What Color is Math?

The correlation between subjects and colors.


Mitchell Thompson

Many people match subjects to folders with specific colors.

Mitchell Thompson, Reporter

The human brain is built to recognize patterns. Whether people try to remember people’s faces or how to get to school, we try to connect ideas in our heads to more easily remember important information. Knowing this, it seems unsurprising that people try to associate colors with certain topics. Probably, the most common of these are subjects in school. This is most likely because people tend to use different color folders or notebooks for a certain subject. Now that we have a vague understanding of why, the next question is “What subjects correspond to which colors?” To try and figure this out, I interviewed 16 random students, 4 from each grade and an even male/female split. I asked them what colors they think correlate with 5 different subjects. Here are the results.


Name Grade Math English Science Social Studies Religion
Avery Rudicel Senior Black Red White Gray Purple
Trevor Obershaw Senior Blue Red Green Gray Purple
Alexis Cullinane Senior Red White Green Purple Yellow
Aaron Scaletty Senior Red Black Green Orange White
Victoria Eichholz Junior Blue Orange Green Red Yellow
Thomas Henderson Junior Green Yellow Blue Red Purple
Will Shepherd Junior Red Yellow Green Blue Black
Bella Sanches Junior Blue Purple Green Red Yellow
Andrew Colburn Sophomore Blue Red Green Yellow Purple
Evie Hulsey Sophomore Blue Yellow Green Blue Purple
Kobe Bui Sophomore Red Green Green Yellow Purple
Alyssa Bryer Sophomore Blue Red Green Yellow Red
Manny Lopez Freshman Red Blue Green Green Yellow
Caroline Dreiling Freshman Red Yellow Green Blue Purple
Alex Mcnamara Freshman Red Blue Green Yellow Purple
Madaline Heidesch Freshman Red Blue Green Blue Yellow


The easiest one to explain is science, which is overwhelmingly considered green. This is most likely because science is associated with green colors. Biology deals with plants and nature, and a lot of typical science items are normally considered green, such as acid, many elements, and anything radioactive.


While religion seems odd on the surface, its explanation is actually really simple. While yellow could be connected to holiness and heaven, and purple is thought to be the color of royalty, the real reason has nothing to do with the color. There may be some connection to colors, but most of the people said they just used their extra folder for religion.


Social Studies was highly varied. This isn’t really surprising because social studies covers many smaller topics such as history, government, geography, social climates, and many more. While there are many different answers, the common ground of most people is that social studies is associated with the primary colors: blue, yellow, and red. While no one color seems to connect to social studies, people tend to think of it as a primary class, hence the use of primary colors. It is one of the subjects students have every year, so they consistently use the same important color.


English is the only subject I have not been able to figure out. It seems that there is no consensus about what color English is. A lot of people chose warm colors, possibly thinking about English as an easier class, but there are plenty of people who chose cool colors, maybe thinking of English as a calm class. On the flip side, warm colors could represent stress and anger, and cool colors could represent sadness and a subtle dislike of english. The only conclusion I could come to is that the color of English is entirely based on personal experience. I wish there was a concrete answer, but there seems to be no pattern.


Now for the most contested subject: Math. While there were a few outliers. Everyone seems to think of math as one of two colors. Blue seems to represent how math is an unfeeling, calculated subject based on facts, but red points towards the fact that math is chaotic, with crazy ideas such as variables and imaginary numbers and important equations that need memorizing. There is no correct answer, for all of this data is based on personal opinions, but there may be an explanation. People who understand math think of it as blue, and people who struggle think of it as red. While the truth to this statement is uncertain, it seems to make a lot of sense. The more confident you get, the more you think of math as blue.


While the idea of colors matching subjects is completely abstract and opinionated, it was really interesting to see how much people cared about it. Whenever interviewing one person in a friend group, everyone else would always vehemently disagree with something. Opposite to that, the bonds people made over agreeing with a color seemed unbreakable. There will never be a true consensus about what color matches math, but that’s okay. It’s fun to listen to the reasoning behind people’s opinions. It’s important to remember to keep an open mind. But if you ever want to start a good conversation, ask somebody what color math is.