Navy vs royal blue acrylic colors

Royal Blue Vs Navy Blue: In-depth Comparison Guide

Blue is one of the most common colors in interior and exterior decorations. Its non-threatening nature makes it usable in nearly any application. Moreover, blue is a natural, conservative color.

But the color blue isn’t uniform. It varies widely from the extremely light arctic, sapphire, and sky blue to darker shades like navy, denim, and berry blue.

Today, we want to focus on the differences between the two most common blue shades – royal blue and navy blue.

How do they compare, and when should you use each? Let’s find out.

Royal Blue vs Navy Blue: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between royal blue vs navy blue is in their shade. Navy blue is darker, while royal blue is lighter. Another key difference between the two is symbolism. Royal blue signifies loyalty, trust, and superiority. Meanwhile, navy blue signifies unity, authority, and confidence.

What Is Royal Blue Color

Royal Blue Color

Royal blue is a bright hue of the color blue. It’s a deep, vibrant shade that feels powerful without overwhelming a space or outfit.

Royal blue also has a sense of opulence, though not too much. Thus it grabs attention without overpowering other colors around it.

Some professionals call it “true blue” because it doesn’t lean into green or purple. Instead, royal blue sits firmly in the blue range.

The History of royal blue

The term “royal blue” was first coined in the early 1800s in England. History records show it was created during a competition to make a dress for King George III, who reigned between 1760 and 1820.

Thus, royal blue was mainly associated with imperialist and royal families at that time. It was sometimes called “queen blue” or “imperial blue.”

However, the meaning of royal blue has changed significantly over time.

Indeed, the shade has also evolved over the years. Initially a darker, almost navy-like shade, it’s now much brighter.

Nonetheless, royal blue is still associated with British history. For instance, the color features prominently in the United Kingdom’s flag, the Union Jack.

It is also popular in royal interiors.

The meaning of royal blue

Royal blue is symbolically associated with royalty due to its link to the British crown.

Therefore, it’s a popular choice for celebratory suits and dresses. It’s also a common choice for bridesmaid dresses.

Psychologically, royal blue is associated with reliability and trust. For instance, the blue walls in commercial spaces are intended to sell the brand as friendly and trustworthy.

Royal blue may also convey calm and tranquility, similar to the sky and deep waters. Strangely, royal blue is also associated with depression.

This is derived from the phrase “feeling blue.” Therefore, you should be careful how you use the color.

Royal blue pros

  • Vibrant and versatile 
  • Calming and soothing
  • Creates the feeling of importance 

Royal blue cons 

  • It can be overwhelming in a large space

How to use royal blue

Its extreme versatility means royal blue is found nearly everywhere. Business enterprises love it because it sends a message of trust and reliability.

Thus it’s a common feature in logos and brand colors. Similarly, individuals adore it for its sense of importance or “royalty.”

Thus, it’s a popular choice for ceremonial suits and wedding decorations.

Finally, you can use royal blue to add drama to interior decor. Or you can complement it with neutral tones for the perfect interiors.

What Colors Go with the Color Royal Blue?  Royal blue matches hot pink, yellow, ivory, gold, gray and silver. (We have a guide for you in case you are interested in what color to mix to make gold).

Royal Blue Alternatives: The best alternatives to royal blue are navy blue, regal blue, French blue, dark blue, and misty blue.

How to make royal blue

Mixing the color purple and blue creates a light violet. Adjusting the proportions of each color allows for different shades, perfect for artistic projects or for creating a soothing violet tone.

Adjust the royal blue combination until you achieve the desired richness and intensity.

What Is Navy Blue Color

Comparing Royal Blue Vs Navy Blue

Navy blue is a dark shade of the color blue. It’s a dark and blackened shade, typically close to black.

For instance, a navy blue dress has darker undertones than regular blue.

The darker shade is derived from indigo dye. Indigo is a natural dye extracted from plants. It gives dark blue an eclectic spin.

Navy blue vs indigo; navy blue is slightly darker than indigo, though indigo is more popular in interior decor.

(Explore further about indigo in our article –how to make indigo paint).

You can also read about the difference between indigo and violet.

The History of navy blue

Navy blue is associated with the British royal navy. It first came after the British navy wore navy-blue uniforms in the mid-1700s.

The beautiful color soon became popular, with interior designers and the apparel industry the biggest adopters.

