Last Updated on May 25, 2023
The best way to relish the beauty of the sky is to lie by the seashore and marvel at the surreal image of the sun dipping beneath the horizon. The next best way is to hit the outdoors in an azure sky.
But what color is azure? That question shall be the focus of this post. Read below for a beginner’s guide to the azure color and what makes it so special.
What Color Is Azure?
Azure is a shade of blue that resembles the color of the sky on a cloudless day. The color sits almost midway between blue and cyan on the spectrum of visible light.
The color’s description may vary slightly depending on the color system that defines it. For instance, the X11 color naming system defines the pigment as pale cyan or white cyan. Some languages also consider azure as a basic color as opposed to a blue undertone. Other sources go as far as defining blue as a darker shade of azure.
But despite all the variances in definition, the general consensus is that azure is the quintessential pigment of the sky on a clear day. The color is assigned the hex code #0080FF.
FUN FACT: The sky appears blue, or more specifically azure, due to a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering. This phenomenon refers to the random scattering of electromagnetic radiation.
Note that light from the sun comprises all colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. But when this light penetrates the earth’s atmosphere, it gets scattered in all directions due to the presence of atmospheric particles.
Colors on the red end of the spectrum are scattered the least while those on the blue end, such as azure, are scattered the most. The azure color is redirected into all directions all over the sky, making it the most visible.
Another Fun Fact: The same sky that appears azure on earth is black when observed from the moon’s surface. That’s because the moon has no atmosphere to scatter the light. As such, the light from the sun travels in a straight line, keeping all the colors intact.
When you look straight at the sun from the moon’s surface, you’d see a brilliant white light. But when you look away, you’d only see the darkness caused by the empty atmosphere.
Which Individual Colors Are In Azure?
This pigment is a lighter shade of blue. Note that blue is a primary color and primary colors generally do not contain any other pigments but themselves. However, azure tends to have a visible tint of green. So, it would be accurate to say that green is also fairly represented in this sky color.
Is Azure On The Color Wheel?
This color falls within the broad blue umbrella. The fact that blue is on both the traditional and contemporary color wheels implies that all its shades, including azure, are on the color wheel too. As already indicated, azure is nestled between blue and cyan on the color wheel. Cyan is the color between blue and green.
What Colors Complement Azure?
Complementary colors are colors located on the direct opposite sides on the color wheel. Blue and orange are an example of a complementary pair. Since azure is a shade of blue, the two also share the same complementary color – orange.
The exact orange hue that complements azure may vary depending on how you perceive the color wheel. According to many color enthusiasts, safety orange is the perfect match.
Safety orange is a shade of orange used primarily to set objects apart from their immediate surroundings. The color is associated with warning and caution, such as those appearing on road signage.
It goes by many other names, including blaze orange, vivid orange, hunter orange, OSHA orange, and Caltrans orange.
Shades of Azure
1. Azure Mist
Azure mist is a lighter shade of azure noted for its pale cyan-blue color. It’s more similar to the ocean mist compared to basic azure which is reminiscent of a cloudless sky.
2. Baby Blue
Baby blue is a light-blue color widely associated with baby boys in Western culture. The color may also appear with subtle green undertones.
3. True Blue
The true blue color features a deeper saturation of azure. It’s the color appearing on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) jerseys.
4. Sky Blue
This shade of azure is very similar to baby blue. It’s one of the oldest azure undertones, with the first recorded reference found in a book by Nicolas de Nicolay authored in 1585.
5. Celtic Blue
Also known as ‘flas celtig’ in Welsh, this is a water-like tone of azure that resembles glass. It’s considerably more brilliant than most shades of azure.
How Did Azure Get Its Name?
The azure color derives its name from the mineral lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli, also known simply as lapis, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock widely considered a precious gem.
The rock has been prized for its brilliant color since antiquity. Mining of this precious mineral can be traced as far back as the 7th millennium BC. Most of the mining activities were concentrated in Badakhshan.
