Single-Palette Town

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Truth in Television in towns downwind of a steel factory.

Celia: How about this one? Do you think this will get his attention?
Vaarsuvius: I would venture a guess that [Roy] might be tired of the color blue by this point.
Celia: It's the only color they sell here.

Order of the Stick"No Cure for the Paladin Blues"

So there's a place. And it only has one color. Not sixty-four, not thirty-two, not four, just the one color. It's everywhere. And you can't run away from it. Everywhere you go, the people will wear clothes and have hair that reflect this color scheme and no other. They must really like it.

Like Color-Coded for Your Convenience, this trope exists mainly so that the audience knows which character belongs to which nationality. Tends to be prevalent particularly with drawn artwork where color distinction is most obvious, and thus the trope is most helpful. It also shows up from time to time in early Hollywood technicolor films- where color was the newest, greatest thing out there, and the cinematographer was going to make damn sure that the audience knew it was there.

Definitely one of those tropes which you just shouldn't think too hard about. Just enjoy the pretty, shiny colors- you know you want to.

Has nothing to do with the protagonist's home town in Pokémon; that's Pallet Town.

Examples of Single-Palette Town include:

Comic Books

  • One issue of Swamp Thing had the titular character using plants to remake an alien world in blue.


  • The earliest known example of this trope is in the Oz books, where the famous Emerald City is a uniform splendid shade of green, and was immortalized as such in the famous 1939 film of The Wizard of Oz, making this Older Than Television. Interestingly, in the original book, the city wasn't actually green—the wizard just required that everyone wears glasses that make it look green, for his own selfish purposes. Regardless, the trope still fully applies to Munchkin Country, where houses and clothes were invariably blue, and likewise for the yellow-loving Winkies, the red-sporting Quadlings, and the purple-clad Gillikins. In some of the books, this trope goes to an extreme: even the dirt, rocks, houses, and plants take on a particular hue depending where in Oz it is.
    • The Broadway adaptation The Wiz and the Retcon Wicked both adopt the glasses from the book, but oddly enough, in both cases the town is still green—perhaps for the convenience of the non-tinted-glasses-wearing audience.
      • The movie version of The Wiz‍'‍s Emerald City is a Single Palette Town, but the actual color on that palette changes on occasion because of fashion. It starts green, then turns red, and then turns gold.
  • In Piers Anthony's Phaze series, the various Adepts decorate their estates in single colors, and even the surrounding landscape is tinted to match.

Live-Action TV

  • Several episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood featured a single-palette planet, Planet Purple, where everything was purple and the main inhabitants were blocky people who were all named Paul and Pauline, together with a Purple Panda.


  • Blue by Eiffel 65 gives us this lyrical gem:

I have a blue house with a blue window
Blue is the colour of all that I wear
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too
I have a girlfriend, and she is so blue


  • Urinetown typically dresses the majority of the characters in various shades of yellow. Guess why.

Video Games

  • Advance Wars (at least before it got Darker and Edgier) used this color scheme to help distinguish between different nations.
    • It still does, but it's not as clear-cut anymore. Red and Yellow both belong to the same nation, while Black is used for various groups not directly connected to a nation.
  • The Happy Happy Village in EarthBound is covered and continually repainted in blue by the town when it is under the influence of the insane Happy Happy cult, which worships the colour blue. Even the livestock get painted blue. When the cult's leader is defeated, the town reverts to its normal color scheme.
  • The trope's title refers to the first generation Pokémon games where the player starts out in Pallet Town, and travels to other cities each named after a distinctive color. Provided you had a Super Game Boy for the SNES or a Game Boy Color, the color of the town becomes the palette scheme (so Saffron City looks very yellow, Vermilion City is red, and so forth). The second generation of games' cities were similarly colored, though they were named after plants rather than colors there (though there was some overlap, like Violet City and Mahogany Town).
    • And Goldenrod City, Ecruteak City, Blackthorn City...
    • The abandoning of the colour-themed names was lampshaded in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: the First Town, Littleroot Town, was described as "A town that can't be shaded any hue."
  • World of Warcraft has the two expansion races from the Burning Crusade in nearly single-color towns. The Blood Elves are in Silvermoon, which despite the name, is mainly red and gold; the crashed spaceship the Draenei call home is mainly shades of purple.
  • Backyard Football has Cyan Lane, which is, of course, cyan.

