What Color Do Blue and Black Make When Mixed?

Blue and black shape pattern

Blue and black are two dark colors that are often paired with light, vibrant colors in designs. Yet, what would happen if they were mixed together? Let’s take a look at what blue and black create if they’re combined in different mediums.

What Color Do Blue and Black Make in Paint?

If you mix blue and black paint together, you’ll get dark blue, also commonly known as navy blue. That’s because mixing black with a color creates a shade, which is a darker version of that color. The more black paint you use in the mixture, the darker the result will be.

Understanding the RYB Color Model

RYB color wheel illustrated

Most people are familiar with the RYB model because it’s taught in early art classes. It’s a subtractive color model, meaning that wavelengths are removed when colors are combined. It’s most commonly used for physical art mediums like paints and pastels.

On this color wheel, the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. You can mix combinations of those colors together to make green, purple, and orange, which are the secondary colors. Mixing a primary and secondary color together can make a tertiary color, such as blue-green or red-orange. If you mix all three primary colors together, you’ll usually get some type of brown.

Creating Tints and Shades

If you want to make a color lighter or darker, you can make tints or shades of it. So, if you don’t like the type of color that blue and black create, then here are some tips for how to alter it.

Making Lighter Blue

A tint is a lighter version of a color, which is made by adding white to the mixture. You’ll need to add a lot of white to dark blue to notice a significant difference. Another way to make your blue and black mixture not look as dark is to only mix a little bit of black with blue instead of a 50/50 combination.

Making Darker Blue

Navy blue is already a dark color, so you probably won’t need it much darker. Yet, if you do, you’ll make a shade. A shade is created by adding black to a color. Dark blue is already a shade of blue, but the more black you add, the darker the result will be.

Dark Blue Color Meaning

Dark blue glitter background

Since dark blue is a shade of blue, it can have all the same meanings as other types of blue. However, it also has some unique meanings. Dark blue often symbolizes knowledge, power, and professionalism.

Overall, blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, and responsibility. It’s known for having calming, relaxing, and supportive effects. Some other positive meanings of blue include confidence, peace, and honesty. Yet, it could also mean passive, predictable, and depressed. The exact meaning depends on the type of blue and the context.

Can You Create Blue and Black Paint?

While it might not seem like it, you can create blue and black paint out of other paints. Blue is a primary color, so the RYB color model doesn’t show you how to make it. Yet, if you look at the CMYK color model, which is used for ink, cyan and magenta make blue.

There are several ways to create black paint. In some cases, you might be able to make black with red, yellow, and blue. The primary colors mixed together usually make brown, but if you choose deeper versions, such as ultramarine blue, crimson red, and yellow ochre, you’ll be more likely to get black. Another method to try is adding blue to brown.

If you run out of blue and black paint, it will likely be easier to buy more paint from the store instead of trying to create these unique mixtures.

What Color Do Blue and Black Make in Lights?

Blue light on a black background

Mixing blue and black together in lights is not possible because lights can’t be the color black. The RGB color model is used for mixing lights, but it’s a form of additive color mixing that doesn’t have black in it. Instead, it uses red, green, and blue as the primary colors, and if those colors are mixed together at full brightness, they make white.

When people refer to “black lights,” they’re talking about ultraviolet lights that give off a purple glow. So the fact of the matter is, you cannot mix blue and black lights to make a new color.

Why Can Lights Not Be Black?

Black is the absence of detectable light, so it’s not a color in lights. Most colors can be made on the RGB color model by combining red, green, and blue at different brightnesses, but the only way to make black is by putting all three colors at zero percent brightness. So, making black lights is the equivalent of turning off the lights. That’s why you can’t mix black with other colored lights.

However, even though black isn’t a color that exists on the visible light spectrum, it’s still a color we can see. When we look at colors, we need our eyes to perceive them but also our brains to provide context. So, even though colors like black and brown aren’t part of the rainbow, we can see them because our brains provide context for our eyes. Those colors do exist, but they aren’t colors of light.

How Do Our Eyes Perceive Color?

Visible light wavelengths and colors

When our eyes perceive color, it’s a complicated process. The color an object appears as represents the wavelengths that reflect off the object. So, when light shines on a yellow banana, colors like red, blue, and violet will be absorbed into the object, while yellow will reflect off it. That makes the banana appear yellow to you.

This process works because the colors on the visible light spectrum have different wavelengths. On one end of the spectrum, violet has short, frequent wavelengths. On the other side of the spectrum, red has longer, less frequent wavelengths. So, those wavelengths help determine which colors reflect off the object.

We have cone and rod cells inside our eyes, which help us see color. The cone cells help us in bright light, which occurs for most of the day. Rod cells are more sensitive, so they can help you see colors in dim lighting. Together, these photosensors allow you to see colors under most lighting conditions.

Does Black Exist on the CMYK Color Model?

The CMYK color model is used for printing. It’s a form of subtractive mixing that’s the opposite of the RGB color model because the primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow, while the secondary colors are red, green, and blue. However, even though these color models might seem somewhat similar, black does exist in CMYK.

In fact, the “K” in CMYK represents black. It stands for “key,” as in “key color.” Black is the key color for CMYK, which is why you’ll see it included with printer ink, along with the three primary colors. So, black exists in all the color models except for RGB.

Colors mixed in CMYK often have similar results to RYB. If you mix blue and black, you’ll still get a shade of blue that’s similar to navy blue.

Designing with Blue and Black

Blue, black, and white room design

Blue and black are both darker colors that can give off a serious or somber tone when used together. So it’s not recommended to use only the two of them because it could give off unpleasant vibes. A way to make the design more appealing is to use lighter versions of blue or to add different tints of blue in addition to the darker blue.

Another way to make a blue and black design more interesting is to add another color to the mix. White is a neutral color that works well with blue and black. Some other options are gold, turquoise, red, or brown. If you’re designing a room, it’s best to limit the amount of black you use to prevent it from overpowering the other colors.

Black can go with just about any color, so you don’t have to use it with blue. However, it’s always good to include some lighter colors like white in the design to balance it out a bit. Blue also goes well with a wide range of colors on its own. Some colors to consider using with blue are green, purple, pink, or peach. If you’re making a logo or design, you can use blue’s complementary color (orange) to help words and icons stand out more.

Mixing with the Color Black Can Be Difficult

Black isn’t an ideal color for mixing. In paint and ink, it can easily overpower other colors, but in lights, it doesn’t exist at all. Black is the absence of color in the RGB color model. So, the color black can only be used in small amounts using subtractive mixing to create shades of a color. Otherwise, it’s not an ideal color for mixing.

Mixing with a wide variety of colors is a great way to understand color theory. Not all mixtures will give you a pleasing result, but that’s okay. Experimenting with color combinations could help you discover the perfect color for your art.