How the Colors in Breaking Bad Painted a Story

By: Rhea Srivastava

4 min readFeb 22, 2021

While watching Breaking Bad, you might find yourself eventually wondering, why does Marie Schrader love purple so much? Asking this question may open your eyes to how much significance color has on this show. Starting off, the main protagonists of the show are Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, both of whom have colors in their respective names. Vince Gilligan explained that white represented a vanilla, bland version of Walter, and while he initially wore a lot of beige and khaki colors, we see him start wearing green more often, which shows us his evolution as a character. On the other hand, pink is a youthful color and was used as Jesse’s surname to emphasize how young he was during the events of the show.

The aforementioned green is thought to represent greed, desperation, and envy. This explains the state of mind Walter was in when he starts cooking meth. While he initially started cooking out of desperation, he continued to do so due to his greed for money and power.

The color red is associated with violence and aggression and we can often see this reflected mainly in Hank Schrader’s wardrobe, because of his hot-headed nature and blatant disregard for protocol at times. It is also worth noting that Walter was wearing a dark red shirt during his iconic “I am the one who knocks” scene.

Blue is said to symbolize loyalty, purity, and sadness. Not only is it the color of Walter’s signature blue meth, which was of the highest purity, but it is also the color mainly worn by Skyler White, symbolizing both her loyalty towards her husband and her sadness in watching her husband’s body and soul decompose slowly.

The color yellow also has a significant role in the show, as it is used to symbolize meth and the pain and suffering caused by it. It also represents pleasure, optimism, and caution. Jesse Pinkman was often seen wearing yellow, and Gustavo Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos uniform also consisted of a yellow shirt.

Black is said to represent death, darkness, evil, secrecy and deception. Walter’s ensemble for his Heisenberg persona consists of a black pork pie hat, Gustavo Fring frequently wears a black suit when meeting his business associates in the drug world, and while Marie is usually always wearing purple, she is seen wearing black prior to Hank’s death.

Finally, Purple, which was not as subtle as other colors. Vince Gilligan simply said, “Well, Marie would say purple is the color of royalty”.

These colors not only depict the emotions of the characters but also make sense relationship-wise. Green, which is associated with Walter, is a mixture of blue and yellow, these colors are associated with Skyler and Jesse, his two partners. Yellow also represented meth and its complimentary color is purple, which means that it is located on the opposite side of the color wheel, representing how Marie was the furthest away from Walt’s growing meth empire, contributing virtually nothing to it. This detail is one that was so interesting to find.

This level of attention to detail is just another reason why Breaking Bad remains one of the greatest TV shows to have ever aired, even eight years after its premiere. Each individual scene had the right color scheme reflecting the emotions of the characters or even foreshadowing certain events. After all this, all I can say is, color me embarrassed for not noticing this pattern before.