledges Walt as "Heisenberg".

What does the pool symbolize in Breaking Bad? ›

But in Breaking Bad, the pool is most often a conduit for death, destruction, emotional voids and dark feelings. The clever visual symbolism of the dirty water and empty swimming pools plaguing Walt adds another layer to the show's exploration of morality and the effects of our actions on our inner, spiritual selves.

Why does Walt have a black eye? ›

It was Hank who used $177,000 of drug money to pay for physical therapy. It was Hank who gave Walt the black eye when he tried to get out.

What is the bee symbol in Breaking Bad? ›

The company's logo is a stylized golden bee, seen on many of the barrels in the superlab and at Madrigal's warehouse. Although the company is called "Golden Moth" the character in the logo is 蜂 (fēng), which is Chinese for bee, wasp, or hornet; "moth" is 蛾 (é).

Why can hector not talk in Breaking Bad? ›

Hector is a former drug agent who worked for Don Eladio. His family members are very involved in the drug business. After an unexplained incident, he's left paralyzed in most of his body and can't speak or move on his own. His only means of communication is the bell on his wheelchair.

What was Walt's last words Breaking Bad? ›

Simple, complicated, it doesn't matter. Steps never change, and I know every step.

Why did Walt cry in front of Walter Jr? ›

in. Walt says he missed the party because he was gambling and doesn't want Walter Jr. to tell Skyler anything. Walt begins to cry, saying that he's made mistakes. Walter Jr. has trouble consoling his father and ends up putting him to bed.

What does each colour represent? ›

Blue is seen as conservative. Red is power and aggression. Brighter colors such as yellow and orange represent warmth not only with emotions but also with temperature. Cool colors are blue, green, black or any color with a dark shade.

What is the meaning of color theory? ›

Color theory is the collection of rules and guidelines which designers use to communicate with users through appealing color schemes in visual interfaces. To pick the best colors every time, designers use a color wheel and refer to extensive collected knowledge about human optical ability, psychology, culture and more.

What do spiders represent in Breaking Bad? ›

Todd keeps the tarantula, and it reappears later in the season. As a fan on Quora points out, the tarantula serves first as a visual nod to Todd's psychopathic tendencies and later, becomes a living reminder that the characters can't escape their pasts.

What does the mustard stain represent in Breaking Bad? ›

Yellow is one of the more genius color choices, foreshadowing things that will be bad in the future. For example, when Walter is getting diagnosed with cancer he can only focus on the yellow mustard stain on his doctor's shirt. This foreshadows the inevitable death his cancer will bring someday.

How many biological children does Marie have? ›

But how much do you know about Marie Osmond's life as a mother? The “Meet Me in Montana” singer has actually been married thrice – two times to the same man. She was then blessed to become a mother to eight children, with three of them being biologically her own while five are adopted.

How did Hank Schrader get killed? ›

Walt pleads to Jack to spare Hank's life, offering his entire fortune to Jack. Hank refuses to beg for his life and asks Walt how such an intelligent man could be too naive to see that Jack had already made his decision. Hank then tells Jack to do what he has to do and Jack kills him with a shot to the head.

Is Skyler's baby Walts? ›

Family. Ozymandias Holly's first words after being kidnapped by Walt. Holly White is the infant daughter of Walter and Skyler White. Walter White Jr. is her older brother.

Why does Marie wear yellow? ›

“I use yellow as a relief color for her, so it's not purple, purple, purple all the time,” Bryan explained. “You'll notice sometimes she wears a yellow tank underneath something. There's no deep hidden meaning — not this time.” Marie's shirt, in other words, was an un-purple herring, meaning nothing.

Did Marie ever find out about Hank? ›

In Season 5 Episode 14, “Ozymandias,” Marie (Brandt) learns about Hank's (Dean Norris) death while Skylar (Anna Gunn) is on the phone with Walt (Bryan Cranston).

How many children does Mr have in The Color Purple? ›

Nettie has a boyfriend at church — Mr. ___ (how Celie writes his name throughout the book). He is a widower with four kids. But when he asks for Nettie's hand in marriage, her father refuses.

Why did Walt keep pouring tequila? ›

Walter is also teaching his son a lesson about responsible drinking. By giving him a bottle of tequila, he is showing Hank that it is possible to enjoy alcohol without getting drunk.

Why is Walter's water red? ›

Poisonous gas

In one scene, in their makeshift mobile meth lab out in the desert, Walt is being threatened by two gangsters. He improvises a method to gas them by throwing red phosphorus into hot water. Walt manages to run out, locking the gangsters in.

Why is Irish water Brown? ›

Some of the mains pipes in our network are made of cast iron and are up to 100 years old. Sediment from these old pipes can enter the water as it passes through them. The sediment can cause your water to appear brown or orange. Sediment can be disturbed by changes to water flow, direction or pressure.

Why is everything yellow in Mexico Breaking Bad? ›

It's a colour code that means to convey the warmth of the place. In places like Mexico or India or any place that is generally warmer, in terms of temperature, a warmer (yellower/orange) look, feels more appropriate and easier for the audience to make the connection.

What does the tarantula symbolize in Breaking Bad? ›

Todd keeps the tarantula, and it reappears later in the season. As a fan on Quora points out, the tarantula serves first as a visual nod to Todd's psychopathic tendencies and later, becomes a living reminder that the characters can't escape their pasts.

What do bugs symbolize in Breaking Bad? ›

The various bugs and pests seen in this series represent different contaminates in Walter's meth business plans. The contaminates represent various people in the series that prevent Walter from getting what he wants.

What does the toy car represent in Breaking Bad? ›

The Aztek – one of the most boring cars ever made was one of the first vehicles established right in the pilot episode of Breaking Bad – much before the birth of 'Heisenberg'. It was chosen to depict the 'baby boomer', lame and pathetic side of Walter White. The Pontiac Aztek stood up as a beacon of failed dreams.

Why is Walter Whites water red? ›

Poisonous gas

He improvises a method to gas them by throwing red phosphorus into hot water. Walt manages to run out, locking the gangsters in. He later explains to Jesse that this reaction produced poisonous phosphine gas. Red phosphorus can react with hydrogen to produce phosphine - but not with hot water.

Why does Walt give JR tequila? ›

Walter is also teaching his son a lesson about responsible drinking. By giving him a bottle of tequila, he is showing Hank that it is possible to enjoy alcohol without getting drunk.


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