Difference Between Royal Blue and Navy Blue Color

Blue is one of the most common colors, whether in nature, art, or daily life. And as a result, there are hundreds of different shades of blue. But do you know the difference between royal blue and navy blue color?

difference between royal blue and navy blue color

We see blue in the sky, the sea, and bodies of water, including lakes and rivers. It’s all around us, and it’s a beautiful color with many variations. 

Blue evokes calm, tranquil feelings and creates a peaceful atmosphere. It’s associated with serenity and even security and stability. So, it’s a popular color in interior design, artwork, and much more. 

But knowing the difference between shades of blue can be pretty confusing. In this article, I’ll focus on two of the most common blue colors – navy blue and royal blue. 

How can you tell these two shades of blue apart? And what is the difference between royal blue and navy blue? Read on to find out! 

What is royal blue?

royal blue vs navy
Royal blue hex code: #4169e1

Royal blue is an important shade of blue with links to English royalty (as the name suggests). 

This color is a rich, mid-blue that is bright and colorful. It’s a beautiful shade and one well worth knowing about. The hex code for royal blue is #4169e1

Royal blue is an intense or saturated color. That means the color really pops and doesn’t look pale or washed out.

History of the Royal Blue Color

So, where does the name ‘royal blue’ come from? It dates back to the 17th century; historians believe the term came into use around 1810. 

This color was invented for Queen Charlotte of England. There was a competition to create a dress for the queen, and the result was a dress in royal blue. 

At the time, this was an entirely new shade and a great honor for the Queen. And so, people also referred to this color as Queen blue. However, this name died out as time passed. 

But an interesting fact is that this color has changed over time. So, the royal blue used in the 17th century was a lot darker than the shade we know today. 

Royal blue also has another link with the British monarchy. If you look at the Union Jack flag, you’ll see that it also features the royal blue color. So, the famous blue of Britain’s ‘red, white, and blue’ is this royal blue shade. 

What is navy blue?

navy blue and royal blue
Navy blue hex code: #000080

Navy blue is a very dark shade of blue. The hex code for navy blue is #000080, which hints at just how dark the color is. 

The proof is that the hex code for black is #000000. As you can see, there is very little difference between these two colors, both in the shade and in their hex codes. 

It’s also similar to a handful of other blue shades. These include Persian blue, midnight blue, and admiral blue. But of all these, navy blue is the most common and well-known. 

Navy blue has connotations of security, confidence, and masculinity. One of the reasons for this is that navy blue is a common choice for uniforms, e.g., for the navy. And that’s where this shade gets its name. So, let’s take a closer look at the history of this color.

History of Navy Blue

Navy blue has an even older history than royal blue, dating back to the 16th century. 

difference between royal and navy blue

The British navy chose this color for their uniforms, and it’s been used for their navy ever since. Many other countries’ navies also adopted this color, following Britain’s lead.

And so, this color became known as navy blue. This term first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary as far back as 1813. So, navy blue is a well-established concept that’s been around for hundreds of years.

Color Theory – A Quick Introduction 

Before we dive any further, let’s briefly look at color theory. Knowing a few key terms will help you understand what sets royal blue and navy blue apart. 

Firstly, we need to look at the definitions of hue, chroma, and value. 

A hue is the color family, for example, yellow, red, or blue. It can also be a gradation of the color blue within this color family. 

Chroma relates to the intensity of the color – how bright or muted it is. One definition of chroma is the purity of the color – i.e., not having gray or white mixed in. 

And finally, the value means lightness or darkness when it refers to colors. 

Difference Between Royal Blue and Navy Blue

So, how do royal blue and navy blue compare (and differ?). 

royal blue navy blue

When we compare the hue of navy and royal blue, they’re quite similar. But they differ a lot in value and chroma. 

When it comes to the value, navy blue is considerably darker than royal blue. Navy blue is such a dark color that it can even look black sometimes. If you’re interested, you can learn more about how color value works here.

And as for the chroma, royal blue is a more intense shade than navy blue. That’s the most crucial difference between these two colors. It all comes down to the brightness of these blue shades.

In simple terms, royal blue is a lighter and brighter shade than navy blue. And in contrast, navy is a darker, more subdued shade with less vibrancy. 

Similarities Between Navy and Royal Blue

While royal blue and navy blue have some clear differences, they are also alike in many ways. 

For example, these mid to dark blues are popular, well-known shades. They carry authority and significance, and each has a long history. 

Navy and royal blue can each evoke elegance, sophistication, and confidence. 

These are strong colors that will make a big impact. And they’re also common choices for wedding color schemes. 

Should you choose royal blue or navy blue?

So, if you’re looking for a bright, eye-catching color, I would recommend going for royal blue. It’s more cheerful and uplifting than navy. 

But navy blue could be the right choice if you want a more formal color. It’s ideal if you want to convey power and confidence in a logo, painting, or design color palette. 

Navy blue is also one of the strongest choices of all the dark blue shades. It will stand out and create a nice contrast with other colors.

The downside of navy blue is that it can be too dark and foreboding. It’s certainly not a cheerful shade and has a certain gravity and seriousness. 

difference between royal blue and navy blue color

Difference Between Royal Blue and Navy Blue Color: The Wrap Up

If you were confused between royal blue and navy blue, you should be able to tell them apart by now! 

Navy is a very dark shade of blue. It’s a muted, deep color often used for uniforms and to convey security and authority. 

In contrast, royal blue is a brighter shade of blue with more intensity. Although it’s not as bright as cerulean or turquoise, it’s a vibrant mid-blue. 

So, now you’ll have a better idea of which color is which. That’s helpful if you’re choosing the right color blue to paint with (or for a logo, interior design, etc.). 

Understanding these shades will help you to achieve the effect you want. 

Which color do you prefer, royal blue or navy blue? Let me know in the comments below! 

Go ahead and share this article on social media to clear up the confusion between these two colors! And followus for more color theory and creative content. 

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