Last Updated on September 28, 2023
There’s something magical about beaches. Whether it’s the breeze blowing in from the high seas, the waves smashing rhythmically into the shore, or the idyllic beauty of the sun dipping gently into the horizon – the beach is both enchanting and extraordinary.
While different people go to the beach for different reasons, most are often drawn by the ocean’s pristine waters. Ocean water can take on various shades of blue, depending on numerous factors.
But one of the most common colors the ocean usually appears in is aqua. In this post, we highlight everything there is to know about this pigment.
What Color Is Aqua?
Aqua is a spectral color that sits between blue and green. The phrase ‘spectral colors’ (also known as colors of the spectrum or rainbow colors) are colors produced when light passes via a glass prism or a drop of water. These comprise a single fundamental pigment that exists on the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The pigment is often classified within a broader category of spectral colors known as cyan. However, this pigment differs from other cyan variations in that it consists of equal amounts of blue and green. In other words, aqua sits halfway between blue and green in the HSV color wheel. The color is assigned the hex code of #00FFFF.
What Colors Are In Aqua?
Going by its definition, it’s clear that aqua is the result of combining equal amounts of blue and green.
However, remember that blue is a primary color whereas green is a mixture of blue and yellow. So, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to claim that aqua also contains a decent amount of yellow.
Difference between Aqua and Cyan
Aqua is part of the larger cyan family of colors. But unlike regular cyan pigments that may have varying shades of green and blue, aqua typically features equal amounts of the two colors.
Remember that the words ‘aqua’ and ‘cyan’ may also be used interchangeably depending on the context. So, it’s best to read between the lines to know when the term ‘aqua’ is applied to denote the same thing as or a distinct shade of cyan.
Difference between Aqua and Aquamarine
The term ‘aqua’ is widely thought to be the truncated form of ‘aquamarine.’ In fact, many people still use the two words interchangeably.
While both aqua and aquamarine are found within the cyan color spectrum, they’re not exactly the same. The difference between these two shades is that aquamarine is slightly lighter than aqua. That’s due to its higher saturation of green than blue compared to aqua which has an equal amount of blue and green.
Difference between Aqua and Turquoise
Turquoise is yet another color that’s commonly confused with aqua. But when observed up-closed, you’ll realize that turquoise is actually closer to aquamarine than aqua.
Turquoise contains slightly more green than aquamarine and considerably more than aqua. The pigment has often been likened to the water at Havasu Creek in the U.S. state of Arizona. More succinctly put, aqua is a light bluish-green color while turquoise is a greenish-blue color.
Are All Four Colors Associated with Water?
Aqua, aquamarine, turquoise, and even cyan are all associated with water bodies. These colors are synonymous with the ocean due to their blue-greenish appearance.
As already indicated, larger water bodies absorb colors on the red part of the spectrum while reflecting those on the blue part (blue and green) to our eyes. That said, aqua is the most common color you’ll find in unagitated oceans with a moderate concentration of phytoplankton.
What Are The Shades Of Aqua?
Although aqua is widely considered a variant of cyan, the color is also available in different shades. Notable ones include;
1. Aqua Green Color
True to its name, the aqua green color contains more green than blue. This shade of aqua also stands out for its smaller red undertones.
2. Aqua Blue Color
Aqua blue is the direct opposite of aqua green. This aqua hue has more blue than green and tends to be a bit more vibrant than the standard aqua color.
3. Aqua Lake Color
Aqua lake comes with a distinctive blue undertone. It’s a darker version of aqua and is more close to teal in appearance.
4. Deep Aqua
Deep aqua is the darkest form of aqua. Although it has slightly more green than blue, both colors appear much duller than in other aqua shades.
5. Aqua Foam
The aqua foam color is a light grayish tone of aqua. It has larger amounts of green than blue, giving it a cooler appearance.
How Did The Aqua Color Get Its Name?
The word ‘aqua’ is unmistakably related to water. It’s the color in which large water bodies like oceans and seas commonly appear. You’re probably already familiar with terms like aquatic, aquaculture, aquacade, and aquarium.
