A Definitive, No-Arguments Guide To The Folder & Workbook Colours Of High School Subjects

school subject folder colours

The other day I came across an incredible shitpost-slash-meme which sparked a debate so white-hot I feared the PEDESTRIAN group chat would never know peace again. The premise was simple: a photo of several coloured plastic folders — not unlike the ones that weighed down our high school backpacks — and a question that begged “which colour is Science?”

As soon as I dropped it into the chat everyone went feral. Simply rabid over which colour folder was the correct choice for science, English, Maths and all the other classes we had to take at school.

Considering we couldn’t come to any kind of agreement about which was which in the GC, I’ve decided to lay down the law and write the definitive ranking (guide?) of which colour folder belongs to which school subject.

Don’t ask me how I worked this all out, there’s no hard science behind these decisions. It’s just what they are. Some colours are inextricably linked to a certain school subject. There are no two ways about it, and certainly no arguments.

A Definitive, No-Arguments Ranking Of School Subject Folder Colours

English Is RED

English. It’s the one class that’s pretty much mandatory right through from Kinder (or Prep) to Year 12. It’s important and a constant of our school lives.

What colour signifies something of deep importance or something you should give attention to? Red.

Red is the colour for English classes. Red is authoritative and reminds us this class usually has a lot of meaty assignments. Red is for big thinking and work.

Red is classically the colour of passion and English class is nothing if not passionate — especially exploring themes and ideas of the written word. You sit there and tell me that throwing your whole-ass brain into a creative writing task isn’t a feat of passion.

Red is the colour of the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands. It’s also the colour my vision went when I realised I had a massive essay due and not nearly enough time to do it justice. A classic high school English experience.

Visual Art (Or Drama) Is PURPLE

There’s something about the arts subjects that makes them the colour purple. A soothing yet creative colour — one that you get from mixing two primary colours. Where else do you learn such things about the concept of colour than in art class?

Purple has depth. It doesn’t command your attention like warmer colours like red or orange, but it still holds an important space in the colour wheel (and our school lockers). Subjects like Art, Drama and Music have the same energy to me.

They might be elective subjects further along in our school lives but that means two things: people who are there want to be there and are genuinely interested in it. They probably find some kind of rest and solace in doing something they’re actually passionate about. The calm of blue mixed with the passion of red.

Purple is also the colour that represents the LGBTQIA+ community, do with that what you will.

Maths Is BLUE

Here’s one that might kick up a fuss: Mathematics? That’s blue, babey.

I know what you’re thinking, “but Math class isn’t calm like blue at ALL“. But please, just hear me out on this.

It’s less about the energy that Maths gives off and more about the vibe we want to create around that subject. I dunno about you but the formulaic nature of mathematics and all its equations, working out and brain training makes me want to scream. I never really quite got the more advanced math stuff (which is why I stuck to General Maths through my senior years) so every time I entered the classroom I got a sense of dread.

I don’t like being wrong or being bad at things! I didn’t like struggling with things that came quickly to others! Why couldn’t my brain just get it???

That’s why folders, workbooks, post-its and tabs for that class is all blue. The calming colour is actively working against the frustration of trying to remember the basics of trigonometry and algebra, which I’m glad to have pushed out of my brain the second I finished my final exam.

History (Or Languages) Is ORANGE or PINK

Not as attention-demanding as English class, but just as important. Orange and pink are “mild alarm” colours that can be applied to several classes (especially in the elective subject years) which is why they’re perfect for things like history, language or geography.

They’re not a constant throughout your schooling — and therefore don’t need a primary colour association — but require a slice of your time. Orange is the colour of warmth, a tinge of fun and a feeling of dedication. Pink is gentle, approachable and loving.

Much like the artistic, creative classes, these warm colour-coded subjects are typically something you’ve elected to study further in your senior years. So you’re there to learn but to also build community through learning things about how the world works as a dynamic system. These classes are informative, but there’s an explorative warmth and fun to them too.

Hence, orange and pink.

Science Is GREEN

Last but certainly not least is the most obvious pick. Science class? That’s green as far as the eye can see.

Green makes me think of slime, experiments and the toxic waste that burns off Radioactive Man’s clothes in The Simpsons. Science (and other science-based subjects) is green through and through. There is absolutely no argument to this one, and I simply won’t hear anything else about it.

Physical Education (P.E.) is also green because… grass. Duh.