Note that the word lapis itself is Latin for ‘stone‘ while lāzulī is the genitive variation of the Medieval Latin word lāzulum, which further derived from the Persian word ‘lāžaward’ (spelled as لاژورد.). Lāžaward is the Persian word for the lapis lazuli rock as well as the name of a place where the precious stone was mined.
Lapis lazuli became incredibly popular for its color. The color came to be known as ‘azur’ in French, ‘azul’ in Spanish and Portuguese, ‘azzurro’ in Italian, and ‘azur’ and ‘azuriu’ in Romanian. The Polish called it ‘lazur,’ the Catalans ‘atzur,’ and the Hungarians ‘azúr.’
The English version of ‘azure’ was adopted from the French version. The first recorded use of the word as a color name appears in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1374 work titled ‘Troilus and Criseyde.’
What Is The Origin and History Of Azure?
The sun is approximately 4.603 billion years old while the earth’s age is an estimated 4.543 billion years. Considering how the azure color is formed in the atmosphere, it would be logical to say that the natural pigment is nearly as old as the earth itself.
However, human interest in azure (both as a color and precious mineral) began around the 7th millennium BC. Even so, the color did not gain significant attention until it appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ of 1374. In his works, Chaucer refers to “a broche, gold and asure,” which translates to ‘a brooch, gold and azure.’
The use of the word “azure” with respect to color continued to spread due to the practice of heraldry, where azure represents the blue color.
Increased mining of the mineral azurite from the 12th century also helped further the popularity of the azure color. This deep-blue copper mineral was the most significant blue pigment in European painting throughout much of the Middle Ages and Renaissance period.
The fact that the azurite name sounds similar to the azure color explains the mineral’s influence in popularizing the color.
Meaning and Symbolism of Azure
Since azure is a shade of blue, the color derives much of its meaning from blue. Blue is one of the three primary colors, along with red and yellow.
The color represents stability, independence, and freedom. Shades of blue, such as azure, would perfectly suit the logos or flags of autonomous entities. These colors are effective at bringing out the joy of true emancipation.
Adding azure to your interior décor is an ingenious way to calm your nerves after a hectic day at work. In addition to calming the senses, cool colors like azure also remind us of nature. These shades are particularly reminiscent of the cloudless sky and pristine ocean waters.
The color would also suit travel and vacation themes. Other potential applications of azure in this regard would be as the background color for advertisements relating to drinking water, including television commercials and water bottle labeling.
Blue also resonates with peace and serenity. It’s not surprising that azure evokes the tranquility of the firmament on a clear, cloudless day.
It can also stimulate inspiration and creativity. That’s due to its association with blue, which is one of the colors of nature. Note that Mother Nature is the greatest inspiration source of all time. Gazing at the clear sky might help unlock creativity as ideas literally begin flowing in ‘out of the blue.’
Azure connotes reliability. Sending a gift wrapped in the color can be a discreet way of reminding the recipient of your unwavering loyalty towards them. The gift would create a greater impact if it includes flowers, such as the azure-blue sage (botanically known as Salvia azurea). There can never be a more effective gesture of trust and commitment.
The pigment is associated with spirituality. The color would add a magic touch to supernatural themes. It can refresh the soul while also opening the mind up to experiences beyond the physical world.
On the other side, azure is a nostalgic color that prefers to dwell in the past. Due to its lighter shade, the color may also be associated with weakness and emotional fragility. Other negative qualities often linked to azure include depression, manipulation, infidelity, and self-righteousness.
How to Make Azure Color
Azure is fairly easy to prepare. All you need is blue and green paint, as well as a color mixing bowl and palette knife.
i. Add two parts of blue and one part of green to a color mixing bowl.
ii. Stir the mixture until you can no longer see any streaks of the individual colors.
The outcome will be a basic cyan color.
iii. Add a little more blue to the cyan to obtain azure.
iv. Make adjustments as required.
Adding more green would make the azure warmer while more blue would darken the hue.
Azure is the official color of the clear, cloudless sky. This shade of blue prefers natural light and can pair with most other pigments to create stunning visuals. It evokes all manner of positive feelings, including peace, creativity, and friendship. No wonder the color is a top choice by artists and designers.