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I'm a graphic designer but I've a weak point. I quite don't know the names of these colors.

In my office and with friends, I usually call each of them green. But I've noticed more and more my colleagues and friends call them blue instead. So it makes me think and seems quite logical to ponder about it.

So, I've observed common words like green/blue/light green for almost all of such colors. Like I said before, personally I've observed blue and green more and green or light green is what I call them. Here are the main colors that concern me:

  1. The color of my old avatar:

    enter image description here

  2. The color of this logo

    enter image description here

  3. Teal[1]

  4. Turquoise[1]

  5. Cyan[1]


The last 3 have a bit different problem. I have heard these names but not sure what they are really. I mean how to identify them how to differentiate or categorize them.

If this question isn't clear, please comment.


[1] - Confused about it what is it, so can't find a suitable example.

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    Call them what you like - most people won't know the difference. Check out any DIY store's paint section - one will call it Teal, another Seascape, a third Peacock. Names really don't define absolute colours, just point them in a vague direction. That's why we have standards, so we can avoid the vagaries of trying to name them all. – Tetsujin May 15 at 18:48
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    Seafoam, ocean blue, coral blue, ... color names are exceptionally subjective and there's no science to any of it. This is a huge reason why matching systems such as Pantone exist -- so everyone can reference the same color without some "trendy" name that's currently in use. – Scott May 15 at 19:10
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    I’d call both the first ones light shades of teal. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 15 at 21:35
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    Not so impressed. – Vikas May 16 at 4:26
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    Call it Fred if you like. FWIW, different cultures may divide up the color spectrum differently. In the US, when the light turns green, we go. In Japan, the light turns blue ... pretty much the same color as here, but Japanese see it as blue. What they call green (or midori) is a green with much more yellow in it, more the color of new rice sprouts. – Steve Rindsberg May 17 at 3:11
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Colors don't have exact names. There is no such thing as salmon or dusty teal. These are descriptions. As with descriptions you can have any number of them for a said color. Its a bit like descriptions of wines or house listings. None of these can be taken as absolute.

To illustrate this points read the xkcd color survey results. This should give you a understanding that:

  1. There are only very few universally recognized names
  2. The base colors cover almost the entire spectrum
  3. Some of the time names are conflicting.

Stick to less names. There's nothing fancy in color names. But there is fancy stuff in marketing speech.

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    It's true that color names these days can be seen as marketing speech. But in earlier days they had more meaning as they came from the plants, animals and minerals the colors were made from or resembled. Like plum, rose, beige, turquoise, carmine red, cobalt blue, cadmium yellow etc. – Wolff May 16 at 10:09
  • @Wolff bit again not name of color but name of how it is derived. On other words a description – joojaa May 16 at 10:17
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    I often get confused between cyan, turquoise and teal. This is also a reason I asked question @Wolff – Vikas May 16 at 10:17
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    @vikas - teal comes from the name of a species of duck which has a specific shade of green plumage on its head and wings. it's generally more to the green side of the spectrum, and it's also fairly dark. Nothing like these IMHO. – Billy Kerr May 16 at 12:04
  • @BillyKerr: And just the make things even more messy, the blue-green colors in the feathers of teals and other ducks are iridescent structural colors whose exact hue and intensity change depending on the viewing angle. There's no way to really reproduce the iridescence of such colors using any single pigment or RGB color value, and even paintings or photographs of actual bird plumage can only be static approximations. – Ilmari Karonen May 26 at 12:22

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