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Blue Color Meanings

The Sky Above, The Sea Below

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Blue Colors

From the blue skies to the deep blue sea and shades of blue inbetween. | Image by Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

| Cool, Calming Colors | Warm, Exciting Colors | Mixed Cool/Warm Colors | Unifying Neutral Colors
Corporate blue shades

Blue-gray and medium blue shades of corporate blue.

Image by Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Indigo shades

Vertical stripes left to right: indigo dye, electric indigo, Web indigo, Crayola Denim, bright indigo.

Image by Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
A universal favorite of men and women and businesses, blue is friendly, authoritative, peaceful, and trustworthy.

Explore the meaning of this popular color, how to use shades of blue, subtle changes in symbolism from dark to medium to light blues, and colors that go with blue.

Shades of Blue: These words are synonymous with or represent various shades of the color blue: azure, baby blue, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, cornflower blue, corporate blue, cyan, indigo, midnight blue, navy, Prussian blue, robin's egg blue, royal, sapphire, sky blue, slate, steel blue.

Connection With Nature:

Blue is calming. It can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. Almost everyone likes some shade of the color blue.

In 1999 Pantone named the sky blue color of Cerulean as the color of the new millennium. Pantone selected the color Blue Iris as the 2008 Color of the Year telling us: "Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement."

A natural color, from the blue of the sky, it is a universal color. Its cool, calming effect makes time pass more quickly and it can help you sleep. It's a good color for bedrooms. However, too much blue could dampen spirits.

Culture and Symbolism:

In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away.

Blue conveys importance and confidence without being somber or sinister, hence the power suit of the corporate world and the uniforms of many police officers. Long considered a corporate color, blue, especially medium and darker shades, is associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism.

Just as seeing red alludes to the strong emotions invoked by the color red, feeling blue or getting the blues represents the extremes of the calm feelings associated with this color, i.e. sadness or depression, lack of strong (violent) emotion. Dark blue is sometimes seen as staid or stodgy — old-fashioned.

In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal tradition represents love.

People describe How the color blue makes them feel at About.com Psychology.

Awareness ribbons that use shades of blue include: 

  • Various diseases and conditions including Osteoporosis, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Huntington's Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Colon Cancer, Arthritis, Bowel Cancer, Down Syndrome, PKU, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Reyes Syndrome, Mental Health (blue)
  • Arthritis, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Epstein-Barr Virus, Reyes Syndrome, Short Bowel Syndrome, Myositis, Leukodystrophy (navy blue)
  • Eating disorders, Pulmonary Hypertension, Stomach Cancer, GERD and IBS (periwinkle blue)
  • Pregnancy and infant loss, SIDS, Male breast cancer (pink & blue)
  • Prostate Cancer, Men's Health, Thyroid Disease, Lymphedema, Addison's Disease, Trisomy 18, Velo-Cardio Facial Syndrome, Klinefelter's Syndrome, Hyperaldosteronism, Scleroderma, Behcets Disease, Graves Disease, Shprintzen Syndrome, Edward's Syndrome (light blue)
  • Education (navy blue)
  • Free Speech (navy blue)
  • Crime Victims Rights, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse Prevention (navy blue)
  • Water Safety (navy blue)
  • Hurricane Support (navy blue)
  • Police Officers Lost in the Line of Duty (navy blue)
  • Loss of a son (black & light blue)

Other Awareness Ribbon Colors

Using Different Shades of Blue:

 

  • A deep royal shade, indigo, or azure conveys richness and perhaps even a touch of superiority.
  • Navy is almost black and is a bit warmer than lighter blues. Combine a light and dark blue to convey trust and truthfulness — banker's colors.
  • Although it is a year-round color, pastel blues, especially alongside pinks and pale yellows suggest Springtime while deep blue is a colder weather color.
  • Create a conservative but sophisticated look with subtle contrast by combining light and dark shades of blue.

Explore more specific shades of blue with color swatches and RGB values:

 

With Other Colors:

 

  • Mix the color of blue with green for a natural, watery palette.
  • Add gray for understated elegance.
  • royal
  • sapphire
  • sky blue
  • slate
  • steel blue

 

Blue Language:

The use of blue in familiar phrases can help a designer see how their color of choice might be perceived by others, both the positive and negative aspects.

Good blue

  • True blue - someone loyal and faithful
  • Out of the blue - unexpected (could be positive or negative)
  • Blue ribbon - first rate, top prize
  • Blueblood - person of noble birth, royalty
  • Bluestocking - well-read or scholarly woman
  • Bluebook - register of socially prominent people
  • The Blues (capitalized) - popular style of music sometimes characterized by melancholy melodies and words
  • Baby blues - Blue eyes (also see Bad blue words)
Bad blue
  • Feeling blue - feeling sad or depressed
  • Blue devils - feelings of depression
  • The blues (not capitalized) - depression, state of sadness
  • Blue Monday - feeling sad
  • Baby blues - post-partum depression
  • Singing the blues - bemoaning one's circumstances
  • Blue laws - laws originally intended to enforce certain moral standards
  • Blue language - profanity
  • Bluenose - puritanical individual
  • Into the blue - entering the unknown or escape to parts unknown
  • Out of the blue - unexpected (could be positive or negative)

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