The meaning of navy blue

Navy blue evokes the feeling of power and authority. This explains why many police departments’ uniforms have elements of navy blue.

It’s also a popular choice for official uniforms of the military, especially navy departments.

Besides the military and police forces, many businesses use navy blue to evoke feelings of responsibility.

Every professional wants to come across as an industry authority, and few colors convey that message better than navy blue.

Finally, navy blue is often considered a “conservative” color associated with tradition and stability.

Navy blue pros

  • It conveys the feeling of professionalism and authority
  • It’s very popular, rarely out of trend
  • It blends easily with common colors

Navy blue cons

  • It feels official, even in informal settings

How to use the color navy blue

Navy Blue combination has endless applications. For instance, it’s the go-to color for banks and insurance companies, conveying stability and tradition.

Similarly, it’s a common choice for men’s shirts and suits as it’s considered masculine and sophisticated.

Navy blue is also used to complement other colors. For instance, many interior designers use it alongside bright colors such as yellow and red to create a sharp but dynamic and interesting contrast.

What Colors Go with Navy Blue: The color navy blue perfectly complements orange, white, neutrals, and mustard yellow. It also pairs harmoniously with the blue and orange color combination and sky blue, red, and gold, offering a versatile and stylish palette.

Colors Similar to Navy Blue: Excellent alternatives to the navy blue color are sky blue, Egyptian blue, royal blue, and Persian blue.

How to make navy blue

To create navy blue, begin with a base of blue and gradually add small amounts of black to darken the shade.

Start by incorporating a small quantity of black and continue adding more until the desired depth of navy blue is achieved. Adjust the proportions as needed to achieve the desired hue.

Key Differences Between Royal Blue and Navy Blue Color

Let’s find out the main differences between Royal blue and navy blue now that we know little about them.

1. Description and brightness

The main difference between royal blue and navy blue is brightness. Royal blue is a moderate-intensity to high-intensity shade of color blue. Understanding what colors to mix to make royal blue gives you greater control over the shade.

So, it’s much lighter than navy blue and more comparable to sky blue, though sky blue is a tad lighter. On the other hand, navy blue is a dark blue shade.

It’s a low-intensity color but deep and rich. Thus, it’s more comparable to dark blue or midnight blue, though both are darker. 

2. Psychological effects

All blue colors are comforting and associated with calm and freedom. However, the different shades of blue have different meanings.

Royal blue symbolizes royalty and superiority. You can also use it to convey tranquility, dependability, and empathy.

On the other hand, navy blue symbolizes authority. This is easy to understand, primarily associated with the British Navy.

Thus, it also represents trust and stability, safety, and protection.

3. Associations

Both royal blue and navy blue are versatile colors. But they have different associations. Royal blue is mainly associated with celebratory settings.

For instance, it works perfectly for weddings and family reunions. It’s also perfect for parties. Meanwhile, navy blue is associated with serious or formal occasions.

For instance, it’s a common choice for uniforms, whether on airlines or in schools. Several police departments also wear navy blue because it shows authority.

4. Popularity

Blue is very popular, with a few studies showing it’s the most common color on Earth. However, between royal and navy blue, navy is more popular. 

The main reason for navy blue’s high popularity is its neutrality. The Navy blue coordinates well with nearly every color without overpowering or getting lost among the complementary colors.

In addition, it’s a formal color that’s very common on official occasions, from state functions to uniforms. 

5. History 

The history of royal blue dates back to the 1800s when King George III requested a color most suited for royal functions.

His designers came up with the bright yet bold blue shade, henceforth named royal blue.

Later, Prince Charlotte of Wales popularized the royal blue color when she adorned the color for her official portrait.

Meanwhile, navy blue dates back to 1748, when it was declared the official color of the British navy.

It was named “navy” blue to distinguish it from other blue shades, especially those within the armed forces. 

6. Uses 

Navy blue is primarily a fashion color. Consumers who love vibrant colors prefer royal blue over other blue shades.

So, it’s very common on informal occasions. For instance, you’ll most likely find royal blue at weddings and other crowd-pleasing occasions.

Royal blue is also a popular branding color, one of the most vibrant blue shades. Also, you’ll find it in hospitals as it promotes calm and relaxation. 

Meanwhile, navy blue is most common in formal settings. Therefore, you will likely find it in offices, schools, and business meetings.

So, if you wear blue during a business meeting, make it navy. 

