Wes Anderson’s best color palettes


A scene from “The Great Budapest Hotel.” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

You can tell you’re watching a Wes Anderson movie from just a single frame. Symmetrical compositions? Check. Saturated, ’70s color palette? Yep. Of all the mainstream directors working today, few have such defined and recognizable aesthetics as Anderson. Which explains why some people find his work charming — and others think it unwatchable.

Whatever you personally think of Anderson, however, there’s definitely lots of neat visual stuff to parse there. Case in point: This week the Internet keeps turning up striking aesthetic studies of his work.

First there was that video by the cryptically named Kogonada, which laid out the obsessive use of centering in Anderson’s cinematography. Today brings the beautiful (if not entirely original!) single-serving Tumblr “Wes Anderson Palettes” … which consist of, you guessed it, color schemes Anderson has used in his films.


(A screenshot from the blog Wes Anderson Palettes)

But this is more than mere design trivia: rumor has it that Anderson’s “washed-out Polaroid palette” is trickling into mainstream interior and wedding decor, courtesy Pinterest (natch) and books like Matt Zoller Seitz’s “The Wes Anderson Collection.” (To quote a distinctly un-Andersonian movie, “What you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean … that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs.”)

Anderson’s latest offering, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is done up in the same colors: soft pinks, dim ivories, Instagram-faded browns. You might like that palette or you might hate it … but you probably can’t avoid it.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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