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What does royal blue mean in psychology?

What does royal blue mean in psychology?

The color royal blue has a rich symbolic meaning across many disciplines, including psychology. In psychology, color symbolism relates to how different colors evoke certain moods, feelings, and even behaviors in individuals. Royal blue specifically connotes attributes like trust, dignity, and intelligence. This article will explore the psychological implications behind the color royal blue, examining how it influences perceptions, emotions, and actions.

Background on Color Psychology

Before diving into royal blue, it’s helpful to understand some background on color psychology more broadly. The study of color symbolism and meaning goes back thousands of years to ancient cultures like Egypt, China, and Greece. These civilizations noticed how different hues evoked different emotional states and used color purposefully in art, architecture, and decoration.

Modern color psychology originated in the 19th century, particularly through the work of German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was one of the first to systematically study how color affects mood and feeling. Later researchers like Carl Jung and Max Lüscher built on these ideas and developed psychological assessments using color. Today, color psychology remains an active area of research, with implications for design, marketing, and even clinical practice.

Several general principles help explain color symbolism:

Color Psychological Meaning
Warm colors (red, orange, yellow) Energy, excitement, intensity
Cool colors (blue, purple, green) Calm, relaxation, serenity
Bright, saturated colors Drama, vitality, youthfulness
Soft, muted colors Subtlety, elegance, maturity

These broad brushstrokes help set the stage for understanding a specific hue like royal blue.

What is Royal Blue?

Before analyzing royal blue’s symbolic meaning, it’s helpful to define what color “royal blue” refers to. Royal blue is a deep, rich shade of azure blue that has a slightly purplish tint. It is classified as a medium to dark blue.

The first recorded use of “royal blue” as a color name in English was in 1810. It draws its name from being used in royal heraldry and by military regiments associated with monarchs. For example, the British Sovereign’s Escort wear uniforms of royal blue.

There are a few technical definitions of royal blue from color experts:

– Pantone – Pantone 19-4052 TPX is the Pantone color matching system number for royal blue. It has a hex code of #0038A8.

– CMYK – The CMYK values for royal blue are C:100 M:90 Y:0 K:0. This means 100% cyan ink, 90% magenta ink, 0% yellow ink, and 0% black ink.

– RGB – In the RGB color model, the code for royal blue is Red: 24, Green: 56, Blue: 168 (RGB decimal code 24, 56, 168).

So in summary, royal blue is a rich, slightly purplish medium blue. It is considered a “true,” saturated blue. This vivid blue has regal associations historically tied to European nobility and sovereignty.

Royal Blue Meaning in Psychology

Given its regal history and deep blue hue, what does royal blue symbolize psychologically? Key meanings associated with royal blue in psychology include:

Trust and Dependability

Darker blue shades like royal blue give an impression of trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity. Royal blue conveys reliability and dependability because of its association with authority figures like royalty. Police uniforms are often royal blue to signify their trustworthy role as civil protectors. Government officials also wear royal blue suits in many cultures to signal that they are there as dependable public servants. So royal blue taps into perceptions of responsibility and security.

Wisdom and Intelligence

Deeper shades of blue like royal blue represent knowledge and intelligence because they make people think about the sky and sea. Just as the vast sky holds the sun and stars, royal blue evokes a sense of infinity and depth. Similarly, the depths of the sea suggest profound secrets and mysteries. So psychologically, royal blue conjures feelings of wisdom, introspection, and discernment. It is an insightful, thoughtful color.

Dignity and Sophistication

Royal blue conveys dignity and sophistication as the color of royalty. Kings, queens, and princes have traditionally worn royal blue as a symbol of honor, wealth, and refinement. The rich purple undertones of royal blue add to this sophisticated impression, as purple has historically been associated with royalty, privilege, and ambition. Overall, royal blue represents authority, poise, and cultured sophistication.

Calm and Relaxation

As a deeper shade of blue, royal blue also taps into the intrinsic calming, peaceful effect of blue hues. Blue is known to lower heart rate and blood pressure because it has a pacifying, serene effect. Royal blue is associated with composure and relaxation. Deeper blues are thought to stimulate the release of calming hormones in the body. So royal blue can promote feelings of tranquility and relaxation.

Royal Blue Meaning
Trust and dependability
Wisdom and intelligence
Dignity and sophistication
Calmness and relaxation

Gender Differences

Some research indicates men and women may perceive royal blue slightly differently. In studies, both genders view royal blue as dignified and sophisticated. However, men are more likely to associate it with authority, while women more often view it as elegant and romantic.

This aligns with broader findings on gender differences in color psychology:

Men Women
View royal blue as authoritative View royal blue as refined
Link it to achievement Link it to charm
See it as assertive See it as graceful

So while royal blue implies sophistication for both genders, men are somewhat more prone to interpret it as commanding, while women see it as dignified.

Cultural Differences

Because color associations are learned, cultural differences also influence the meaning of royal blue. Two key distinctions:

Western vs. Eastern Cultures

– Western cultures connect royal blue to authority, privilege, and affluence because of its historical ties to European royalty.

– In Eastern cultures like China, royal blue is less associated with elitism. It is more widely embraced as symbolizing harmony, peace, and immortality.

Collectivist vs. Individualistic Cultures

– Collectivist cultures interpret royal blue more in terms of loyalty, duty, and contributing to the social order.

– Individualistic cultures focus on how royal blue represents confidence, ambition, and personal achievement.

So cultural background shapes whether royal blue symbolizes qualities like power, prosperity, balance, obligation, or actualization.


Understanding the psychology behind royal blue allows it to be applied effectively in design, branding, and other domains.

Branding & Marketing

Royal blue is an ideal branding color for companies wanting to convey:

– Trustworthiness – Financial, medical, security industries

– Responsibility – Government agencies, social organizations

– Professionalism – Law firms, consultancies, academia

– Luxury – Jewelry, designer fashion, premium cars

Specific brands using royal blue: IBM, Volvo, Ford, JP Morgan, Tiffany & Co., Du Pont

Web Design

In web design, royal blue:

– Promotes feelings of dependability for important pages – account registration, checkout

– Provides a sense of security on financial transaction interfaces

– Communicates professionalism for corporate websites

– Balances energetic colors like orange when accented judiciously

Architecture & Decor

Royal blue stimulates productivity and focus when painted in offices. It also encourages relaxation and de-stressing in bedrooms and spas. Royal blue adds a touch of luxury and visual interest when incorporated through accent pieces like throw pillows, rugs, and artwork.

Therapy & Healing

Royal blue has therapeutic benefits:

– Decreases heart rate and blood pressure

– Alleviates stress through natural sedation

– Promotes inner reflection and stable moods

It is calming and centering. Hospitals, counseling centers, and mental health facilities use royal blue to create therapeutic spaces.


Royal blue has rich connotations in color psychology tied to its regal heritage. This shade of luminous, deep blue signifies trust, intelligence, dignity, sophistication, and tranquility. Royal blue promotes feelings of dependability and relaxation. Cultural and gender associations also influence royal blue’s meaning, linking it to confidence, refinement, loyalty, prosperity, and harmony. When applied thoughtfully, royal blue can enhance credibility, professionalism, luxury, calm, and healing.