ArtLex Art Dictionary



a solid blue square

bolue - A color we most commonly associate with a sunny sky.

Blue pigments include:

alizarin blue

cerulean blue

cobalt blue

Egyptian blue


Prussian blue



Examples of works in which blue is especially important:

Yves Klein, Requiem Blue, 1960, Menil Collection.



Like: The color of tranquility and peace, blue tends to be the most preferred color universally. Although cool and confident (or wishing to be), blues can be vulnerable. You are trusting and need to be trusted. You are sensitive to the needs of others and form strong attachments, and are deeply hurt if your trust has been betrayed.

Blue people aspire to harmony, serenity, patience, perseverance and peace. You are somewhat social but prefer sticking to your own close circle of friends. You think twice before speaking or acting out. You are generally conservative, even tempered and reliable.

Because of the highly developed sense of responsibility of the blue personality, you must be careful of perfectionist tendencies that may make you unrealistically demanding. Your gentleness, however, will win out.

Dislike: A dislike of blue may mean restlessness--a need to break away from the sameness that bores you. Perhaps you would like to change your job, or even your life, and long for more excitement. You might be tired of being "depended on," but your conscience makes you stay. You wish that you were either wealthy or brilliant (or both) because that would enable you to have all the good things in life without working so hard. Deeper blues may mean sadness and melancholy to you--blue may simply give you the blues.


Like: Since this is a marriage of the blue and green colors previously mentioned, many of the traits will be combined, but there are added dimensions. You are neat (to the point of fussiness) and well-groomed. You are sensitive, but also sophisticated, self-assured and (usually) stable.

You help others and usually manage your own affairs very well. Courtesy and charm are characteristics, too. But narcissism is a key word here. Teals love to dress up to get the admiration of others, but along with admiration, you may also provoke some of the "blue-green-eyed monsters."

Dislike: Since love of teal means orderliness and neatness, dislike of teal means that, as messy as you'd like to be, a little voice inside you (was it your mother or your father?) keeps telling you to clean up your room. As much as you try to ignore it, it won't go away. You really love to relax more and not pay attention to petty details. You really prefer earthy types to fussy people.




Study reveals that Americans are either feeling blue or keen on green, and that a penchant for purple rivals red.

The Roper/Pantone Consumer Color Preference Study has revealed that blue is the country's most popular color. Whether a sign of national depression or a quest for calm, 35% of those polled chose it as their favorite color overall in a study conducted by color communication company Pantone, Inc. and marketing consultants Roper Starch, Worldwide.

"It comes as no surprise that Americans overwhelmingly chose the color that best evokes a soothing, calming tranquility in a frantically fast, often insecure world, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. It may seem a stretch to equate color and design directions with our state of mind and body, but these trends have always
reflected society's concerns and interests, and surviving stress is a key issue in today's world."

Spectrum Blue was the leading choice for men, especially among trendsetting 18 - 29 year olds, while the more serene Sky Blue was the favorite choice of women.

Second to blue was green, chosen by 16% of consumers.

"As ecology and the preservation of nature has grown as the overriding social issue of the 90s, so has the popularity of green," says Eiseman. "Consumers describe it as fresh, clean and revitalizing."

Green is especially favored by a demographic group called the influentials. "These are the opinion leaders, the kind of people others go to for advice, says Eiseman. "They are the very vocal 10% of the population who embrace newness and spread the word. They are the trendsetters."

Interestingly, purple came up as the third favorite color, nudging red out by just 1%. "Purple is, after all, the bridge from warm to cool, a blend of quiet blue and raucous red" says Eiseman, describing it as a complex and intriguing shade of mixed messages.

Red is still viewed as the most exciting color, however, and black is considered to be the most mysterious, but both are followed closely by purple.

"The 18 to 29 year olds are especially partial to purple because they consider it sexy," says Eiseman. "And the influentials see it as powerful and sophisticated."

The findings are derived from nationwide interviews of over 2,000 men and women 18 years and older. The participants were asked to select their colors from a broad spectrum included in the PANTONE TEXTILE Color System and the responses were categorized by age, sex, occupation, education, household income, geographic area, and market size.

"Color preference often reflects specific demographic groups," says Eiseman. "A preference for red is directly linked to the most secure within a society, with the most economically stable segment, or achievers, such as high-powered active women who are unafraid to take risks."

In regard to fashion and apparel, blues were also chosen as America's favorite color for casual clothing, taking 37% of the vote, while grays and black were deemed the number one choice for business suits, with 35% of those polled indicating it as their favorite color.

Black remains the most mysterious, powerful, and sophisticated shade, especially with wealthy, achievement-oriented women. That opinion is not shared by blue collar or middle-aged men and women, however, who still associate black with mourning.

Grays and black were also chosen as the second favorite color for casual clothing by 13%, while blues were chosen as the second favorite color for business suits by 23%.

The two colors that are seen as the warmest as well as the most cheerful are pink and yellow, with pink being the most popular of the two.

According to Eiseman, soft pinks tend to elicit simple, uncomplicated emotions, while fluorescent pinks are the least liked of that particular color family.

"In general, fluorescents in every color family are the least preferred for the age group tested," says Eiseman.

It should come as no surprise then that bright orange is the least favorite color overall, although two popular colors chosen by the influentials were Orange Crush and Firewater."The influentials are the strongest advocates of orange, partly because they are more secure in indulging in off-beat tastes, and because orange has become a color embraced by haute couture," says Eiseman.

Orange also has its highest acceptance in the youth market, especially with adolescents.

"It's the in-your-face color, look-at-me reaction to the overwhelming attention paid to the preceding baby boomer generation," says Eiseman.

Similarly, the second most disliked color among adults is a strong, sulfuric yellow-green, while at the same time the youth market describes their favorite color as "slime green."

As for the home, brown finds its niche in rich earthtones of Tobacco and Carobe Brown, and neutrals, such as Angora and Cream Pearl

"Comfort is the most important word in today's consumer vocabulary," says Eiseman. "People want to feel comfortable whether in their clothing or their homes, and their color preferences are a reflection of that."




Produced when light strikes an object and then reflects back to the eyes.

An element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the color name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a color, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a color.

When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colors are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colors; and also as warm and cool colors.

Colors can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed.

Some words used to describe colors are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, pretty, and sublime.

Sometimes people speak of colors when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc.

Photographers measure color temperature in degrees kelvin (K).







Also see CMYK, local color, monochrome, palette, Pantone Matching System (PMS), pattern, pigment, RGB, saturation, spectrum, texture, and value.

Coming soon (available now only in early stages of construction): articles on individual colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, purple, brown, white, gray, and black.





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