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Cyan (#00FFFF)

In this 1889 dictionary, cyan-blue is defined as the blue-green color corresponding to wavelengths from 487 to 505 nm, corresponding to what is today called cyan.

Cyan (pronounced /ˈsaɪæn/;[1] from Greek: κύανoς (transliterated: kýanos), meaning "blue") may be used as the name of any of a number of colors in the blue/green range of the spectrum. In reference to the visible spectrum cyan is used to refer to the color obtained by mixing equal amounts of green and blue light or the removal of red from white light. As such, cyan is the complement of red in RGB and CMYK color models: cyan pigments absorb red light.

Cyan is also called aqua or blue-green, and was previously known as "cyan blue".[2]

Some shades of color close to cyan in the cyan color range are baby blue, teal, turquoise, electric blue and aquamarine.


Electric cyan vs. process cyan

Electric cyan (web color aqua)

Cyan (additive secondary)
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #00FFFF
RGBB (r, g, b) (0, 255, 255)
HSV (h, s, v) (180°, 100%, 100%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

The vivid cyan that is seen on an electronic display device (shown at right) is also referred to as electric cyan to distinguish it from the less vivid turquoise blue-like process cyan used in CMYK color printing (shown below). (Note: while the color is defined by definite RGB values, the display of the color will vary depending on the absolute color space used and the nature of the physical display device, e.g. computer monitor, and if this page is printed it is likely that the color shown will be far from representative.)

The web color aqua is an alias for electric cyan, that is, it is exactly the same color shown here as electric cyan.

To reproduce electric cyan in inks, it is necessary to add some white ink to the printer's cyan below, so when it is reproduced in printing, it is not a primary subtractive color. It is called aqua (a name in use since 1598) because it is a color commonly associated with water, such as the appearance of the water at a tropical beach.[3]

Process cyan (pigment cyan) (printer's cyan)

Cyan (subtractive primary)
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #00B7EB
RGBB (r, g, b) (0, 183, 235)
HSV (h, s, v) (193°, 100%, 92[4]%)
Source CMYK[5]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Cyan is also one of the common inks used in four-color printing, along with magenta, yellow, and black; this set of colors is referred to as CMYK.

While both the additive secondary and the subtractive primary are called cyan, they can be substantially different from one another. Cyan printing ink can be more saturated or less saturated than the RGB secondary cyan, depending on what RGB color space and ink are considered.

Process cyan is not an RGB color, and there is no fixed conversion from CMYK primaries to RGB. Different formulations are used for printer's ink, so there can be variations in the printed color that is pure cyan ink. A typical formulation of process cyan is shown in the color box at right.

Variations of cyan

Light cyan

Light Cyan
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #E0FFFF
RGBB (r, g, b) (224, 255, 255)
HSV (h, s, v) (180°, 97%, 97%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

At right is displayed the web color light cyan.

Light sea green

Light Sea Green
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #20B2AA
RGBB (r, g, b) (32, 178, 170)
HSV (h, s, v) (175°, 40%, 75%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Displayed at right is the web color light sea green.

Dark cyan

Dark Cyan
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #008B8B
RGBB (r, g, b) (0, 139, 139)
HSV (h, s, v) (180°, 24%, 100%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Displayed at the right is the web color dark cyan.

In nature

  • Pure water is nearly colorless. However, it does absorb slightly more red light than blue, giving large volumes of water a bluish tint; increased scattering of blue light due to fine particles in the water shifts the blue color toward green, for a typically cyan net color.[6]
  • Cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) are an important link in the food chain.
  • Cyanide derives its name from Prussian blue, a blue pigment containing the cyanide ion.

In human culture


  • Cyan colored tiles are often used to pave swimming pools to make the water within them seem more inviting to swim in, by making the cyan color of their water seem more intensely colored.


Computer games/video games



  • A silverless dye track used for soundtracks on 35mm film stock. Red light readers are required to read cyan soundtracks.[1].

