Colour Theory in KPOP Music Videos Part Two


This was made as an original post contributed to a community with an already established understanding of KPOP but a limited understanding of music video concept. Re-sharing it here because the content is something I'm really proud of!

If you don't know much about KPOP as an industry you can watch a great primer created by VOX on Netflix! You don't have to know much about the industry, the language, or the culture to follow along with concepts in this post.

This is a Follow Up to Colour Theory in KPOP Music Videos PT 1

This post will have a lot of atmospheric colour theory examples rather than specific colour/item symbols like the last post.
Choosing atmospheric/scenic colours is important for setting an overall tone to videos.



SHINee did a wonderful job incorporating the colour wheel into their The Story of Light comeback so I’m using theirs for the example!


Primary colours: Red, Yellow, Blue. These are colours that you cannot create by mixing two other colours.

Secondary colours: Green, Purple, Orange. You can create these colours by mixing the primary colours.

Tertiary colours: These are the colours you can create by mixing a primary and a secondary colour.


If you use any photo editing apps you’ve probably seen these listed. Here’s a quick explanation of what each means and how it effects colour.


Hue: The actual colour itself

Saturation: The intensity of the hue and how much grey is added to it.100% saturation means it’s completely pure, 0% saturation means it’s grey. Try adjusting the saturation in those apps to see how it changes the hues.

Luminance: The amount of white (to make it paler) or black (to make it darker) added to a hue.

Temperature: How warm or cool the hue is perceived, for video/photo this is mostly based on source of light. For example, next time you walk passed a residential apartment building look at the windows - you’ll see some people have cooler temperature lightbulbs (bluer) and some have warmer (more orange).

If you ever want to build your own colour palettes here are some resources: Here’s some tools to make your own palettes:

Coolors - Adobe Colour -


Purple is generally associated with royalty and nobility but it's also used to symbolize arrogance, mourning, sensitivity, sensuality, power, and cruelty.



Blue is used probably the most often as an atmospheric colour (paired with green) because of the prevalence of sky and water. Viewers tend to be able to pick up on emotional intentions based on how the colour matches with how it's found in nature. Usually used to show spirituality, peace, tranquility, stability, but also used to imply confidence, order, cold, technology, and depression.


If the plot didn't scream stable boyfriend fantasy the colour paletter sure helped bring that concept home.



Green: healing, perseverance, tenacity, good luck, renewal, youth, vigour, jealousy, inexperience, envy.


Finding an example of green that wasn't just trees or nature was difficult but I think this one does a good job. The pairing of green and golds is really great here.


Usually orange is used to represent positive and happy things like warmth, enthusiasm, freshness, and vibrancy but when used for selective representation it can be a representation of something more sinister and dangerous, a warning.


tw for suicidal imagery, physical violence and threesomes

Definitely one of the most visually provocative MVs from recent years. Orange is used here as a warning of bad things to come even down to the amount of orange in each of their hairstyles. It also works to balance with the freshness of the song, using a red instead might have been too severe.


VIXX: RED WHITE & BLACK (from the comment I left in the last post) VIXX's recent videography (like post-dynamite to present) consistently uses 3 colours: White, Black & Red which are used to create a clinical ominous and tense atmosphere. They use red differently in Scentist (desire and lust) compared to The Closer (danger and risk) and Fantasy (evil, temptation and sin) but white and black are consistently used to build tension between good and evil. The videos where white is mostly absent are usually the darkest thematically/ones where they're in the most danger in the story.


This one's pretty easy to spot while watchign their vids. They use purple similarly in all their vids to how BTS did in BST, to show nobility and mystery. It counter acts the pink side a lot. Purple is also easier to manipulate and more versatile than straight black so I can see why they've used it as a signature instead of black.