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Is marine and navy blue the same color?


Marine and navy blue are two shades of blue that are quite similar but have some distinct differences. Both are dark blues, but marine tends to have a greener tone while navy leans more purple. There is often confusion over whether these two colors are the same or just different names for the same shade. This article will examine the definitions, appearances, uses, and comparisons of marine and navy blue to determine if they are in fact identical colors.

Definitions of Marine and Navy Blue

To understand if marine and navy are the same, we first need to look at how each color is defined.

Marine Blue

Marine blue is a dark blue-green color. It is meant to resemble the deep blue-green color of the ocean. Some specific defining characteristics of marine blue are:

– Hex code: #042E60
– RGB values: R:4, G:46, B:96
– CMYK values: C:95, M:70, Y:25, K:35

So in technical terms, marine blue contains a higher percentage of green compared to navy blue.

Navy Blue

Navy blue got its name because it is the color used in navies around the world. Some defining features of navy blue are:

– Hex code: #000080
– RGB values: R:0, G:0, B:128
– CMYK values: C:100, M:90, Y:0, K:50

Compared to marine blue, navy has no green values and more blue and purple pigment.

Appearance of Marine and Navy Blue

Despite having slightly different compositions, marine and navy blue can look very similar to the eye. Here are some details on the appearance of each color:

Marine Blue

– Deep, dark blue tone
– Hints of green and teal undertones
– Brightness around 20-30%
– Often has a matte, muted finish

Navy Blue

– Very dark midnight blue shade
– Subtle hints of purple rather than green
– Brightness around 15-25%
– Usually has a solid, uniform appearance

So at a quick glance, marine and navy blue may seem interchangeable. But upon closer inspection, small differences in hue and finish become apparent. Navy leans slightly more purple while marine has subtle green/teal undertones.

Uses of Marine and Navy Blue

Context can also help differentiate marine and navy blue. Here are some of the common uses and associations with each color:

Marine Blue Uses

– Military or nautical uniforms
– Business suits
– Interior design accents
– Sports team colors (Miami Dolphins, New York Mets)

Navy Blue Uses

– Military, police, and other uniform colors
– Formal business wear
– Evening attire like tuxedos
– Associated with conservatism and solemnity

So marine blue is more versatile for casual, business, or decorative uses. Navy has traditionally formal and solemn connotations.

Direct Comparisons

Looking at marine and navy blue side-by-side makes their subtle differences more evident. Here are some direct visual comparisons:

Color Swatches

Marine Blue Navy Blue

The marine blue is distinctly greener than the more purplish navy.

Similar Shades

When matched up to similar colors, marine tends to be more teal and navy more purple:

Marine Blue Cadet Blue
Navy Blue Indigo

Different Objects

Comparing marine and navy blue objects also shows the color variance:

Blue green shirt Dark purplish blue shirt
Marine Blue Shirt Navy Blue Shirt

So side-by-side, marine and navy reveal themselves to be distinct shades after all.

When Marine and Navy Blue Overlap

Despite having differences, there are certain product colors that blur the lines between marine and navy:

– Many military dress uniforms come in very similar shades of marine corps blue and navy blue.

– Certain crayon/marker sets include both a marine blue and navy blue that look almost identical.

– Cheap dye techniques may fail to reproduce the subtle hue differences between marine and navy.

– On a small product image online, the colors can appear interchangeable.

So in certain contexts where visual accuracy is not crucial, marine and navy may serve as de facto identical colors. But upon close examination, true marine and navy shades have recognizable differences.


In summary, marine and navy blue are distinct colors that happen to be very closely related. Marine blue has a green-teal tint while navy leans purple. The colors have overlapping uses but differ in their exact appearance and connotations. Side-by-side, swatches and objects in marine and navy showcase subtle variations. So while the two colors are not identical, they are easy to confuse at a quick glance. Their similarities explain why marine and navy are sometimes treated as interchangeable despite technical differences in hue and composition. But upon closer inspection, marine and navy blue reveal themselves to be distinct shades.