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color code: # 0000CC
Blue: The color of a clear winter day (51 ° North), almost noon, looking west
In the so-called blue hour , the evening sky appears in a particularly deep blue.
(Photo: Duisburg Inner Harbor )
Blue pigments: cerulean blue , azure blue and ultramarine (from left to right)

Blue (from the Old High German blao for shimmering, shiny) is the color stimulus that is perceived when light falls into the eye with a spectral distribution in which wavelengths in the interval between 460 and 490 nm dominate. Light with this property can be remitted as body color .

Color theory

Two basic colors

There are two basic blue colors : violet blue (B) and cyan blue (C). The color sensation violet-blue arises from a spectrum with a shorter-wave component. The color stimulus of the cyan blue contains a more medium-wave component.

Medium blue
color code: # 0000CC
color code: # 007FFF
Purple Pale Blue
Color Code: # E1DFFF
Light blue
color code: # 32FFFF
Light blue
color code: # 90D2F5
Dark blue
color code: # 000080
color code: # B6CED6
Violet blue
color code: # 6040CF
CMYK color code cyan
: # 009EE0

Violet blue

Violet blue

Cyan blue

The color valence cyan blue arises when light is perceived, the spectral distribution of which is at its maximum between 475 and 500 nm. Humans perceive this as a color between green and blue. Another term for this shade is turquoise.


Shades of blue are mixtures such as green blue , violet blue (with red ), sky blue (with white), night blue (with black ) or pigeon blue (with black and white). 

The blue hues connect to green with turquoise . In the lexicon of German color names it is mentioned that there was no evidence of turquoise as a color word before 1950 (p. 2508), but the meaning of this color name is currently increasing. Referring to Wilhelm Ostwald's 24-part color wheel, Seufert set up the order ultramarine (14), Prussian blue (15), turquoise (16), ice blue (17), blue-green (18) from red to green, with turquoise being a blue one Shade was classified. The turquoise color used to be called sky blue. (details under Bianchi (company) # Bianchi-Celeste as corporate design )

The other side of the (psychological) blue is followed by the violet tones, although the spectral connection to red is at the long-wave end of visible light.

Color valences in blue

Blue variations

The human visual cells for blue process a very narrow band of the light spectrum , so the eye is very sensitive to red components in blue. One color tone is very clearly either blue or purple , there is no pronounced mixed tone. Red-tinged blue tones are called "warm blue". The aforementioned ultramarine blue is an example of this. Blue tones of red are considered “cool red”.


Color physics

Since the Middle Ages , artists and scholars have developed different theories about the origin of blue in historical color-physical treatises. In the book of painting , Leonardo da Vinci described the nature and effect of blue as immaterial , not a color of the air, but a metaphysical mixture of sunlight with the “blackness of the world eclipse”. Goethe, for whom there were only two pure colors with yellow and blue, similarly placed blue on the border with darkness and thus diametrically opposed to yellow, which stands on the border with light. The pantheistic view of his color theory thus combined the scientific with the aesthetic, mystical and psychological aspects. Newton's discoveries, rejected by Goethe, identify blue in the red / orange / yellow / green / blue / violet spectrum as one of the spectral colors which, when mixed together , result in white (through additive color mixing ). Irradiation tests have shown that the color impression "black" arises when a cyan (blue) surface is illuminated with red.

Uses / Techniques

HTML, CSS and SVG: "blue"
RGB ( r , g , b ) (0, 0, 255)
Hexadecimal triplet 0000FF