All these words are related to water in a way due to the Latin prefix ‘aqua-‘ in them. The aqua color may also be known by several names depending on the context. For instance, the pigment is commonly called electric cyan by web designers. Some color enthusiasts also refer to it as waterspout, perhaps the surest indication of its relationship with water.
FUN FACT: Contrary to popular belief, ocean color has little to do with salinity and much to do with the water’s light-handling properties.
The reason the ocean appears blue is that the water absorbs colors with longer wavelengths first. These are typically colors in the red part of the light spectrum, such as red, orange, and yellow.
It then leaves behind pigments with shorter wavelengths, which are mainly those in the blue part of the light spectrum like blue and green. The shorter wavelengths are then reflected to our eyes.
It’s also worth noting that the shade of aqua visible on large water bodies may differ depending on several factors. For instance, more phytoplankton in the water will give it a greener hue while less phytoplankton will make it bluer.
What Is The Origin and History Of The Aqua Color?
Water bodies have been around from time immemorial. Surprisingly, aqua – the primary color associated with water – doesn’t have a very long history. Most shades of blue and yellow predate aqua.
The name ‘aqua,’ with respect to its association with the blue oceans, was coined during the age of computers. Among the first applications of the word was in computer graphics. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is credited for popularizing the color from the ‘90s after adding it to their HTML 3.2 version color palette.
What Are The Meaning and Symbolism Of The Aqua Color?
The pigment resonates with nature, specifically with water. Considering water’s refreshing properties, the aqua color can convey feelings of healing and revitalization. It’s not surprising that many beauty parlors and spas commonly use an aqua color palette.
Aqua is also a dreamy color associated with youthful fantasies. The pigment can add a dash of magic when used in fantasy books and films. It would look particularly beautiful in scenes that involve marine excursions.
The aqua color represents the peace and tranquility of the ocean. Remember that ocean water mostly takes on an aqua pigment during its calmest moments. As a symbol of peace, aqua will mostly suit paintings and designs intended to appease the senses.
The pigment can go a long way in imbuing calmness and relaxation into any chaotic setting. It can be a perfect theme color for vacations, including those that do not necessarily include beach picnics.
But while it can inspire a sense of tranquility, it can also instill energy vibes. It’s a great pigment to opt for if you wish to breathe some life into an otherwise dull space or artwork.
It may symbolize life. This meaning also borrows from the color’s association with water. Remember that water is an indispensable requirement for the growth and development of all living organisms. Without it, life as we know it would be inexistent.
Cleanliness is another invaluable attribute associated with aqua. That’s unsurprising considering that water is life’s main cleaning agent. Note that the term ‘cleanliness’ may also figuratively connote moral integrity or clarity of purpose.
The aqua color may also enhance empathy and compassion. You could consider it as your theme color for events like fundraisers, particularly those mobilizing resources towards Mother Nature’s preservation.
Aside from its association with water, aqua is also reminiscent of the clear skies. In this respect, the pigment may connote freedom and carefreeness.
How to Make Aqua
Since aqua is an equal mixture of blue and green, the easiest way to make the color would be to use the two pigments. For the best results, you’ll need the combination of a light shade of blue with green.
One of the unwritten rules of color preparations is to add darker pigments to lighter ones and not the other way around. Seeing as blue is darker than green, the first step in preparing aqua would be to add a decent amount of light green paint to a color mixing bowl.
Then, introduce blue paint drop-wise as you thoroughly stir to ensure both colors are well combined. Stop adding blue to the bowl as soon as you realize the aqua color.
Another way to prepare aqua would be to start by combining a fair amount of blue with a little yellow. This would give you a basic green color. You can then add blue to the green to obtain aqua.
What Colors Go Well With Aqua?
One of the best things about aqua is that it can evoke both a modern and vintage feeling. That quality makes it easy to pair with other pigments.
As a vibrant color, aqua would combine well with cool colors like black and dark gray. You might also pair it with warm colors like red, orange, and yellow. However, the latter combo would work best where you’re using aqua as an accent color and not the main component of the color scheme.
Not only is aqua one of the world’s most beautiful and symbolic colors. It’s also remarkably flexible and can blend well with other pigments.