Red has always been my favorite color, but I truly fell in love with the color BLUE when I walked out of the doors of our hotel suite toward the cliffs in Vieques, Puerto Rico. I was literally stopped in my tracks at the vibrant and dynamic shades of blue. I felt as if I had never truly seen blue until that moment.
Since that week in Vieques I have subconsciously been drawn to aqua, turquoise, teal, and navy. It’s evident in my wardrobe, designs, offices supplies, and even my drinkware! The color soothes, relaxes, and, ultimately, inspires me.
Blue can be used as a pop of color or as a neutral color, since it pairs perfectly with almost all other hues. In my experience as a photographer, it is one of the most commonly used for family portraits ensembles. It is flattering to all skin tones and especially accentuates blue eyes.
Blue, just like our friend yellow and that vixen red, is primary color. It is combined with yellow to make green and red to make purple. The arrays of hues that make the color blue are numerous, from the dark navy-almost black to the the teal blue greens.
Blue in the world is perceived through an optical illusion, referred to as Rayleigh Scattering, where the shorter blue light wavelengths bounce off molecules in the atmosphere. In addition, the stronger and longer red light is also absorbed by the sea leaving the scattered blue light to be reflected on the surface – this, combined with the life below surface, gives us the various hues of blue, green, and brown. (1,2) This also explains how the natural light in the fall and winter, when the earth is further from the sun, can appear more blue than yellow, as it does in spring and summer months.
Human use of the color blue has been around since ancient times. Minerals were used for jewelry as well as for pigments, along with various plant life, and used in dyes and paints. The first synthetic blue pigments were developed in the early 1800’s and became more common place in clothing and art.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, many military and police uniforms were switched to blue. Today, blue suits are the most common in the business world, surpassing dark grey and black. (1)
In religion, just as green is the color of Islam, blue is associated with Judaism, including being used as the feature color on the flag for the State of Israel. Israel is not alone in this, however, well over half of the world’s country flags contain the color blue, including our beloved USA.
For all the positive characteristics, such as having a calming effect, blue is also seen as the color of sadness. People even refer to being a bit down as “feeling blue.” Even the character in Pixar’s Inside Out were very intentionally developed using the colors associated with their feelings (Sadness was blue). From film to paint, many artists have used the color blue to express their feelings, including Picasso in his famous blue period.
Sadness by Disney Pixar
Fig. 5: Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Portrait of Sebastià Junyer i Vidal, 1903. Oil on canvas, 49-3/4 x 37 inches. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © Museum Associates / LACMA / Art Resource, New York. © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.
That said, according to J.L. Morton’s Color Matters site, the color blue is the #1 favorite color in the world. That really says something about the depth and variety of hues of the color blue and how it speaks to people.
In the end, all color is subjective, each person perceives the color differently and associates it with good or bad memories made. For me, blue reminds me of my boys, the uniforms of our brave men and women, patriotism, the calm of the sea, my beloved Greek friends, and one of the best vacations I have ever experienced.
How does blue make you feel? What do you associate the color with?
Join us in on our next colour challenge #itsablueworld!
1 – Wikipedia contributors. “Blue.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 May. 2017. Web. 15 May. 2017.
2 – Wikipedia contributors. “Rayleigh scattering.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Mar. 2017. Web. 15 May. 2017.