Effect and symbolism

  • Blue is a color that usually has a cold effect on people. The blue shadows in sunny ice and snow cause - especially in ice blue - the feeling of cold. Blue is one of the cold colors .
  • Favored by the blue of the sky and its reflection in the water, blue in literature and graphics stands for distance, longing and clarity. As a result, an emotionally balancing, calming and moderating effect is attributed to the blue .
  • In the “endless” expansion of the blue sky there is also constancy, resulting in harmony , sympathy and satisfaction .
  • Light blue often evokes an association with loyalty, harmony , longing and satisfaction .
  • In contrast, the color in English gives its name to the state of melancholy and mourning, as in "to feel blue", which is also reflected in the blues . The colloquial term baby blues denotes a postnatal mood depression, i.e. also a depressed mood.
  • Blue and green were and are not differentiated in the same way in all cultures as we do, although the borderline case, turquoise , also in German-speaking countries is dependent on individual feelings in its assignment .
  • In contrast to red, blue generally has a calming and pleasant effect on people. It supposedly promotes concentration and keeps you awake.
  • In web design (HTML, CSS, SVG) the color name "blue" stands for a pure blue.


FDJ singing group in blue shirts (1975).
  • Blue can stand for youth and hope. Symbols of youth organizations are kept in this color, such as the FDJ blue shirt in the former GDR or that of the youth organization Socialist Youth in Germany - The Falcons .
  • Blue is traditionally the color of Europe. The European flag has twelve yellow stars on a blue background.
  • Numerous country flags have blue parts. If one does not subdivide between different shades of blue, it is one of the most frequently used flag colors internationally. In the case of island and coastal states, it is often a lighter shade of blue and this often refers to the color of the sea or sky, while the blue component in European flags in particular often refers to the color of kings. The royal blue, like the blue of the European flag, goes back to the valuable relic parts of the deep blue alleged coat of Mary (in some kingdoms also of St. Martin ) that were sent from Rome as a church seal of approval . As a former great power and ruler of a third of the world's population, the dark blue of the British flag (originally the Scottish part of the Union Jack ) also found its way into the flags of many former colonies worldwide. As the traditional color of the Mongols, blue can still be found in the flags and coats of arms of numerous Turkic peoples.
  • The military air and water forces of many states have blue seals / coats of arms / flags / uniforms.
  • Parties choose a color code as their party color ; at the international level, parties with similar ideologies often use the same colors. The choice of color can be symbolic or regional.
    • The Pan-Blue coalition in Taiwan relied on democracy with the chosen color to differentiate itself from the nationally-minded Greens.
    • The traditional Bavarian blue - interpreted as blue sky - gave the CSU , which only operates in Bavaria , the basic color.
    • The FDP relies on liberalism with yellow-blue-magenta , until 2015 it used blue-yellow.
    • Blue and yellow are the party colors of the SSW (based on the colors of Schleswig ) .
    • In Austria, blue symbolizes the FPÖ .
    • In Great Britain it is the color of the "Conservatives" (Conservative Party)
    • In the USA, states ruled by Democrats are referred to as “blue states”.
    • The color blue is associated with the AfD .
  • The Blue Division of Spanish volunteers who worked in the crackdown on the Spanish Republic from 1936 to 1939 chose this color from 1941 to 1943 when they took part in the Russian campaign. This blue was taken from the party color of the Spanish fascists ( Falange ), who wore blue shirts as a traditional symbol.
  • Similar to the Frecce Tricolori or the Stella d'Italia, the blue shade of Savoy blue is an unofficial state symbol of the Italian Republic .

The blue angle

In the National Socialist concentration camps, imprisoned emigrants were marked with a blue triangle. This blue triangle at the top was used by the guards to distinguish them from other categories of prisoners. Emigrants from Germany or the allied states were taken into “protective custody” after they were arrested again in the concentration camps.


Polish image of Mary
  • The color blue of the sky symbolizes God, faith and revelation in Judaism . Accordingly, the Star of David in the flag of Israel is colored blue.
  • In the Roman Catholic Church, blue is a liturgical color . Blue is also the color of the Mother of God Mary as Queen of Heaven . In fact, it is usually painted with a red or pink dress and a blue coat; especially in the case of Immaculata representations also in white and blue; seldom entirely in red. In contrast, the Madonna is usually painted on icons of the Eastern Roman and Orthodox Churches with a purple or dark red coat over a blue dress - but often not much of the blue is to be seen.
  • The Sufis sometimes wear sky-blue clothing (frocks) as a sign of their occupation with the heavenly.