7. Combinations 

Royal blue is a versatile color that blends well with many others colors, including other blue shades.

For instance, it pairs excellently with pink as they both have red undertones. Royal blue also pairs well with white, especially if you bring in a third neutral color, such as light gray.

Read also: what does red white and blue make?

Other colors that pair effortlessly with royal blue are yellow, teal, green, and red. Navy blue is just as easy to complement.

For instance, it complements brighter colors wonderfully, allowing them to pop. The beautiful landscape feature blue and green together, creating a serene and harmonious scene.

Moreover, it works well with coastal, classic, and contemporary colors. However, we recommend black-shaded complementary colors like hunter green, dusty purple, burgundy and maroon for the perfect blend.

Alternatively, consider mustard yellow, cherry red, or bright pink.

8. HEX and RGB code

The HEX code for royal blue is #416E1, while navy blue has a hex code of #000080.

Why do you need to know this? Because HEX codes are helpful if you’re a digital artist who spends most of their time on Adobe Creative Suite, 3D applications, and UX design.

It helps you easily identify hundreds of colors without struggling with the shades. 

Alternatively, you may use the RGB color codes. In this case, royal blue is represented by 65, 105, 225, while navy blue is 32, 42, 68. 

9. Versions

Royal blue has two extra versions, queen blue and imperial blue. Queen blue is a medium-toned version of royal blue.

It also has a more subdued effect. On the other hand, imperial blue is a darker shade of royal blue, much closer to navy blue.

Unfortunately, there are no versions of navy blue. It’s only one color, #000080. This helps eliminate confusion. 

Do Royal Blue Vs Navy Blue Match? 

Royal Blue Vs Navy Blue

Royal blue and navy blue look perfect when used as an analogous color combination.

There’s a common misconception that the two are interchangeable terms referring to the same color. But that’s not the case.

Navy blue is a much darker blue shade, while royal blue is a saturated shade of sky blue. So, you can pair the two. 

Cobalt Blue vs Royal Blue vs Navy Blue, What’s the Difference?

The main difference between royal blue, navy blue, and cobalt blue is color saturation. Royal blue is the brightest of the three, while navy blue is the darkest.

Meanwhile, cobalt blue lies somewhere between the two. It’s slightly darker than royal blue but lighter than navy blue. 

Royal Blue vs Navy Blue vs Sky Blue, What’s the Difference?

Royal, navy, and sky blue are different shades of blue. Sky blue mixture is the lightest, while navy blue is the darkest.

Meanwhile, royal blue lies between the two. Also, the three colors have different psychological meanings.

Navy blue is associated with authority and stability, royal blue with calm and tranquility, and sky blue with dreams and hope.


Is royal blue like dark blue?

No. Royal blue is not like dark blue. Royal blue is much lighter and more vibrant. Navy blue is a much better comparison if seeking a close alternative to dark blue. Meanwhile, royal blue is more comparable to sky blue but richer and bolder. So, if you’re wondering, you can’t use royal blue and dark blue interchangeably.

What blue is darker than navy blue?

There are at least four blue shades darker than navy blue. These are cetacean blue #001540, Oxford blue #001C57, dark midnight blue #00316E, and Maastricht blue #001B3A. However, midnight blue colors are the most common of the four. The other three are a little harder to come across.

Are dark blue and navy blue the same color?

Technically, no. Dark blue and navy blue isn’t the same color. Dark blue is a color type represented by the color code #00008B. It contains 54.5% blue and no red or green. Meanwhile, navy blue’s color code is 000080, which contains 50.2% blue with no red or green. Thus, dark blue is slightly darker than navy blue. However, both are dark shades of blue.

What color complements blue?

Orange complements blue on the color wheel. They are considered complementary colors, opposite each other on the spectrum, creating a visually striking contrast. When used together, orange and blue match well, enhancing each other’s vibrancy and making a powerful and eye-catching color combination in various applications.

Read: What colors make light blue?


Royal and navy blue are popular shades of the color blue. However, they differ in many ways, including history, brightness, and applications.

When to Use Royal Blue Color: We recommend royal blue for colorful occasions or informal decorations. For instance, it’s perfect for weddings, birthday celebrations, and parties.

When to Use Navy Blue Color: Navy blue is an excellent choice for creating a sense of elegance and depth in interior design or as a versatile base color in various applications.


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