Interior design and industrial design


  • Cyanosis is an abnormal blueness of the skin, usually a sign of poor oxygen intake. i.e the patient is "cyanotic".



  • Cyan is the name of a character in the Norwegian comic strip Nemi.


See also


  1. ^ Cyan definition on
  2. ^ J. Arthur H. Hatt (1908). The Colorist: Designed to Correct the Commonly Held Theory that Red, Yellow, and Blue are the Primary Colors and to Supply the Much Needed Easy Method of Determining Color Harmony. D. Van Nostrand Company. 
  3. ^ Maerz and Paul The Dictionary of Color 1930 (see under Aqua in Index, Page 189)
  4. ^ Using HSL color space#Conversion from RGB to HSL or HSV, v=247/255
  5. ^ Tintbooks - Get Accurate CMYK Color Results For Your Printing Projects CMYK color tintbook:
  6. ^ Craig F. Bohren (2001). Clouds in a Glass of Beer: Simple Experiments in Atmospheric Physics. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0486417387. 
  7. ^ Mike Ware (1999). Cyanotype: the history, science and art of photographic printing in Prussian blue. NMSI Trading Ltd. ISBN 1900747073.,M1. 

Redirecting to Cyan

Simple English

This box shows the color blue-green.

Blue-green is a color that is a deep tone of cyan.

On the old fashioned, now obsolete but still occasionally used red-yellow-blue pigment color wheel (in which red, yellow, and blue were regarded as the primary colors and orange, green, and violet were regarded as the secondary colors), blue-green was a tertiary color between blue and green on the red-yellow-blue pigment color wheel. The other tertiary colors on a red-yellow-blue (RYB) color wheel were called red-violet, blue-violet, yellow-green, yellow-orange, and red-orange.

The RYB color wheel is still often used to teach color to children.

Meaning of blue-green

  • Blue-green, like the color cyan, represents cool calmness and peace because it can be the color of water.

Tones of blue-green color comparison chart

  • Electra (Hex: #96DED1) (RGB: 150, 222, 209)
  • Electric Blue (Hex: #7DF9FF) (RGB: 125, 249, 255)
  • Cyan (web color Aqua) (Electric Cyan) (Hex: #00FFFF) (RGB: 0, 255, 255)
  • Turquoise Blue (Hex: #00FFEF) (RGB: 0, 255, 239)
  • Bright Turquoise (Hex: #08E8DE) (RGB: 8, 232, 222)
  • Turquoise (web color) (Hex: #30D5C8) (RGB: 48, 213, 200)
  • Capri (web color "Deep Sky Blue") (Hex: #00BFFF) (RGB: 0, 191, 255)
  • Process Cyan (Pigment Cyan) (Printer's Cyan) (Deep Aqua) (Hex: #00B7EB) (RGB: 0, 180, 247)
  • Bright Cerulean (Crayola Cerulean) (Hex: #02A4D3) (RGB: 2, 164, 211)
  • Deep Turquoise (web color "Dark Turquoise") (Hex: #00CED1) (RGB: 0, 206, 209)
  • Robin Egg Blue (Hex: #00CCCC) (RGB: 0, 204, 204)
  • Light Teal Blue (Crayola Teal Blue) (Hex: #18A7B5) (RGB: 24, 167, 181)
  • Dark Cyan (web color) (Hex: #008B8B) (RGB: 0, 139, 139)
  • Teal (web color) (Hex: #008080) (RGB: 0, 128, 128)
  • BLUE-GREEN (Crayola) (Hex: #0D98BA) (RGB: 13, 152, 186)
  • Bondi Blue (Hex: #0095B6) (RGB: 0, 149, 182)
  • Cerulean (Hex: #007BA7) (RGB: 0, 123, 167)
  • Teal Blue (Hex: #367588) (RGB: 54, 117, 136)

ColorsList of colors
Cyan Magenta Black Gray Silver White
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
Gold Olive Purple Navy Brown Pink

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