Gender differences

Blue stocking was the derogatory term for the first members of the women's movement. Henry VIII became known as the Knight Bluebeard and has a reputation for murdering his wives. The term "bluebeard" was adopted for women murderers.

For a long time blue was not considered a “male” color. Red has the associations passion, blood, active eros and struggle. Blue, on the other hand, is the color of Mary in the Christian tradition . After the First World War , from around 1920, there was a change in attitudes, the color blue became a symbol for the world of work and men. The blue tones of the naval uniform, blue work suits, the boiler suit promoted the symbolism. Boys wore the ( navy blue) sailor suits that were fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century . These considerations can also be found with the "small", "childish" colors pink and light blue , which are used for rompers, for example.

Traffic and signal

Traffic signs for the restricted traffic area
  • For traffic signs, blue is used as the signal color and stands for “mandatory” and is the basic color of the mandatory signs.
  • Blue is also supposed to show salvation . Blue Peter is an important signal flag .
  • In the course of European standardization, the uniforms of the police and the paintwork of the vehicles have been gradually changed from green to blue since the 2000s.
  • The blue zone is the inner city area with parking areas marked in blue.

The signal effect is based on the deliberate delimitation from the light colors: red, yellow, green.

  • Blue ribbon , the honor for the fastest ship on the transatlantic route.
  • Blue List , the amalgamation of German research institutes from different disciplines.
  • Blue light , the signal from emergency vehicles, especially the fire brigade, the police and the rescue service.
  • Blue helmet , the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations wear blue helmets in a striking and rare military color.


  • To be blue means “to be drunk”, the origin of the phrase has not been clarified with certainty. In French, one speaks of "being gray" ( être gris ) and, if you are very drunk, of "being black" ( être noir ).
  • In the Blue Cross , this meaning is set for the rejection of alcohol, a Christian organization that seeks help for addicts.

Blue blood

The cyanosis , formerly known as "blue addiction", is basically based on a lack of oxygen in the blood, which makes it appear blue-violet. In the case of certain types of poisoning (e.g. with hydrogen cyanide , " hydrogen cyanide "), the oxygen uptake of the blood may be impaired due to the better binding of the toxins to the hemoglobin.

Arthropods have hemocyanin as a blood pigment, which is colored blue by the central atom of copper, instead of hemoglobin, which is colored red by iron as the central atom .

In contrast, the expression possessing blue blood in the meaning of “being of noble origin ” is based on the noble paleness cultivated by the nobility: Since nobles did not work in the open air like the peasants in agriculture, they had an (un-tanned) pale and translucent skin. The venous blood shimmers blue through the skin. In this context of the nobility, blue also generally stands for “noble”.


  • The trip into the blue comes from earlier times when the blue flowering flax was often grown. During the excursion into nature, you were driven “into the blue”.
  • Blue Monday is the name for a work-free (leisurely spent) Monday. In relation to this, “making blue” is a colloquial synonym for “celebrating sick”, not attending a compulsory course, especially work and school.
  • freedom
  • Blue Mountains, the Blue Mountains in Jamaica, the distant mountains look bluer the further they are through air filtering.

Arts and Culture

People in the Middle Ages loved blue clothes because blue was the color of heaven, God and angels. Stefan Lochner's panel painting of the Madonna in the Rosenhag is an example of this. The blue coat and dress identify the Madonna as the Queen of Heaven. Another example is the two versions of the Rock Grotto Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci , the blue dress of the Madonna and the blue sky are related to each other. Heinrich II wore a blue, starry cloak, the sky was visible in the blue clothing on earth. Blue symbolized the spirit and order, law and power of the nobility and clergy.

