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What color of blue is on the american flag?

The American flag is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Its iconic red, white, and blue design has stood as a representation of freedom and democracy for over 200 years. But while we can easily identify the flag, most people don’t know the specific details of its design – including what exact shade of blue is used.

History of the American Flag

The American flag was first designed in 1777, during the Revolutionary War. Up until that point, various militia groups and colonies had their own flags, but there was no unified national flag. The Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution in 1777, which stated:

“Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

This established the first official American flag – with 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies, and 13 stars representing those colonies as well. Over the following decades, new states were added to the union, and extra stars were added to the flag to represent them. But the original 13 red and white stripes have remained to this day.

The Color “Old Glory Blue”

While the Flag Resolution established the colors of the flag, it did not specify the exact shades to be used. Some early American flags ranged from lighter to darker blues. It wasn’t until the 20th century that a specific color was formally adopted.

In 1934, Old Glory Blue was established as the official blue color for government flags. This color was formulated by the Color Association of the United States based on samples of blue taken from historic American flags that were created around the time of the revolution. It is a rich, medium blue that leans slightly toward the darker side.

Old Glory Blue is still the official standard today. The specific shades are:

  • CMYK: 100-72-0-6
  • RGB: 0-39-127
  • Hex: #0027ff
  • Pantone: 286 C

These color codes ensure that any American flag produced will have a consistent, recognizable blue – no matter who manufactures it.

Blue in Other American Flags

While Old Glory Blue is the standard for the national flag, it is not necessarily used for other flags associated with the United States. For example:

  • The 13-star “Betsy Ross” flag uses a lighter blue than Old Glory Blue. This flag design predates the 1934 standardization.
  • State flags may use different shades of blue. The Texas state flag uses a medium dark blue, while the New Hampshire state flag uses a lighter robin’s egg blue.
  • Some cities and organizations also use their own shades of blue in flags that incorporate American iconography.

So Old Glory Blue is not universal – but it is reserved specifically for the actual American national flag.

Meaning Behind the Blue

The blue on the American flag has deeper meaning beyond just being a visible dye color. Here are some of the symbolic associations with the blue field:

  • Vigilance and justice – One of the commonly cited meanings is that blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
  • Unity – The single blue field unifies the whole flag, just as the states are unified under one nation.
  • Liberty – Going back to the revolution, the blue stood for liberty and freedom.
  • Sovereignty – The blue field overlooks the red stripes, asserting the federal government’s authority over the states.

So blue is not just a decorative color – it represents core American values and the establishment of the republic.

How to Reproduce the Blue

Individuals and organizations that wish to reproduce the American flag need to match the specific shade of Old Glory Blue. Here are some tips on getting the correct color:

  • Use the CMYK, RGB, or hex color codes listed above. These will provide the precise blue whether working digitally or with physical pigments.
  • Buy a physical Pantone swatch. The Pantone Matching System makes color reproduction consistent across different materials.
  • Look for flags labeled as compliant with the US Flag Code. This signals they have the right color blue.
  • Use color pickers to sample blue from digital images of American flags. This can provide a good visual match.

Matching this distinctive blue takes a bit more effort than using a generic “primary blue” – but it pays respect to the deep traditions of the American flag.

Other Blue Americana Colors

Beyond Old Glory Blue, there are a few other shades of blue associated with American history and culture:

Color Description
Colonial Blue Blue-gray color used in 18th century uniforms and apparel
Yankee Blue Deep blue used by Union soldiers in the Civil War
Air Force Blue The primary color of the Air Force uniform

While none of these are the specific blue of the flag, they evoke American patriotism and history in their own right.

The Distinctiveness of Old Glory Blue

Old Glory Blue is truly a one-of-a-kind color. Some key things that make it unique:

  • It’s much darker than primary blue. Most blue pigments are brighter and more saturated.
  • It has a subtly purplish tone. Other blues skew more green or grey.
  • It’s rich and intense while still being a cold, reserved color.
  • Its dark shade gives it vibrancy and flair.

These qualities make Old Glory Blue unlike any other blue. It has a stately yet captivating presence that has come to symbolize America.


The specific blue color of the American flag is known as Old Glory Blue. It was formulated in 1934 based on historical flag designs to create a standardized, official color. The blue field represents ideals like justice, unity, and liberty. Reproducing the exact shade of Old Glory Blue shows respect for the traditions and meaning behind the American flag.

So the next time you see the stars and stripes wave, you can appreciate not just a symbol of freedom but also the uniqueness of that rich, deep Old Glory Blue.