Blue reveals more than it conceals. This blue, RAL 240 40 40, opens the endless expanse of our senses, feelings and knowledge. – The sense of floating high above the clouds was a popular metaphor for the Romantics, just as the blue flower expressed a yearning for pure love and inner truth. – The colour blue is the historic representation of spiritual enlightenment on the one hand and a logic-centred existential search for truth on the other.
The euphoria attached to the colour blue traces its roots back through history, reaching its lyrical zenith in the works of Goethe, Schiller, von Runge and Caspar David Friedrich amongst others, and continuing unbroken to this day. Interestingly, the colour blue was not named as such until very late on. The ancient Romans had no word for blue and some languages still use the words for green and blue interchangeably. By contrast, the reasons for our delight in the colour blue are miles away from those of earlier times. They have multiplied and found a much broader audience.
Pure blue as a soundtrack for the here and now.
It belongs in the mountains as an escort into solitude and the close affinity of mountain peak, sun-filled alpine meadow and coolly shaded gorge. Our own holiday experiences, literary works and moving pictures stimulate the audio-visual, flute-accompanied experience of blue. It is different to the experience offered by the harpist. The sound of the harp seems to linger longer in the listener’s ears and whole chords seem to fill the distance with blue as they swell and then subside.
Pure blue - the colour of more favourable personality traits?
The definition of blue as the colour of “positive character traits”, as is widely claimed in psychology, is one that can certainly be called into question.
First of all, a fairly stable 40 percent of people claim blue as their favourite colour, not least because the range of colour nuances grouped under this heading is at least as wide as that for red or green. Blue is often described as the colour with the “lowest emotional value”, which leads us to categorise people who like blue as logical, cold and calculating. At the same time, we frequently assume that they lack social skills. Banks, airlines and hotels that use blue in their logos often awaken the expectation of nothing more than detached professionalism. A prominent example is the rebranding exercise carried out by a well-known European airline to replace its professional-looking midnight blue and warm melon yellow corporate livery with a uniform shade of cool blue.
Advantages for blue experts?
When people are asked to name their favourite colour, it is striking that the reasons given for choosing blue (and light blue) are based on their own, highly favourable interpretation; one that imbues blue with the qualities of intelligence, an ability to cope with all that life throws at them and social distance.
It may be that we find the idealised interpretation particularly auspicious when we declare ourselves to be blue experts. What is certain is that the various shades of blue that previously signalled trustworthiness have been pushed out of the limelight in recent years. At the same time, red and green nuances have strengthened their position and, together, they have replaced blue in the top spot. This is all the more surprising because shades of blue are often associated with calm, peace and security. Blue also encourages us to think outside the box and access our creativity.
The reason why pure light blue is still a beautiful colour!
Blue possesses a kind of eternal appeal that combines the sublimity of the heavens with the precariousness of earth-bound existence. Goethe spoke of blue as “beautiful nothingness”, and Yves Klein described it as “the invisible becoming visible”. For them both, blue represented a world of freedom, vastness and an unobtrusive, objective distance.
In the private sphere, blue separates the world into a divisive model of deference and faux-friendly harmony: on the one hand, the dark blue trouser suit or navy blue pinstripe and on the other, the light blue of the bus driver’s shirt or the blue work overalls worn by manual labourers.
But despite this, pure shades of light blue, as demonstrated by RAL 240 40 40 and its extended colour family, have a vivid capacity to promote harmony. The colour possesses a soaring power that fascinates us. It is a watchful, reserved colour stimulus that simultaneously reflects a strength of purpose that we perceive as both pleasant and comforting.
What is it about amiable pure light blue that is so captivating?
The further white moves towards blue, the purer and fresher it appears to be. A tried and tested trick used by Parisian laundry houses to achieve the brightest, most beautiful white is to use so-called optical brighteners. They employ blue pigments to turn white into an innocent tulle blue like 210 90 05.
The blue of Children’s soft blue RAL 220 80 15 is not far removed from Mary blue RAL 210 40 38. It is surprising to us today that pale blue and light blue nuances are historic signifiers of the feminine, as can be seen in works by classical Greek and Roman sculptors. During the Renaissance, right through to the Rococo period, light blue and mid-blue were colours that were reserved for women, while men frequently wore pink. At the height of the Baroque period, the gentlemen in their splendid pink finery were every bit the match for the ladies in light blue.
For the common people - colour but only in small doses
By contrast, folk art and handicrafts such as knitting, crochet, weaving, pottery etc. were mostly left to women. Their colour palette was significantly more varied and, in part, more vibrant than that of men, although feudal laws up until the late Middle Ages condemned practitioners to choose subdued colours. Colourful borders, embroidery and small, decorative metallic accents were only allowed on high days and feast days.
Blue for boys, an invention from the last century
Hand-colourised, black and white photographs depicting our grandparents and great-grandparents as babies show that boys then still wore white, lace-trimmed robes.
Later on, baby boy blue and light blue were the most fashionable colours for both boys and girls. Around the turn of the 19th century, the German Kaiser discovered a love of sailing ships and the blue of the navy. Sailor suits and dresses for children were all the rage.
Pure, fresh blue sets us free
Blood and soil colours stood in stark contrast to the clear colours of the sky at the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries. Shades of red, brown and gold belonged to the past for many reasons. New ideas were invigorating the economy, science, arts and culture. – Blue is the colour of freedom and equality. Progress in the new age was being driven forward by scientists, philosophers, doctors, writers and artists. The nations assuming responsibility for the future clothed themselves in colours like blue, white, green and red; turquoise and yellow appeared less frequently.
Pure light blue / blue in language and idiom
Step into the blue, into the freedom of imagination, the uncertainty of the ending and the doubt of the beginning. – Blue sky thinking means nothing less than developing an unconstrained, not yet logically ordered idea that gives others the possibility of contributing to the brainstorming process. A speculative opening can best be described with a phrase like: “Let’s throw some ideas out there and see what sticks” or – when you “Take a chance on blue”.
It could also serve as the introduction to the unveiling of one’s own ideas, or the results of a private brainstorming session.
The origins of the term blue blood can also be traced back to the Middle Ages along with the German colloquial expressions for being drunk “blau sein” and skiving off work “blau machen”. While the peasants toiled in the fields under the scorching sun, their aristocratic overlords protected their white skin indoors so that the blue veins beneath were clearly visible. And, while the cloth dyers were sleeping off their hangovers and waiting for their freshly-dyed fabric to dry, they could take Mondays off or “blau machen”. They had nothing to do but wait for the colour of the fabric to change from the yellow of the dye vat to an aristocratic blue.
Pure light blue is seldom seen
As the colour of the sky and water, pure light blue still occupies a position in architecture as one of the least tangible and most insubstantial colours. As a consequence, it is still rarely seen in the world of architecture, despite the fact that it has lost much of its symbolic meaning and is available in every imaginable shade and nuance. The visual impact of blue in both glass and rendered facades seems to reinforce its insubstantiality and its relationship with a certain spiritual symbolism and fleeting profundity.