The meaning of the color Royal Blue and color combinations to inspire your next design.
Royal blue is a deep, vivid blue. It is lighter than navy blue. The royal blue hex code is #4169e1. How do you make the color royal blue? Well you can't: Blue is a primary color, which means you can't mix two paint colors to create blue.
Royal blue versus navy blue
There's a common misconception that royal blue and navy blue are interchangeable terms for the same color. In fact, royal blue is a far more saturated version of blue, while navy blue is a darker shade. The two colors can look great when paired together as an analogous color combination.
The name “royal blue” was first used in 1810-1820. The “royal” in royal blue comes from England, where the hue was said to have been created for a competition to make a dress for Queen Charlotte (1744—1818).
The shade of blue associated with the name has actually changed over time. Before the 1950s, royal blue was considered to be much darker. In the late 1980s, the World Wide Web Consortium—which is the international group for web standards—matched this brighter blue, along with its RGB code, to the name “royal blue”.
“Queen blue” and “imperial blue” are lesser-known versions of royal blue. Queen blue is a medium tone version of royal blue, with a more subdued effect, while imperial blue describes a darker shade, close to navy.
In keeping with its association with British history, the color royal blue features on the United Kingdom’s flag, which is known as the Union Jack.
The color royal blue has regal associations, thanks to its historical connection to the British throne. This makes it a popular choice for suits, bridesmaid dresses and formal outfits.
According to color psychology, blue is associated with trustworthiness and reliability. On the other hand, blue can be associated with depression: There’s the phrase “feeling blue”, or singing “the blues”. But royal blue’s bright, vivid hue means it’s less likely to make this impression.
Other common associations for blue include peacefulness—blue is the color of the sky and the ocean, both of which are said to promote feelings of tranquility; as a result, the color blue is said to have the same effect.
Royal blue is a versatile color. It is commonly used for business logos, thanks to blue’s associations with trust and reliability.
This vivid color could be used as an accent color in a more subdued color scheme. Or, if you’re looking for something more dramatic, pair it with other bright colors—for example, lime green and orange.
In clothing, royal blue can be used for a tasteful pop of color and tends to suit all skin tones. In interior design, royal blue’s intensity can be balanced with neutral tones of ivory or champagne.
Royal blue is an eye-catching, versatile color. Because of its bright hue, it can create too much intensity when paired with certain shades of red. Royal blue pairs nicely with orange, which is its complementary color on the color wheel. The colors that pair well with royal blue include:
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