Personality Colors: Colorizing the Enneagram personality types

Colorizing the Enneagram combines the primary triads and secondary triads to create a simple two-factor system that makes the types easier to understand.

The Enneagram Symbol

The Enneagram is a symbol used to represent nine personality types. The structure of the symbol is often used to draw similarites and differences between the types by grouping the types into what are called triads.

To colorize the Enneagram, simply start with the three centers. The centers group types 891, 234, and 567 into three groups of three or three triads.

While the centers can be described in a number of ways, here I'm describing the emotional undercurrent of each as anger, despair, and fear.

The Primary Triads

The primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow. An association between the centers and the primary colors can be drawn from colloquialisms.


Anger is implied when you "see Red." A red cape is used by a bullfighter to agitate the bull to get him to charge at it.


Despair is implied when you're "feeling Blue." A style of music called "the blues" often describes states of melancholy, sadness, and despair.


Fear is implied when you're "called Yellow." Calling someone "yellow" or "yellow-bellied" is perhaps best known from American Western movies.

The three centers can now be referred to by the primary colors and referred to as the primary triads.

Primary Triads

  • Red (Anger) Triad: types 8, 9, and 1
  • Blue (Despair) Triad: types 2, 3, and 4
  • Yellow (Fear) Triad: types 5, 6, and 7

The Secondary Triads

Three secondary colors are produced when the primary colors are combined two at a time.

  • Purple = Red + Blue
  • Green = Blue + Yellow
  • Orange = Yellow + Red

The secondary colors are created on the Enneagram where two primary colors or centers meet.

Secondary Colors

  • Red and Blue meet at Types 1 and 2 to create Purple
  • Blue and Yellow meet at Types 4 and 5 to create Green
  • Yellow and Red meet at Types 7 and 8 to create Orange

The two types that combine to create each secondary color can be found in the triads often referred to as the Stances or Hornevian Triads (described by Karen Horney's three types: Compliant, Detached, and Aggressive). These become the secondary triads.

Secondary Triads

  • Purple (Compliant) Triad: types 1, 2, and 6
  • Green (Detached) Triad: types 4, 5, and 9
  • Orange (Aggressive) Triad: types 7, 8, and 3

Secondary-Primary Triads for Each Type

Looking at the primary and secondary triads, each Enneagram type has a unique combination of primary and secondary colors.

Enneagram Colors

  1. Purple-Red
  2. Purple-Blue
  3. Orange-Blue
  4. Green-Blue
  5. Green-Yellow
  6. Purple-Yellow
  7. Orange-Yellow
  8. Orange-Red
  9. Green-Red

So why colorize the Enneagram types?

Many different interpretations exist with the Enneagram personality types. Each author, teacher, school adds their own unique set of labels to the types. Some also add their own concepts as well.

Looking at the types in terms of colors removes any bias by describing the types as generic colors instead of a myriad of different labels, ties the major concepts together through something everyone is familiar with (i.e., color), and simplifies understanding and using the Enneagram symbol.

The types can also be described more simply as the combination of two triads (i.e., the primary and secondary). This not only gives each type a distinctive grounding but also provides an easy way to distinguish the types from one another.

All that's to be done now is to ascribe a meaning to the color pairs for each type by looking at the two triads representing them.

You can take a test to determine your likely type and have its colors explained by clicking here.

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