This is the official manual for the latest Org-mode release.

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5.2.6 Faces for TODO keywords

Org mode highlights TODO keywords with special faces: org-todo for keywords indicating that an item still has to be acted upon, and org-done for keywords indicating that an item is finished. If you are using more than 2 different states, you might want to use special faces for some of them. This can be done using the option org-todo-keyword-faces. For example:

     (setq org-todo-keyword-faces
           '(("TODO" . org-warning) ("STARTED" . "yellow")
             ("CANCELED" . (:foreground "blue" :weight bold))))

While using a list with face properties as shown for CANCELED should work, this does not always seem to be the case. If necessary, define a special face and use that. A string is interpreted as a color. The option org-faces-easy-properties determines if that color is interpreted as a foreground or a background color.