I get a lot of questions about my color scheme, especially related to the gray U face. I typically sticker white puzzles with full-brights for the “sides” (F, R, B, L), gray for U, and black for D.
I first got the idea from a video by Teal Cubes showing his custom color scheme — blue opposite green, gray opposite white, and pink opposite yellow. The video makes a compelling demonstration that there are schemes better than the 1980s Rubik’s one that most of us use without much further thought. That said, I don’t like pink stickers, and it would have been far too jarring to make three color changes at once. So, I adopted simpler changes.
When I previously wrote about my color scheme, I didn’t really get into the philosophy behind it and deferred exploring particular shades. Time to do that now:
COLOR SCHEME PHILOSOPHY
I prefer fluorescent/bright shades for blue, red, green, and orange — finding standard shades drab and harder to distinguish. On white cubes, I prefer black stickers, mirroring the same stark contrast that white stickers have on black cubes. That contrast — absent with white stickers on white plastic — really helps with cross edge and F2L corner identification. Nothing revolutionary so far.
The U face typically would be yellow — and, consistent with my other stickers, fluorescent. The problem with yellow is that it has hue, which is to say that it has colorfulness or saturation. In fact, it has just about the same colorfulness — “the degree of difference between a color and gray” — as blue, red, green, and orange. In other words, although yellow and those four colors each have different hues, they each have about the same amount of hue or colorfulness. Gray, by contrast — indeed, by definition — has no hue or colorfulness.
Here’s where my philosophy creeps in: Gray is not just a different color than the other four, it is (in a sense) not a color at all. That makes it far easier to distinguish from the other colors. Gray “disappears” among the other colors, and that’s exactly the point. At F2L, you want to ignore all U layer cubies — the very reason I have an F2L practice cube with no stickers on the U layer at all. And at OLL, you want to quickly distinguish not between which colors are which, but which are U colors and which are not. With a “colorless” U face, the color/no-color binary makes the distinction entirely obvious. Gray allows the U face to disappear.
And then there’s even simpler reasons for a gray U face: Gray on white looks modern, crisp, and sharp. And I like that it’s unique. Mine.
MY COLOR SHADES | THE CUBICLE
Over time, I came to use only two sticker vendors: The Cubicle and The Cube Specialists. Although the Germany-based Cube Specialists are a bit pricier and slower, I had preferred them for a while because they sold pre-made “bright +” sticker sets that included white, black, and gray. Those allowed me to sticker all of my puzzles without ordering any loose colors. But over the past year, The Cubicle has vastly expanded its sticker offerings — colors, shapes, and functionality — in ways making it far superior.
The Cubicle’s sticker picker is a virtual playground for the OCD sticker-consumed cuber, boasting just about every feature you could hope for:
- stickers “fitted” to all major puzzles, with a TOC/guide for picking the right shape
- dozens of color shades
- pre-made sets (with a white-to-black substitution option)
- a sticker picker for purchasing loose colors
- an awesome custom color scheme tool for storing personal color sets
As shown in the video above, these tools allowed me to order loads of shades (particularly of blue) and finally construct my perfect color scheme:
- U: gray
- D: black (white puzzles) / white (black puzzles)
- F: ocean blue (the best blue at any vendor, period — and I’ve tried them all!)
- R: fluorescent red
- B: fluorescent green
- L: fluorescent orange
Using The Cubicle’s custom color scheme tool, I “programmed” and stored these schemes: 6-sided white puzzles; 6-sided black puzzles; and 12-sided puzzles (megaminx). That means one-click ordering of my customized sets — for whatever puzzle I want. I just used this feature to order my sets for an Aosu 4×4, and it worked like a charm! Awesome.
I would highly encourage you to check out The Cubicle. Besides being the consummate sticker vendor, they have reasonable prices on all modern puzzles, a great website, and fantastic customer service. The best domestic puzzle vendor by far. And if you do buy anything, grab an extra 5% off by using the Adventures In Cubing discount code “AIC” at checkout….