Blue Flower ( Stemless Gentian )

The motif of the blue flower gained literary importance in the 19th century . In Novalis ' novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen , it stands for the distance, the hope. She became a symbol of romanticism and especially of romantic longing . Eduard Mörike used the color symbol several times. In the poem He is’s the “blue ribbon” of spring fluttering and The History of the Beautiful Lau - an art fairy tale about a childless princess - play in Blaubeuren .

The “ Blue Night ” has been taking place in Nuremberg every year since 2000 in mid-May . It's a Long Night of Museums , with artistic installations and performances taking place in the streets. The dominant color that night is blue through the illumination of buildings and decorations of participating museums. For example, water and air are used as the respective “blue” basic theme.

The Blue Rider was an association of Expressionist painters . For Pablo Picasso his blue period (from around 1901 to 1907) was an important episode in his work.

The French artist Yves Klein uses only the color blue in many of his monochrome pictures, his tones as "IKB" for International Klein Blue .

The directors Jean-Luc Godard , James Cameron and especially Michael Mann use blue highlighted in the film. In 1993, Krzysztof Kieślowski created the film Three Colors: Blue with the first part of his trilogy , which deals with one of the ideals of the French Revolution.

Blue moon stands for a second full moon within a month and figuratively stands for a rare event.

“La note bleue” is the name of a monument to Frédéric Chopin in the Swiss garden in Vienna . The name means the “blue note” that Chopin's poet and partner George Sand saw in his music. The monument was designed by the Polish artist Krzysztof Bednarski and is a gift from the Polish government to the city of Vienna .

Martial arts

Budo belt (Japanese Obi) in the colors of the five student grades (Japanese Gokyū).

In many martial arts - such as Jiu Jitsu , Judo and Karate - a belt (Japanese obi ) is worn as part of martial arts clothing (Japanese keikogi ). The blue belt represents the state of knowledge of the Budoka and the advanced student grades (Jap. Kyū -degree) reserved.


In heraldry , blue is one of the classic tinctures. Like green , red and black, it belongs to the heraldic colors , in contrast to the metals gold and silver.

Color of the year

A color is selected from the Pantone range every year. Classic Blue (Pantone 19-4052) was chosen in the 21st election for 2020. The Pantone Color Institute chose the “timeless blue” because of the associated positive feelings of “space, nature and freedom”.

“The reason: blue calms you down and conveys a feeling of calm, harmony and security. At a time when technological progress threatens to overwhelm us, according to Pantone it is only natural that we are increasingly drawn to solid, calmer colors. "

In 2000, Cerulean Blue (Pantone 15-4020) became the color of the year.

See also

Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)