Web Comics

  • Azure City in Order of the Stick, being described at the top of the page, uses a strictly blue palette scheme- clothes, architecture, even hair color is always disproportionately blue. Particularly odd for a series with otherwise strictly conventional hair colors for humans (I guess You Gotta Have Blue Hair...).
    • Tsukiko can be particularly notable in this regard: Because her clothes and hair are all black as part of her characterization, her eyes are two shades of blue instead, despite coming from a Far East setting.
    • This appears to be religiously motivated... Or something. When a Paladin of the Sapphire Guard Falls, she is struck by lightning which not only removes her powers but leaches her all-blue outfit to beige!
  • Homestuck: John Egbert's home town, Maple Valley in Washington, consists entirely of white houses with grey roofs, broken only by the enormous red Betty Crocker factory (and even that was destroyed thirteen years ago). Given that the actual Maple Valley in Washington is decidedly not constituted of all-white houses (people have actually found and photographed the house that's ostensibly John's), it's probably purely stylistic, but still.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the few long-running series which maintains this gimmick. Water Tribe members only use white and blue. Earth Kingdom members only use green, yellow, and brown. Fire Nation members use... well, guess (also brown and black). Flashbacks show the Air Nomads all wear pretty much exactly the orange and yellow outfit Aang does (they're monks' habit, they're all SUPPOSED to look exactly the same).
    • Oddly enough, in Kyoshi Island (part of the Earth Kingdom) everybody has a blue color palette except the only important characters from there, Kyoshi Warriors themselves, who wear dark green. Song's village was also pretty colorful.
      • There's lots of instances like that, because, unlike the other nations, the Earth Kingdom is huge, so cultures and fashion would vary across it.
    • The distinct colour differences are really shown when, after a period of dressed in the style of whichever area they're travelling through, the Gaang adopt their native styles for big events like the Day of Black Sun and Sozin's Comet.
  • In order to make important characters stand out, background crowds in Batman Beyond are colored in monochrome - usually purple or blue.
    • Actually, a huge number of cartoons do this.
  • The Tamaranians in Teen Titans are a race of Dark-Skinned Redheads who all, with the odd exception of Blackfire, dress in semi-revealing purple and silver clothing. Most of the planet's landscape seems to come in shades of purple and orange as well.
  • The Transformers seem to be fond of this: Autobots paint all their stuff orange, and Decepticons color their stuff purple.
  • Sombertown in Santa Claus is Comin' to Town is, true to its name, done entirely in greys and black (with the occasional dark blue and purple), making Kris' red coat stand out all the more.

Real Life

  • Sometimes industrial towns will become whatever colour their industry is, due to dust, soot, etc. For example, just about everything in Whyalla is tinted red due to the red dust generated by the steel works.
    • Every house roof is grey in the town of Torda, due to its cement industry.
  • In some country areas in Australia, by local law, houses may only be painted certain colours, mainly brown and green, so that they blend in better with the trees and don't ruin the view too much.
    • Similarly, some parts of Australia are World Heritage listed (the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, for example), which can extend right down to the appearance and colour palette of the houses. Houses in heritage-listed streets must be painted using a particular selection of Federation-era colours, and must have an appropriate fence, similarly painted.
  • There's at least one town in Morocco where all the houses are white.
  • There's an upscale housing tract in the middle of Contra Costa Co., California, where all the houses are white, which makes it look like an upscale army base.
  • Many deed-restricted communities require specific colors of 'body' paint (usually white) and trim paint.
  • A full stadium may sometimes look like this, as fans tend will dress themselves up to match team colors.
    • Penn State's whiteout games are famous for this.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico requires that all new construction conform to the Spanish Pueblo Revival style, which, among other things, requires a lot of brown.
  • Some cities in France only allow certain outdoor decorations and paint colors to remain appealing to tourists.
  • Most buildings in Jerusalem, especially the older parts, are made of a specific type of stone called "Jerusalem stone".
    • As a matter of fact, there is a municipal law from the days of the British mandate dictating that all new buildings in Jerusalem must be faced with Jerusalem stone (really a type of limestone), to keep the city's "old" look intact.
  • Williamburg, VA law states that all buildings must look like they are still from the colonial era, and thus a large majority, if not all, buildings are made from a brownish-colored brick. The law even applies to the College of William & Mary.
  • Bath, in England. Pretty much every building in the city centre (I haven't checked them all) is made from a distinctive golden-beige stone called Bath Stone, or at least made with a similar coloured stone to maintain the effect - the best example being the new shopping centre, which was only allowed to be built in that colour. The effect from the top of the hill looking down is striking to say the least.
  • Noticeable in many modern British housing estates, whose developer will buy one variety of brick and tile in bulk and build several dozen houses with it. Often combined with a Real Life version of Cut and Paste Environments seeing as many big-name property developers create half a dozen standard house designs and repeat them constantly.
  • Buildings in Boca Raton, FL are generally expected to be pink.
  • Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, is known as the Pink City. Most of the buildings are pink. The government even provides pink paint for new developments. The view from up high is pretty awesome.