The Colour Blue

Since time immemorial, we witness the endless blue sea, and the vast blue sky. It drives us away to discover what lies beyond the horizon, behind the blue mountains. Blue is the colour that makes us reach for the faraway, that awakens wanderlust and an almost painful longing for new things to discover.

It´s also connected with freedom and calms us down (cools us down). It is said that blue brings forward creativity and concentration. Sympathy, satisfaction and harmony are connected with the colour blue as well as – in politics – democracy, the republic and a liberal point of view.

Use of the colour blue

Painters and artists like to use this colour for their work, because it connects an image to the sky. Blue also makes an excellent colour for presentations, especially if one has to present topics connected with science, technics or sports – because science and business require a cool head and sport needs a feeling of freshness.

Hong Kong Kowloon
Hong Kong Kowloon | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Ultramarine Blue

The blue pigment most favoured by the old masters used to be ultramarine-blue, yet it was quite expensive for there were only two places in the known world where lapis lazuli, the raw material for ultramarine-blue could be mined.

The view from the peak of Langbiang
The view from the peak of Langbiang | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Blue is a cold colour

This perception is based on the blueish shades cast by ice or snow formations. The visible spectrum of blue is quite small, therefore it takes not too much of another colour mixed with blue to make it appear as purple, teal or green. There are (or have been) cultures that don´t even differ between green and blue.

Ultramarine and indigo are shades of blue that appear a little warmer, for they have a slightly red tint.

Blue Hour in Saigon I
Blue Hour in Saigon I | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Blue designs often appear efficient, scientific and objective. Cold colours are refreshing, relaxing and passive.

Overview: Blue

  • Blue symbolises the sky, the sea and their vastness
  • The colour stands for freedom
  • The dyes from indigo, a plant from South America, replaced woad, which was quite common in old Europe
  • In the year 2000, it has been elected as colour of the year
  • Faithfulness is connected with the hue – there is also an influence on various wedding ceremonies (strange thing that is – first we connect it to wanderlust and creativity, next to the final bond…)
  • The ancient Celts connected it with fertility
  • It is the coldest colour of the spectrum
  • The Maya sacrificed blue dyes to the god of rain (mayanblue)
  • The “Blue Goose” is an expression dating back to medieval times and means something impossible
  • It is a primary colour in the additive (RGB) colour mode
  • It also symbolises the horizon and the longing for the faraway
  • Western images of the Lady Mary often show her in an ultramarineblue coat, while Russian painters preferred red
  • Ultramarine was an expensive, but demanded pigment
  • In medieval times, they used woad, a plant-based dye, to dye cloth
  • Feeling blue means to feel very sad