Royal Blue vs. Navy Blue: Understanding the Differences

Two popular shades of blue in fashion, interior design, and branding are royal blue and navy blue. Despite appearing similar to the untrained eye, there are distinct differences between the two colors. In this blog post, we will explore royal blue vs. navy blue and help you understand the key differences between these two shades of blue, enabling you to make informed decisions when it comes to color matching and design choices.

The origins of royal blue can be traced back to the early 1800s in England. According to historical records, the color was created during a competition to make a dress for Queen Charlotte, who reigned between 1744 and 1818. The winning dress was made of bright blue fabric, and it was said to be the Queen’s favorite color. The term “royal blue” was first coined during this competition, and it was mainly associated with imperialist and royal families at that time. It was sometimes called “queen blue” or “imperial blue.”

Navy blue, on the other hand, was named after the dark blue color worn by officers in the British Royal Navy. The color was first used in the 18th century, and it quickly became associated with the British Navy. The color was chosen because it was easy to maintain and hide stains. The navy blue uniform became a symbol of the British Navy, and it was eventually adopted by other navies around the world.

Today, both colors are widely used in fashion, design, and branding.

Royal blue is a color that is often associated with nobility, luxury, and power. It is a shade of blue that is often used in branding, as it is associated with trust, reliability, and confidence. According to color psychology, royal blue is also associated with calmness and tranquility, making it a popular choice for interior design and fashion.

Navy blue is a darker shade of blue that is often associated with authority, stability, and power. It is also associated with trust and reliability, making it a popular choice for corporate branding. According to color psychology, navy blue is also associated with confidence and calmness, making it a popular choice for fashion and interior design.

In terms of nature, blue is often associated with the sky and the ocean. This makes it a popular choice for brands that want to convey a sense of tranquility and reliability. Blue is also associated with loyalty, which makes it a popular choice for political campaigns and sports teams.

Royal Blue, a bright and bold shade of blue with a slight purple undertone, derives its name from its association with royalty and elegance. It owes its hue to the precise mixture of blue and purple pigments.

This vibrant and intense color commands attention due to its high saturation, making it an excellent choice as an accent color in various contexts. When combined with black or white, it produces a sophisticated and dramatic appearance. Additionally, it complements gold or silver, resulting in a regal and luxurious look.

The hex code for Royal Blue is #4169E1, and its RGB values are (65, 105, 225).

People often associate Navy Blue with the sea and maritime activities, as well as uniforms and formal wear. Unlike Royal Blue, Navy Blue is a darker and more subdued shade of blue, resembling a dark blue or indigo. This hue is achieved by adding black to the primary blue color.

To explore various uses of Navy Blue in your art projects, you can refer to our handy guide on how to make navy blue paint.

Navy Blue possesses a dark and rich quality with lower saturation compared to Royal Blue. Its intensity is more muted, making it a versatile base color for a range of applications. Combining it with white or ivory creates a classic and timeless appearance. For a bolder and unexpected look, it pairs well with hot pink or chartreuse.

The hex code for Navy Blue is #000080, and its RGB values are (0, 0, 128). 

Royal blue and navy blue are used differently due to the variations in their tone and undertones. Fashion and design frequently utilize royal blue to achieve a bold and luxurious look. This color proves to be versatile as it blends well with other colors, allowing for a wide range of color combinations. Clothing designers often employ royal blue for special occasions like weddings and proms.

Conversely, navy blue finds its place in professional settings, where it creates an air of sophistication and professionalism. Its neutral tone makes it suitable for a variety of color schemes, making it a popular choice in graphic design and branding. In addition to that, navy blue is commonly adopted for uniforms, especially in naval and pilot offices and other professional environments.

Colors that go well with royal blue include white, gold, silver, pink, and yellow. These colors complement the brightness of royal blue and help to balance the overall look.

When it comes to interior design, color plays a crucial role in setting the mood and tone of a room. Royal Blue and Navy Blue play distinct roles in interior design.

Royal blue is a bold and vibrant shade of blue that can add a touch of luxury and elegance to any room. It is often used as an accent color in interior design, as it can be overpowering if used in large quantities.

One way to incorporate royal blue into a room is through accessories such as throw pillows or curtains. This can add a pop of color to a neutral room and create a cohesive look. Another way to use royal blue is by pairing it with metallic accents such as gold or silver. This can create a glamorous and sophisticated look.

Room decorated with royal blue lamps, royal blue cushions and bedding.

Navy blue is a classic and timeless shade of blue that can add a sense of calm and tranquility to a room. It is a versatile color that can be used in a variety of ways in interior design.

One popular way to use navy blue is by painting an accent wall. This can create a focal point in a room and add depth and dimension. Navy blue can also be used in upholstery such as sofas or chairs. This can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

When using navy blue in interior design, it is important to balance it with other colors and textures. Pairing navy blue with lighter shades such as white or cream can create a fresh and airy look. Adding texture through materials such as wood or jute can create a warm and inviting feel.

Off-white vase with fake flowers inside, sat on a light blue surface in front of a navy blue accent wall.

What is the difference between royal blue and navy blue?

Royal blue is a brighter and more vibrant shade of blue, while navy blue is a deeper and more muted shade. The difference between these two colors can be seen in the way they react to light. Navy blue is slightly darker and has more of a grayish tint, while royal blue is brighter with hints of azure and cobalt.

What colors complement royal blue and navy blue?

For royal blue, colors that complement it include white, gold, silver, pink, and yellow. For navy blue, colors that complement it include white, beige, gold, silver, and red.

Can you wear royal blue and navy blue together?

Yes, royal blue and navy blue can be worn together. However, it is important to balance the colors. For example, a navy blue suit can be paired with a royal blue tie, or a royal blue dress can be paired with navy blue shoes.

Which shade of blue is darker: royal blue or navy blue?

Navy blue is darker than royal blue. Navy blue is a dark blue color that is almost black, while royal blue is a brighter and more vibrant shade of blue.

Is cobalt blue darker than royal blue and navy blue?

Cobalt blue is similar in brightness to royal blue but has more of a greenish tint. It is not darker than navy blue, which is a deeper and more muted shade of blue.

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