A Writers Guide to Blue

blueBlue is tranquil. Blue is calming. Blue is the expanse of the sky and the depths of the ocean. Blue’s soothing effect suppresses the appetite. In chromotherapy, the color blue calms, relaxes, and opens communication. It is sometimes used to soothe illnesses and treat pain.

Turquoise Pantone's 2010 Color of the Year

Pantone’s 2010 Color of the Year

Did you know that Pantone selects a special color to correspond with each year? This year it’s turquoise (specifically 15-5519 Turquoise). Pantone “selected the luminous color based on its juxtaposition of tranquil blue notes and energizing green tones.”

Blue is the color between violet and green. In color theory, blue is one of the three primary colors. It’s complementary color is orange.

Chromophobia*

  • Fear of blue: cyanophobia

Symbolism

  • Blue symbolizes harmony, trust, and loyalty.
  • Blue symbolizes wisdom, confidence, and intelligence.
  • Blue is the symbol of faith, truth, and heaven.
  • Blue foreshadows or adds emphasis to a scene: detachment, powerlessness, rationality, melancholy, passiveness, and/or depending on the shade warmth or coldness.

Superstitions and Beliefs

speedwell

  • The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore blue for protection against evil; later, blue was used for protection against witches.
  • Blue is the color of mourning in Iran, Turkey, and Central Asia.
  • In the United States, brides wear something blue as a symbol of purity.
  • An old English custom is for brides to wear blue ribbons on their wedding gown, a blue sapphire in her wedding ring, and add blue speedwell flowers to the wedding bouquet symbolized faithfulness and fidelity.
  • Some American Indian tribes consider blue a lucky color. However, to the Hopi people blue symbolized the west, and the house of death. A dream about a person carrying a blue feather was considered a very bad omen.
  • Blue beads, shells, and bones are worn to avert the evil eye.
  • A blue iris means: “Your friendship is very important to me.”
  • In Germany, to give someone a blue eye (blaues auge) is to look at them with anger or hostility. However, one who looks at the world with a blue eye is considered naive.
  • In China, blue is associated with torment, ghosts, and death. In a traditional Chinese opera, a character with a face powdered blue is a villain.
  • In Korea and Iran, it is the color of mourning.
  • In Thailand, light blue is the color of Friday. It is good luck to wear light blue on Friday. It is unlucky on Sundays and dark blue on Fridays.

    tree with evil eye charms in Cappadocia

    tree with evil eye charms in Cappadocia

  • Due to the rarity of blue (and green) eyes in the Aegean Region and other areas, it was believed people with these color eyes could curse them (intentionally or unintentionally). This became known at the evil eye. To ward against the curse, amulets (nazar) resembling blue eyes were made and hung in the home, businesses, and in trees as well as worn on the body.
  • In Christianity, blue is associated with the Virgin Mary and thought to provide protection for children.
  • In Christianity, blue represents the sin of lust, and light blue represents sloth.
  • In Judaism, the Torah tells the Israelites to put fringes (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments with blue thread woven in it. According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the color of God’s Glory.
  • In Hinduism, many of the gods are depicted as having blue-colored skin.
  • American Indians associate blue face paint with wisdom and intuition, and blue war paint with confidence.
  • In medieval Europe, blue symbolized spirituality.
  • Blue represents the fifth (throat) chakra.

Blue History

  • It has been theorized that early man was unable to distinguish blue from green, and that ability developed later.
  • Lapis lazuli pigment can be seen in the 6th and 7th-century AD cave paintings in Afghanistani Zoroastrian and Buddhist temples.
  • Egyptians prized all things blue and lapis lazuli believing that it possessed life-giving powers. They often used it to colored eyes, hair, and crowns on statues and painting.
  • Public servants in ancient Rome wore blue.
  • In an old naval sailing tradition if a ship loses her captain, a blue stripe was painted on the ships hull and the ship would fly blue flags and when returning to home port.
  • In Heraldry, blue (azure) signifies loyalty, chastity, truth, strength, and faith.
  • The men of the Tuareg people in North Africa wear a blue turban called a tagelmust. Early visitors called them the “Blue Men” of the Sahara.
  • During Queen Elizabeth I reign (1558 to 1603), only the Queen and her court were allowed to wear blue. The queen went so far as to imposed Sumptuary Laws that forbade anyone without noble blood from wearing blue.
  • In the 1700s, wearing dark blue worsted stockings was casual wear as opposed to the formal black silk stockings.
  • Blue was considered a delicate and dainty tone and therefore a feminine color before WWII. The shift to pink came post war when women who’d worked in the factories wore blue wanted a change (that and Mamie Eisenhower).
natural ultramarine pigment

