As reported on the mailing list by Michael Aye, setting
c.ZMQInteractiveShell.colors = 'NoColor'
simply gets ignored, whereas ipython console does respect the value for c.TerminalInteractiveShell.colors.
So the current workaround for setting this value is to either set the colors for both ipython and ipython console in ipython_config.py, or to create a new ipython_console_config.py which looks like this:
c = get_config()
c.TerminalInteractiveShell.colors = 'NoColor'
This is really the same thing as #1271 and #289. The root of the problem is that the backend and the frontend both have a notion of colors, and this should not be the case. I'm closing this, so we dont' have too many issues tracking different minor aspects of the same thing.