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What colors represent the elements?

What colors represent the elements?

The colors used to represent the chemical elements provide a fun and engaging way to visualize the periodic table. While not definitive, the colors give each element its own unique identity and help remember its properties. In this article, we’ll explore what colors are commonly used for the elements, where these color associations come from, and how they aid learning and recognition. With colorful chemistry as our guide, let’s dive into the palettes of the periodic table!

Noble Gases

The noble gases occupy the far right column of the periodic table. Their low reactivity gives them a detached, aloof quality, represented fittingly by pale, icy colors:

Helium #D9FFFF
Neon #B3FFFB
Argon #80D1E3
Krypton #8FD2FF
Xenon #54B5D5
Radon #428296

These cool hues represent the noble gases’ reluctance to bond with other elements. They seem detached from the warmth and activity of the rest of the table.

Alkali Metals

The alkali metals reside in the first column of the periodic table. Their high reactivity is captured by bold, warm colors like red, orange, and gold:

Lithium #CC80FF
Sodium #FF8000
Potassium #8F40D4
Rubidium #702EB0
Caesium #57178F
Francium #D75A4A

The vibrant hues evoke the reactivity and heat given off when the alkali metals react vigorously with other elements.

Alkaline Earth Metals

The alkaline earth metals make up the second column of the periodic table. Their two valence electrons give them more moderate reactivity than the alkali metals. Their colors are softer – tan, pale orange and pink:

Beryllium #FFC65D
Magnesium #FFD98F
Calcium #A2AD00
Strontium #FFDAE9
Barium #FFC900
Radium #FFb76B

The pastel shades are fitting for these softer metals.

Transition Metals

The transition metals make up the middle block of the periodic table. They are known for their varied oxidation states and complex chemistry. Their colors are likewise variable – spanning the rainbow:

Scandium #66FF66
Titanium #BFD3FF
Vanadium #A6A6AB
Chromium #8A99C7
Manganese #54AB6F
Iron #CB6D51
Cobalt #6192D6
Nickel #727272
Copper #C88033
Zinc #7D80B0

The rainbow of transition metals represents their spectrum of properties and roles in biochemistry and technology.

Post-Transition Metals

The post-transition metals reside on the bottom two rows of the periodic table. These elements are silvery and lustrous, hence their gray and white colors:

Aluminum #A6A6A6
Gallium #E1E1E1
Indium #BBB4A9
Tin #668080
Thallium #A6544D
Lead #575961
Bismuth #9E4FB5

The muted grays and blues capture the luster but relative inactivity of these metals.


The metalloids form a diagonal line between the metals and nonmetals on the periodic table. Their properties are intermediate between the two groups, which is reflected in their mid-range colors:

Boron #7D1B7E
Silicon #2D222D
Germanium #666666
Arsenic #BD80E3
Antimony #AB5C00
Tellurium #909090
Polonium #AB5C00

The purple, gray, and beige tones of the metalloids are between the bold of the metals and paleness of the nonmetals.


The nonmetals occupy the upper right corner of the periodic table. Their lack of metallic properties gives them pale or clear colors:

Hydrogen #FFFFFF
Carbon #333333
Nitrogen #add8e6
Oxygen #FF0D0D
Fluorine #90E050
Chlorine #28DEEA
Bromine #AB4EEB
Iodine #545F66
Astatine #737475

The light greens, blues, and clear hues evoke the ghostly insubstantiality of the nonmetals.

Lanthanides and Actinides

The lanthanides and actinides form the bottom two rows of the periodic table. Their radioactive glow is aptly captured by fluorescent colors:

Lanthanum #FFB5B5
Cerium #FFA489
Praseodymium #D2FFA6
Neodymium #9370DB
Promethium #8F40D4
Samarium #FFC0CB
Actinium #70D4FF
Thorium #00FFFF
Protactinium #E6E6FA

The bright neon hues evoke the energy and radioactivity of these metals.


The colors ascribed to the elements draw on associations, properties, and themes to create a vibrant table. While not fully standardized, the palettes help give each element a unique character. The colors serve as an aid for learning and remembering the periodic table. With these colorful representations, the elements come alive and make their mark as individual substances with distinct chemical personalities.