What is the meaning of the color blue?

The blue color is a cold color like green and violet, and is part of the so-called primary psychological colors. It gets its name from lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone from which a pigment of that hue was extracted.

The meaning of blue varies according to the scope and, also, according to its shades. Generally speaking, blue represents stability. Navy blue is associated with depth, the order of the sacred, immortality and power. Instead, the azure blue is related to tranquility, protection, health, understanding and generosity. Many more are derived from these meanings depending on the point of view or context.

Left: lapis lazuli stones. Right: Egyptian bracelet inlaid with lapis lazuli.

Trust and stability

From the point of view of color psychology , blue conveys confidence and stability as dominant meanings. These meanings derive from the perception of the color of the celestial vault and the sea, which occupy most of the visible surface. Therefore, today the color blue is used in many areas of collective interest.

For example ,

  • The uniforms of the security or police forces;
  • The choice of clothing for politicians and executives;
  • The corporate image of insurers (Liberty Seguros), banks (BBVA), the automotive industry (Ford), pharmaceuticals (Pfaizer) and the media (Disney, Warner, HBO), among others.

Peace and fidelity

Due to its association with the sky, blue, especially light blue, is also perceived as a symbol of serenity, calm, peace, order, spaciousness, trust, honesty and fidelity (therefore, friendship and sympathy).

Rationalism, science and innovation

Blue also represents intelligence, wisdom and understanding, fruits of serenity and stability. That is why, in its contemporary interpretation, it is associated with rationalism and, more specifically, with science, technology and innovation.

For example , blue is the image of technology companies like IBM, Samsung, HP, Facebook or Twitter.

Sadness and melancholy

Eventually, as opposed to the vitality of warm colors, certain shades of blue can represent sadness, depression, nostalgia, or superstition.

Sadness, character from the Disney-Pixar animated movie Intensely ( Inside Out ).

For example , we can point out its relationship with the name of the musical genre blues , a linguistic loan from the expression blue (devil) s which means ‘blue demons’ in English. This expression is nothing more than a metaphor for melancholy.

Male gender

Since the mid-20th century, the result of modern marketing techniques, the representation of the male gender has been attributed to the color blue. That trend became widespread in the 1970s. However, until the first half of the 20th century, babies used to wear white, regardless of their biological sex. Even, in some societies like the German one, rather blue was considered a feminine color while expressing serenity and delicacy.

Socio-economic distinction

Leonardo da Vinci: The Lady with the Ermine .

Formerly, because the blue pigment came from lapis lazuli and was very expensive to obtain, its use revealed the purchasing power of the client who commissioned the work. Therefore, color was associated with social distinction and nobility. Hence the importance of blue in heraldry.

Furthermore, in ancient times it was said that the nobility had “blue blood”. This is because the nobles, who delegated the work of the land to the subjects, were always protected from sunlight. Because of this, their skins were paler and blue veins were more visible.

Divinity and spirituality

Rose window of the cathedral of Chartrés, France, from where the name of the shade “blue Chartrés” derives.

In Western sacred art, blue alluded to the spiritual virtues of fidelity, trust, peace and heavenly wisdom. Over time, it was also used to clothe certain holy characters with the same dignity as the nobles.

Instead, Byzantine art used blue as a symbol of the human since the end of iconoclastic struggles. It contrasted with red, the color of blood and a symbol of life and, therefore, of the divine.

Blue color types

For the artistic pictorial tradition, blue is a primary color along with red and yellow (RYG). In the light-based (RGB) color additive system, the primary colors are blue, green, and red. In the pigment-based subtractive color synthesis (CMYK) model, blue is a secondary color.

There are many shades of blue, as well as each color. Among the most important we can point out the following:

blue Cerulean blue Majorelle Blue
Electric blue Indigo Glaucous blue
Azure Orcela Navy blue
Indigo Turkish Light blue
Cobalt Sapphire Imperial blue
Prussian blue Munsell Blue Blue tea

Next, let’s see an image that represents the main shades of blue and their different gradations according to use.

You may also like:

  • Color.
  • Primary colors.
  • Color wheel.

How to make the color blue

To achieve the blue color, regardless of the color variation, a cyan (cyan) color base will always be necessary, one of the primary colors according to the CMYK model. When mixing cyan with magenta, basic blue is obtained.

  • Navy blue:mix a base of blue with orange or purple, depending on the desired effect. It should always be done little by little to measure the result.
  • Light blue:mix blue with magenta in a ratio of 10 to less than 1 respectively. Then add white little by little.
  • Turquoise Blue:Mix cyan with yellow gradually. The mix can be lightened or darkened with black and white respectively.


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