  • Margarete Bruns: About azurite, indigo and aniline. The history of the blue color. In: Emil Ernst Ploß: A book of old colors. Technology of textile colors in the Middle Ages with an outlook on solid colors. 6th edition Munich 1989, ISBN 978-3-89164-060-9 , pp. 14-20.
  • Hannelore Dittmar-Ilgen: How salt gets into sea water and why there are no more ice flowers: even more physics for the curious. Hirzel, Stuttgart / Leipzig 2004, ISBN 978-3-7776-1315-4 .
  • Hans Gercke (Ed.): Blue: color of the distance. (Exhibition catalog). Das Wunderhorn, Heidelberg 1990, ISBN 3-88423-063-8 .
  • Catholic Institute for Media Information and Catholic Film Commission for Germany (Ed.): Film-dienst 10/02 theme blue . No. 10 . KIM, 2002, ISSN  0720-0781 .
  • Harald Küppers: crash course on color theory. DuMont, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-8321-7640-3 .
  • Kai Kupferschmidt: In search of blue . In: Science . tape 364 , no. 6439 , 2019, ISSN  0036-8075 , p. 424-429 , doi : 10.1126 / science.364.6439.424 , PMID 31048474 ( ).
  • Angelika Lochmann, Angelika Overath: The blue book. Readings of a color. Greno, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-89190-432-0 .
  • Angelika Overath : The other blue. On the poetics of a color in the modern poem. Metzler, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-476-00616-6 .
  • Dietmar Schuth : The color blue: attempting a characteristic. Lit, Münster 1995, ISBN 3-8258-2776-3 (= theory of contemporary art; volume 5).
  • Matthias Seefelder: Indigo. Culture, science and technology. 2nd revised edition. ecomed, Landsberg 1994, ISBN 3-609-65150-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Blue  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Blue  - Collection of Images
Wikiquote: Blue  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. ^ William Jervis Jones: Historical Lexicon of German Color Designations . Walter de Gruyter, 2013, 3308 pages. Online in Google Book Search. ISBN 978-3-05-005953-2 , as an e-book ISBN 978-3-05-006322-5
  2. Dietmar Schuth: The color blue. LIT Verlag Münster, 1995, ISBN 978-3-8258-2776-2 , p. 14. Restricted preview in the Google book search
  3. Thomas Stauss: Goethe's color theory. In: December 29, 2014, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  4. Goethe and the natural sciences. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on January 20, 2000 ; accessed on December 29, 2014 .
  5. Martin Kugler: Isaac Newton's theory of colors. In: April 11, 2009, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  6. Monika Krüger: The temperature effect of colors in the fine arts - A search for the origins and the functionality of the warm-cold contrast. GRIN Verlag, 2004, ISBN 978-3-638-32699-5 , p. 7. limited preview in Google book search
  7. Hans Gekeler : DuMont's handbook of colors, Cologne 1988. P. 130 ff.
  8. Blue melancholy: color impulses. In: September 26, 2012, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  9. also the article green and blue in different languages
  10. Philipp Nagels: Evolution: That is why blue was actually green for us humans in the past. In: . April 9, 2018, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  12. ^ Olaf Opitz: Germany: Network for blue-yellow. In: Focus Online . August 25, 1997, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  13. is as fond FPÖ More Blue "ZIBS". In: . June 10, 2012, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  14. Verena Wolff: Electoral system in the USA - The complicated way into the White House. In: . August 1, 2012, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  15. Concentration camp prisoner clothing (PDF file)
  16. JC Cooper: Illustrated Lexicon of Traditional Symbols , Drei-Lilien-Edition / Seemann Verlag, Wiesbaden (undated), p. 50
  17. ↑ It appears entirely in red, for example, in Rogier van der Weyden's Madonna Durán in the Prado (Madrid). This is particularly noticeable as this artist often painted them entirely in blue or white.
  18. See, for example, André Deguer: Ikonen , Berghaus Verlag, Ramerding, 1977, Fig. 1 (?), 2-23, 31, 44, 51
  19. ^ Georg Friedrich Daumer : Hafis. A collection of Persian poems. Along with poetic additions from different peoples and countries. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1846, p. 316.
  20. Birgit Schwaner: Fairies, vamps and baby dolls - pre-Christmas excursion into the world of toys - and especially dolls - Wiener Zeitung Online. In: December 23, 2005, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  21. Caroline Kaufmann: On the semantics of the color adjectives pink, pink and red (PDF file; 1.78 MB) . Dissertation for the doctor of psychology, Herbert Utz Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-8316-0652-8 .
  22. Der Police in blue. In: August 8, 2012, accessed December 29, 2014 .
  23. H. Paland: Blau Praxis der Naturwissenschaften - Chemie, No. 6/60, P. 26-29, Aulis Verlag 2011. - Stephan Selzer: Blau. Economy of a Color in the Late Medieval Empire, Stuttgart: Hiersemann 2010.
  24. Eduard Mörike: It's him., accessed on July 6, 2020 .
  25. Alexandra Schöb: "Classic Blue" is the Pantone color of the year 2020 . In: Glamor, January 21, 2020.
  26. The Pantone color of the year 2020: Classic Blue .
  27. Pantone Color of the Year 2000 (English).