The Symbolism of the Color Blue
Blue Symbolism Around the World
Blue symbolism provides a fascinating look at one of the most prevalent and beloved colors around the world. Blue symbolism affects many areas of life, including clothing choices, language and cliches, interior design, art, religion and health. Although blue is even more popular in the western world than is other areas of the world, blue skies and blue water are full of positive meaning in every culture. We are, after all, living on the "blue planet."
Is Blue Everyone's Favorite Color?
More people claim blue as their favorite color than any other color (over 50%). Blue cars have been among the top selling cars for decades. Blue denim is the most common clothing material in the western world. Men and boys in particular favor blue.
Blue Symbolism and Personality
In systems which correlate favorite colors with color symbolism, people who wear light blue are said to be analytical and have a practical approach to life. People who wear dark blue are intelligent and self-reliant and take on a great deal of responsibility. In any case, people are comfortable with blue and return to blue again and again.
Blue Symbolism: Multiple Meanings
Blue symbolism associates blue with freedom, strength and new beginnings. Blue skies are emblematic of optimism and better opportunities. Blue is the color of loyalty and faith. Blue is power. Blue is also the color of protection. Blue symbolism is nearly universal in meaning. As a result, blue is used in national flags and symbols around the world, including the flag of the United Nations.
Blue Symbolism and Language
Something that happens rarely is said to happen "once in a blue moon." Blue symbolism runs the gamut of emotionally-packed meanings. Something that is the best of its kind is "blue ribbon." A person born of royalty or in the upper class is a "blue blood." However, when someone is depressed, they have the "blues."
Blue Symbolism and Nature
In color symbolism around the world, blue represents water, the source of life. Agricultural people have traditionally worshipped water in the form of rivers, clouds, mist and rain. Many favorite garden flowers are also blue, including delphinium, larkspur, pansies, irises, anemone, bluebells, hyacinth, lobelia, veronica, and ageratum.
Blue Symbolism and Relaxation
Blue symbolism emphasizes the cooling and relaxing qualities of blue, reminding us of the peace and calmness of night. Midnight night blue has a sedative effect that promotes meditation and intuition. Clear blue is uplifting, but too much dark blue can be depressing. Navy blue can also be associated with restrictive environments.
Blue Symbolism and Health
Blue is associated metaphysically with the throat and thyroid gland. Blue-colored light has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Blue calms the autonomic nervous system and is anti-inflammatory. Dark blue affects the pituitary gland, the regulator of sleep. Dark blue also reduces pain and strengthens the skeleton by keeping bone marrow healthy.
Negative Connotations of Blue Symbolism
However, blue symbolism also has some negative associations due to the connection between lack of oxygen and blue skin color. In color symbolism, blue is associated with chamomile, often used as a bedtime tea. Blue is also linked to tea tree oil and is useful for sensitive skin or reducing skin problems. Blue promotes the healing of burns and wounds. Blue foods are mainly various types of berries, but also include seaweed and some white fish.
Religious Color Symbolism
In Greek and Roman days, blue symbolism was associated with the sky gods Jupiter, Juno and Mercury. In Judaism, blue symbolism is connected to God the Father. In the Catholic Church, blue symbolism is most closely related to the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven. In Islam,blue symbolism (including turquoise) is the color both of religion and community and is often used for decorating mosques.
Blue Symbolism and Interior Design
Light and soft blue can alleviate insomnia and are good choices for bedrooms. Royal blue is appropriate for dining rooms and living rooms. Combinations of blue and yellow are often used in kitchens. Blue is also a natural choice for bathrooms due to the color symbolism association with water. Dark blue can be used successfully for meditation rooms.
Blue Color Symbolism and Art
Predominantly blue paintings are usually calm and refreshing. Artworks depicting rivers, waterfalls and the ocean often emphasize blue. Landscapes featuring large blue skies are also good options for introducing blue into your environment. Most design motifs associated with blue are smooth, flowing patterns. Blue tends to be connected to asymmetrical, free form and curved images such as waves or meandering streams. Art featuring blue has almost universal appeal and is a good choice for gifts as well as personal use.
More Information About Color Symbolism
For more information about color symbolism, please see the following recommended Amazon books:
Symbolism of Color
Color Synergy: Power of Color, Creative Visualizations, and Affirmations
The Symbolism of Color
Color and the Edgar Cayce Readings
Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism
Sloane, Patricia. The Visual Nature of Color. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1989.
Too, Lillian. Feng Shui: How to Apply the Secrets of Chinese Wisdom for Health, Wealth and Happiness. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1996.