The Rubik’s Cube colour schemes

There are two common colour alignments of the Rubik’s Cube, the Japanese and the Western colour schemes. They both use the same six colors: white, yellow, orange, red, green and blue and there’s only a slight difference between them. Cubes with white plastic body usually have black stickers instead of white.

Japanese color scheme

Rubiks Cube Japanese color schemeLet’s begin with the Japanese color sheme which was used on the earliest mass-produced cubes and is still used today by a small number of speedcubers. They prefer to start the Fridrich method with the blue cross to finish with the white last layer.

Western color sheme

Western Rubiks Cube color schemeThe Western color sheme (also known as BOY: blue-orange-yellow) is the most used colour arrangement used not only on Rubik’s Cubes but on the majority of cube-shaped twisty puzzles these days.
Cubers who use this colour scheme usually start solving the Rubik’s Cube with the white face and finish with the yellow.
This colour scheme is also called Minus Yellow because if you add or extract yellow from any side you get its opposite.

white + yellow = yellow
red + yellow = orange
blue + yellow = green

Regulations

The WCA regulations don’t specify what colour scheme must the competitors use on official cubing events. Rule number 3a3 specifies that polyhedral puzzles must use a colour scheme with one unique colour per face in the solved state.

The Inventor’s comment

In 2014 the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, Rubik Ernõ was asked why did he choose these six colours to mark the faces of the puzzle he answered:

“If the cube wouldn’t be coloured there would be no objective, there would be nothing to solve. Using the colours we can specify the target we have to reach. I was looking for the most simple way to mark the solved state. I chose these six colours (actually 5 real colours because we don’t really call white a colour) because they are all basic colours and there’s no need to explain them. Everybody knows what red, blue, yellow, green, orange and white are.”
(Rubik Ernõ)

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