The Color ‘Blue’: Use the Hidden Meaning for Art & Design

Color allows us to create our own individuality and flare. For years, interior decorators, graphic designers, photographers, advertisers and artists have been using color to enhance our environments. Research shows that color can play a major role in our overall state of well-being.

In art and design, color can be used to evoke a certain mood, create a message or evoke a strong response in the viewer. Creatives can use the positive or negative attributes of color in our works to subliminally send a message.

This post is part of a popular in-depth article I wrote last year entitled, “Use the Hidden Meaning of Color in Your Art.” There was so much useful information in the original post that I broke it down into smaller individual posts about ‘color’. Over the past few weeks we have learned about the colors red and yellow. This week, I will share what I have learned about the cool color, blue.


But first, a little review:

Blue is a primary color…

Blue is a cool color…

Cool colors:

  • Cool colors are based on blue undertones and bring to mind a calming effect.
  • These colors range from cold icy blues to warm and nurturing Mediterranean turquoises.
  • Many decorators use these colors in spas, bathrooms and other quiet environments.
  • Blues lower heart rate and reduces appetite.
  • Blue represents dependability.
  • It is commonly worn in uniforms and business suits.
  • Dark blue is generally used by more authoritative figures including police officers and our Presidents!
  • Blue and greens are used in advertising medicines and health care products.

BLUE: The color blue has a feeling of of cool expansiveness and openness. We think of the sea and sky. Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring, blue is an introspective color. Blue is often used in bedrooms and spas.

With its close association to water, blue is a popular color for bathrooms and kitchens. Because of it’s tranquility, blue is used in doctors’ offices, and reception rooms.

Blue is often a formal color which represents wisdom and steady character.  Blue is a universally soothing color. Throughout the years, most Presidents wear blue during important speaches!

Many superheros wear blue! It is considered a masculine color and the choice of corporate America. But, the quiet character and poetic subtlety of blue can also be associated with melancholy and resignation.

Remember Pablo Picasso’s infamous “Blue Period” of art? After the sudden death of good friend, Carlos Casagemas, Picasso’s personal trauma found expression in a series of deeply sentimental paintings which comprise his “Blue Period”.  Picasso himself recalled, “I started painting in blue when I learned of Casagemas’s death”.

What about singing the blues?

Etymology: The blues music is based on a  type of music called ‘the blues’. Blues music expresses the frustration, loneliness and bad luck of folks in trouble. The music is slow and melancholy in which songs often are about difficulties or bad luck.


Please check out the original article & my sources, Use the Hidden Meaning of Color in Your Art.

…here are some great articles:

How to Choose the Right Paint Brush for the Art Technique

Tips for Painting Water and Reflections

The Best of 2010: Articles on Art, Marketing & Social Media

You might also like to read an article I wrote last year to help artists:

Feeling Blue in the Studio?

Also, I really enjoyed reading the book: Color Style: How to Identify the Colors that are Right for Your Home … Read more about the blues: How to Sing the Blues | or

Thanks, Lori 🙂


  1. Wendy Edelson August 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Have you ever read “On being Blue” by William Gass?
    An enchanting excursion into the Universe of Blue….maybe my favorite book on the planet.
    Thank you, W

    • Lori McNee August 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Wendy. No, I have not read that book, but appreciate the recommendation. I am always on the lookout for a good read! Thanks for visiting and sharing…
      My best – Lori

  2. Tunisha Bell August 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I’m a firm believer in color,and how it affects your state of mind. When I was younger,I went through a gamut of emotional changes. As I matured and reflected on those years,I began to see a pattern form,by way of my choice in clothes and colors. That experience taught me to recognize when I have an issue that needs to be discussed or dealt with. Strangely enough,blue now happens to be my favorite color!

    • Lori McNee August 24, 2010 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Tunisha, thanks for sharing your interesting story with us. There are times when I can really associate my feelings with the colors around me. When I was little ‘red’ restaurants made me tense…now I know why!

      Thanks again, Lori 🙂

  3. jani ahmed August 13, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Hi am an artist bt i wana learn more sklls of painting to improve my art plz gave me th tips hw to make a perfect canvas.

    • Lori McNee August 13, 2010 at 11:49 am

      Hi Jani – thank you for visiting this blog. Your question is very broad…can you help me understand what you are asking??? How to prepare the canvas, or how to paint on the canvas? What medium do you use? Let me know and I will try and help.
      Thanks, Lori 🙂

  4. Christian Logan August 17, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Nice blog. I came across it via twitter. Being an artist and designer, I know how colors come to effect us and our moods in general. I love reading things about colors and art, and your blog is the perfect place to be. You have yourself a new follower 🙂

    • Lori McNee August 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Hey Christian…thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am glad you are finding some useful information here on this site. If you have something you wish to share, please send it in! Thanks for the following and hope to see you again.
      Best – Lori

  5. Glenn Ferrell January 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    We have also used blue (contrasted with red) for safety and/or protection in info-graphics. I understand that blue candles are also believed (superstition/candle magic) to be associated with protection.

    • Lori McNee January 20, 2011 at 1:34 am

      Good additions, Glenn. Thanks for taking time to share your knowledge. I really appreciate it!


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