natural ultramarine pigment

Pigments & Dyes

  • Blue dye was rare. It’s not an earth color. There are three ancient blue pigments. The first was made from lapis lazuli and azurite. The stone was ground into a powder, mixed with wax, and kneaded into dilute lye bath. The color was a deep, rich ultramarine blue.
  • The second pigment was derived through chemistry. The ancient Egyptians heated limestone, sand, and copper. The result was a turquoise pigment often referred to as Egyptian Blue. The ancient Chinese blended copper with elements like barium, lead and mercury.
  • The third blue comes from the Mesoamericans. Known Maya or Mayan Blue it is believed to have been a mix of indigo plant extract, a clay mineral, and copal.

Phrases and Sayings

Blau sein – German for ‘to be blue’ means to be drunk
Blue blood – person of noble descent
Blue comedy – humorous entertainment bordering on indelicacy to gross indecency
Blue devils – feeling depressed
Blue funk – very depressed
Blue in the face – something done repeatedly without achieving the desired result until you’re incredibly frustrated
Blue law – “laws” used to enforce moral standards
Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year (the third Monday in January)
Blue moon – the second new moon in a month or the third of four full moons in a season
Blue movie – one with explicit sex
Blue plate special – a specially low-priced meal
Blue ribbon – first prize at a county fair
Bluestocking – an intellectual or literary woman
Feeling blue – to feel sad
Hot as blue blazes – extremely hot
Into the blue – into the unknown
Once in a blue moon – a rare event
Out of the blue – something unexpected
Talk a blue streak – speaking quickly and at length
True blue – someone who is loyal and dependable
Turning blue – when the skin, nails, and/or lips turn blue do to lack of oxygen in the blood stream
Singing the Blues – feeling sad or complaining about problems

Meanings of Shades and Tints of Blue

  • Light blue: devotion and understanding
  • Dark blue: expertise, stability, power, integrity, and seriousness
  • Aqua: emotional healing and protection
  • Turquoise: communication, confidence, and strength

Words for Blue

Light Blues
baby blue
cornflower blue
periwinkle
watchet
~
Pale Blues
Alice blue
ice blue
powder blue
~
Bright Blues
celeste / sky
cyan
electric blue
Maya blue
robin’s egg blue
sea / sea water
~
Blue-Violets
hyacinthine
indigo
iris
violet
Medium Blues
azure
beryl
brine / briny deep
cerulean
denim
heavens
liberty
mazarine
peacock blue
Prussian blue
royal blue (after 1950)
slate blue
steely
Spanish blue
viridian
~
Blue-Greens
brackish water
cerulean
pavonated / peacock blue
periwinkle
Prussian blue
teal
Tiffany blue
turquoise
viridian
Dark Blues
Catalina blue
cobalt / smalt
Egyptian blue
independence
iris
midnight blue
navy
resolution blue
royal blue (traditional)
perse
Phthalo blue
sapphire
space cadet
ultramarine
~
Gray-Blues
caesious
cesious
independence
glaucous
griseous
perse
slate blue

black bullet line
Blue and You

Are you wearing blue right now?
You are calm and tranquil today.

Are you wearing dark blue?
Your brain is working great today and you are able to make good decisions.

Are you wearing light blue?
You are of a sensitive nature today and are feeling creative.

Look in your closet. Is blue a predominate color in your wardrobe?
Is it dark blue?
You are self reliant and responsible. You dislike noise and desire peacefulness and affection.
Is it light blue?
You like to do things in your own way and time. You are creative, practical, and sensitive.

Do you just dislike the color blue?
You have a fear of failure and fear losing your social position or wealth.
Light blue: You are afraid of change.
Dark blue: Someone has been disloyal and let you down. You suffer from a loss of faith.

Do you drive a blue car?
Light-mid blue: You are calm, faithful, and true.
Dark blue: You are confident, credible, authoritative.

*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.

black bullet line

Use blue wisely in writing, painting,
decorating, and in your wardrobe!

Blue seems to be a common color in clothing.
Do you think it’s the new neutral?
(Neutral colors in clothing refer to colors that go with everything and seems to blend in rather than stand out.)

colorindex

Sources:
The wardrobe portion of this post was created using The Complete Book of Color by Suzy Chizzari.
The car information from Today.
If It’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die by Patti Bellantoni
speedwell: Jörg Hempel, Wikipedia.org
blue powder: Palladian, Wikipedia.org
evil eye tree: Shakko, Wikipedia.org
awesome blue sphere, blue swatch, and series logo by me!
Share! It will make you happy, trust me.

