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Is it teal blue or teal green?

Is it teal blue or teal green?

Teal is a color that falls somewhere between green and blue on the color spectrum. While there is some debate around whether teal is more blue or more green, the truth is that teal contains elements of both colors.

The Origins of Teal

The first recorded use of the word “teal” to describe a blue-green color was in the early 1700s. It was derived from the common teal, a type of duck found in Eurasia that has blue-green feathers on its head and wings. So from the very beginning, the name of the color teal has encompassed shades that lean both blue and green.

Over time, the precise definition of teal has varied slightly. In general, however, teal refers to colors that are more blue-green than pure green and more green-blue than pure blue. When people say a color is teal, they usually mean it has noticeable amounts of both blue and green in it.

The Teal Color Spectrum

Teal encompasses a range of shades from deep aqua blues to seafoam greens. On the blue side, teal can look quite similar to a cyan or azure blue. On the green side, it may overlap with colors like seafoam green and aquamarine.

Here are some examples of colors typically considered teal:

Teal (#008080)
Cadet Blue (#5F9EA0)
Dark Cyan (#008B8B)
Dark Turquoise (#00CED1)
Medium Turquoise (#48D1CC)
Light Sea Green (#20B2AA)

As you can see, teal covers a wide gamut from deeper, richer blues to soft seafoam greens. So is teal more blue or more green? The answer is…it depends on the specific shade!

Is Teal Considered a Blue or Green?

When classifying colors, teal generally falls into the blue family. The main color wheel includes primary colors red, yellow, and blue. Green is considered a secondary color blending yellow and blue.

So while teal leans towards green, it originates from blue. This means many color taxonomy systems categorize teal as a shade of blue.

In the traditional RYB (red, yellow, blue) color model, teal is considered a blue. In printing and design, teal is also grouped with other blues.

Likewise, on most color pickers, teal sits alongside other blues and blue-greens. For example, on Adobe Photoshop, teal appears as a shade in the blue spectrum.

When Teal Looks More Green

The most common teal colors like teal blue or teal green contain about an equal balance of blue and green pigments. However, teal can take on a more greenish cast when it has more yellow added to the mix.

On the green side of the teal spectrum, colors may appear closer to aquamarine or turquoise. These shades have more green than blue in them even if they are still considered “teal.”

Here are some examples of teal colors that lean more green:

Aquamarine (#7FFFD4)
Medium Aquamarine (#66CDAA)
Sea Green (#458B74)

While these colors are technically still teals, they appear much greener due to having a stronger yellow pigmentation.

When Teal Looks More Blue

On the other side of the spectrum, some teal shades contain less yellow and lean closer to a true blue. These deeper, cooler teals have more blue pigment in them compared to green.

Here are some teal colors that appear more blue than green:

Cool Teal (#36648B)
Blue Teal (#1560BD)
Deep Teal (#0B5394)

While still in the teal family, these colors are perceived as more blue due to having less green and yellow undertones.

Teal vs. Turquoise

Turquoise is another color that overlaps significantly with teal. Like teal, turquoise can range from greenish to bluish hues.

In general, turquoise refers to more green-leaning shades while teal refers to more blue-leaning shades. Turquoise usually has noticeably more green in it than blue. However, there is still ambiguity, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Here is a quick comparison of teal vs. turquoise:

Teal Turquoise
More blue More green
Cooler tones Warmer tones
Azure tones Aqua tones
Primary color Secondary color

There is no definitive line between teal and turquoise. Generally, though, turquoise has more obvious green tones compared to teal.

Teal vs. Cyan

Like turquoise, cyan is quite similar to teal and falls in the blue-green color range. Cyan sits between blue and green on the visible color spectrum.

The main difference between cyan and teal comes down to brightness. Cyan is a brighter, more saturated color closer to a true primary blue. Teal is slightly dimmer and has more grayness to it.

Here’s a quick teal vs. cyan comparison:

Teal Cyan
More blue-green Pure blue
Dim, soft Bright, vivid
Cool undertones Neutral undertones
Lower saturation Higher saturation

While similar, cyan packs more of a pure blue punch compared to the muted blue-green teal.


So, is teal more blue or green? The verdict is: it’s a bit of both! Teal is a unique color incorporating elements of blue and green.

While technically a shade of blue, most teal colors contain noticeable green tones. The balance of blue vs. green pigment impacts whether a teal appears more cool or warm.

Turquoise and cyan are the other colors closest to teal on the color wheel. But teal still stands out for its soft, blue-green ambiguity.

At the end of the day, the beauty of teal is in its subtlety. Teal manages to straddle the line between blue and green for a refreshing, aquatic color.