Teal blue and turquoise are often used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct colors with some key differences. Both teal and turquoise fall in the blue-green color family, so they are closely related shades that can appear similar depending on lighting and context.
Defining Teal Blue
Teal is a medium blue-green color that is defined as a dark cyan. The name comes from the common teal bird, whose feathers are edged with this striking blue-green hue. Teal sits between green and blue on the color wheel, making it a bold accent color that combines the calming properties of blue with the renewal of green.
Turquoise is a slightly greener shade than teal. It was originally named after the semi-precious turquoise gemstone, which has been prized since ancient times for its striking blue-green color. Turquoise contains more green than teal, though it is still considered a blue-green hue rather than a true green.
Comparing Teal and Turquoise
While teal and turquoise are very close in appearance, there are some subtle differences between the two shades:
– Teal has a blue-leaning hue, sitting closer to blue than green on the color wheel. Turquoise has a distinctly greener hue.
– Teal is slightly darker and less bright than turquoise. Turquoise has a brighter, more vivid appearance.
– Teal can take on cooler blue undertones, while turquoise has warmer green undertones.
– Teal has a more serious, sophisticated look. Turquoise feels more casual, youthful, and tropical.
Comparing Teal and Turquoise Hex Codes
The hex color codes for teal blue and turquoise provide another way to compare the shades:
This shows that turquoise (#40E0D0) has higher values for green and blue than teal (#008080), making it both greener and brighter. Teal has more balanced ratios of blue to green.
Teal vs Turquoise in Design
In design, teal and turquoise are used in similar ways as accent colors that provide a refreshing pop of color. However, there are some contextual differences:
– More versatile – works in serious, professional settings or for bold accents
– Pairs well with deeper shades like navy or slate gray
– Gives a cooler, more modern look
– Feels beachy, tropical, and casual
– Works well in youthful, vibrant settings
– Pairs nicely with warm colors like yellow, coral, or salmon
– Gives a lively, energetic look
There are many rich shades within the teal and turquoise color ranges. Here are some of the most popular:
– Teal blue – The true teal shade, medium-dark blue-green.
– Dark teal – Deeper and darker teal with a sophisticated look.
– Petrol teal – Grayish teal named after the petrol fuel color.
– Teal green – A brighter, greener teal.
– Turquoise blue – The true turquoise, slightly greener than teal.
– Celeste – Pale, sky-blue toned turquoise.
– Tiffany Blue – Vivid robin’s egg blue named after Tiffany & Co.
– Persian green – Deeper turquoise with strong green undertones.
How Lighting Affects Teal vs. Turquoise
The perceived color of teal and turquoise can shift under different lighting conditions:
– In daylight, the greens come forward in both colors.
– Under incandescent lighting, the blues are intensified, making teal and turquoise appear more blue.
– Fluorescent lighting boosts the green shades. Teal may look greener under fluorescents.
This is because our eyes adjust to the different light color balances. Always view paint swatches and fabric samples under natural light to get the truest color.
Teal and Turquoise Gemstones
Both teal and turquoise gemstones can be found in nature:
– Made of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate minerals
– Varies from sky blue to blue-green
– Found in arid regions like the American Southwest
– Used since ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica for jewelry and ritual objects
– Emerald – Deep greenish-blue beryl
– Amazonite – Pale blue-green microcline feldspar
– Smithsonite – Blue-green zinc carbonate
– Chrysocolla – Vivid blue-green copper stone
Teal and Turquoise Dyes
Synthetic dyes allow teal and turquoise colors across media like fabrics, plastics, and printing inks. Common types include:
– Phthalocyanine dyes – Intense stable blue-green colors
– Acid dyes – Water-soluble anionic dyes with bright turquoise tones
– Direct dyes – Bind directly to fabrics like cotton and nylon
– Vat dyes – Insoluble pigments that bind to cellulosic fibers
Proper dye selection and application result in vivid, colorfast teal and turquoise shades.
Teal and Turquoise Paint Colors
Both teal and turquoise paint colors are available from all major paint brands. For example:
Teal Paint Colors
– Behr Teal Zeal – Rich blue-green with subtle jewel tones
– Benjamin Moore Rain Teal – Vivid medium teal
– Sherwin-Williams Online Teal – Darker computer teal
Turquoise Paint Colors
– Behr Bikini Bottom – Vibrant aqua based on a Spongebob character
– Benjamin Moore Celestial Turquoise – Soft sky blue turquoise
– Sherwin-Williams Caribbean – Intense blue-green similar to tropical waters
Painting with teal or turquoise is a great way to add a pop of color. Use multiple coats for best opacity and vibrancy.
Notable Uses of Teal and Turquoise
Teal and turquoise shades are widely used across industries:
– Many websites and technology company logos use teal for its futuristic appeal.
– The Seattle Seahawks and Charlotte Hornets use teal as official team colors.
– The Ford Model T was offered in Teal Blue starting in the 1920s.
– Tiffany & Co. jewelry boxes are an iconic turquoise. Many brands use teal accents.
– Teal and turquoise add a punch of color to modern, tropical, or bohemian decors.
Teal and Turquoise in Culture
These shades have cultural significance worldwide:
– In the Middle East, turquoise symbolizes wisdom, tranquility, and protection.
– Buddhist cultures associate turquoise with the Throat Chakra and improved communication.
– Teal and turquoise are quintessential colors of the 1990s and Y2K eras in pop culture.
– In America, teal awareness ribbons raise ovarian cancer awareness. Turquoise ribbons represent multiple sclerosis.
While teal and turquoise are often confused, they are distinct shades with unique histories, meanings, and design applications. Teal trends deeper and cooler, while turquoise is brighter with a green glow. Both remain eternally fresh accent colors that add vibrancy wherever they are used. When differentiating teal vs. turquoise, consider the lighting, intended use, and desired emotion. With an discerning eye, designers can truly unlock the beauty of both shades.