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27 Comments

  1. I definitely find blue calming and tranquil. I did have a lot of blue in my wardrobe at one time, but I seem to have changed to black some where along the way. Not sure why maybe because it's suppose to make you look slimmer. Blue is a wonderful color.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

  2. I have a couple dark blue shirts. It also represents professionalism.

  3. I love these color posts! They are so freaking awesome!

  4. Blue bedroom because it's so calming. No matter how frazzled I am, when I go there, I'm immediately calmer. Great post. I love these color ones.

  5. Blue is very calming, isn't it? But I have to admit I kind of hate light blue because, not only does it wash me out, it reminds me of faded jeans and the 80's. I like blue in certain ways; in nature and in impressionist paintings when it's mixed with other millions of other colors.

  6. I do wear a lot of blue – it's a comfort colour for me 🙂

  7. Blue is my favorite color. Green is my wife's favorite color. Our house is decorated primarily in greens, which is okay by me because I do like green as well. Usually when I buy clothes I tend to pick out shades of blue.
    I enjoyed this post on my favorite color. Except now I've got Neil Diamond's “Song Sung Blue” running thru my head–don't hate it, but it's not my favorite song either.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  8. This post made me laugh. It is so true, I do dislike noise and desire peace. With children running around that is nearly impossible to achieve. Blue is my favorite color, but as an artist, I truly love all colors.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  9. Turquoise is my favorite favorite! (I said it twice, it's not a typo) Dark blue is just my favorite. I wear blue at least 75% of the time. Now I only wish it meant I make good decisions 🙂

  10. Wow what an insightful look into one of my favorite colors!!! Awesome info.

  11. Blues with a twist are my very favorites–Periwinkle in particular is my favorite color and the one that calms me most (then purple, is a lifetime habit for me).

    The color associated with my BIRTHDAY though is turquoise, and that is the one I look best in and feel most confident in. I have blue eyes that will pick it up–they won't with all blues, but with turquoise or teal, they do.

    In college though, they always told us interviews should happen in a navy blue suit–it is the perfect tone between innovative and reliable… or something like that (I prefer gray… not that I tolerate suits anymore)

  12. “Blue is for purity in thought and deed.” This is a line from a song I remember singing as a child. So your post brought it to mind! I like what you've posted about colors. And thanks for stopping by and commenting on my bread (book) rising post.
    Ann

  13. Yes, I am wearing blue right now- I mostly do. Loved the post- blue is a colour I love, but which I don't attach much significance too, if you know what I mean.

  14. I've never heard of a “blue law.” Interesting.

    And I'm almost always wearing blue. I love jeans, and right now, even my toenails are blue.

    Thanks for another fun color post!

  15. I love blue! But I'm not wearing any. I do have a lot of dark blue though in the old wardrobe. And I do dislike noise. I don't know if I'm responsible though. ;P

  16. There is just something about blue…
    Maybe because it is our back drop most days and midnight blue at night.
    It seems to set off the appeal of so many emotions. In France, they have a term called the blue hour. I guess there is references in many songs. Blue inspires us daily; it is the color of the 5th chakra…
    Fun post~

  17. You forgot Blu, from “fosers Home of Imaginary friends”.. best Blu ever.

  18. Wow! Ever listened to Joni Mitchell's 'Blue'? That makes you feel everything on this list! :o)

  19. I think blue has too many shades to be neutral. Bright, vibrant blues are really close to purple, which is a royal color, but then again, there's royal blue.

    I think Elvis liked blue a lot as he sang Blue Suede Shoes, Blue Moon, Blue Hawaii, Blue Christmas, & Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain.

  20. I love blue. I have to stop myself from only buying blue clothing and blue objects. Very interseting info, I actually wrote a bit in my book about how blue is supposed to have a calming effect.

  21. Hilary Melton-Butcher said…
    Hi .. love those notes on 'blue' .. and the Iris – love them .. I bought quite a lot to go with the daffodils in Spring for the flower vases for my mother.

    Blue has always been the 'smart' colour .. the French wear a lot of blue ..

    I certainly wear a lot of blue .. thanks Hilary
    August 26, 2010 2:43 AM

  22. Matthew Rush said…
    I love this series on colors! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Alex, yes navy blue is THE corporate color.

  24. Roland D. Yeomans said…
    What a fascinating post.

    Blue did predominate my wardrobe once. Then, the fire came and whoops — I bought what I could to put clothes on my back.

    As always you have a fascinating blog, Roland

  25. arlee! Now I have that song in my head and all I remember is the chorus.

  26. Alex J. Cavanaugh said…
    You have an award awaiting you!

  27. Roland I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    Rayna I do know what you mean. 😉

    Thanks Alex.

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