What Color Do Brown and Blue Make When Mixed?

Blue and brown triangle pattern

Brown and blue is an unusual color combination that you might not have considered mixing. Yet, the results of this mixture may surprise you.

Mixing brown and blue might not always work out, depending on the medium you use. This post will discuss the color combination in different mediums to see when it can and can’t be done.

What Color Do Brown and Blue Make in Paint?

If you mix brown and blue paint, you’ll likely end up with a dark blue color. However, this result can vary slightly depending on the type of brown and blue you select.

No matter what blue you use, the result will end up looking a little darker or muddier after being mixed with brown. In some cases, it might even have a hint of purple in it. It’s a unique mixture, but it’s probably not one that’ll be used often.

Understanding the RYB Color Model

RYB color model diagram with names and groups of colors

The RYB color model uses the color wheel most people learned in early art classes. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue, and when combinations of those colors are mixed, they can create the other colors. If equal amounts of red, yellow, and blue are mixed together, they’ll make brown. So, while it’s unlikely that you’d use brown to mix with other colors, it’s still possible.

Creating Lighter and Darker Colors

Even if you don’t like how the mixture of brown and blue turns out, you can adjust it to better fit your needs. Here are some tips for making a color lighter or darker by mixing tints and shades of it.

Mixing Tints

Tints are lighter versions of a color. So, if you want to lighten the dark blue color a bit, you can add white to it. White is a light color that’s easily drowned out by other paints, so you might need to add a lot of it before you’ll notice a significant change.

Mixing Shades

On the other hand, shades are darker versions of a color. Since a mixture of brown and blue paint is usually dark to begin with, you likely won’t need to worry about this. Yet, if you want it to appear even darker, you can add a hint of black to the mix. A little black paint can go a long way, so only use it sparingly.

Dark Blue Color Meaning

Dark blue brick wall pattern

Overall, the color blue is a symbol of security, trust, and loyalty. It gives off feelings of protection, support, and relaxation. While it can have many positive associations like peace and confidence, it can also have negative attributes like passive and predictable. However, that is just general color symbolism. Specific types of blue can have their own unique meanings.

Dark blue, like the color brown and blue make, is usually a symbol of knowledge, power, integrity, and professionalism. So, it’s a bold color that many people see as a sign of intelligence and maturity.

Can You Mix Paints to Make Brown and Blue?

If you run out of brown and blue paint, you might be able to recreate those colors. Since blue is a primary color, it’s difficult to make it with paint. According to the CMYK color model, which is used for printer ink, cyan and magenta can mix together to create blue. However, those colors are less common in paint, so it might be easier to buy blue paint instead.

Luckily, brown is a much easier color to make. The most common way to mix brown is by using an equal amount of red, yellow, and blue paint. You can also get types of brown by mixing complementary colors on the RYB color wheel. For example, blue and orange or red and green make brown.

What Color Do Brown and Blue Make in Lights?

Bright light on brown background

While most colors can be used to create new colors in lights, you won’t get anything when you mix brown and blue. That’s because the color brown doesn’t exist in the RGB color model, which is used for mixing lights.

The RGB color model is made of colors on the visible light spectrum. The primary colors are red, green, and blue, and when those colors all mix together, they create white. The colors can be adjusted by dimming or brightening the existing lights, but there’s no way to make brown light using that method.

Why Do Brown Lights Not Exist?

If you look at the visible light spectrum, you might notice that it has all the colors of the rainbow, but not brown. In fact, the chances of you ever seeing a brown light is very slim. That’s because brown light doesn’t exist naturally, and any light resembling brown is actually orange that looks darker.

Lights use the RGB color model instead of the RYB color model. So, when you mix the three primary colors together on this color wheel, you get white instead of brown. Brown is nowhere to be seen on the RGB color model, and you can’t make tints and shades of colors like you can with physical art mediums.

In painting, there are lots of ways to make brown. One way is by making a darker version of orange. However, the only way to make orange darker in lights is by dimming it, which only makes the light fainter rather than changing its color.

When we see brown objects, it’s not because brown light is being reflected off them. Instead, it might be reflecting a dimmer orange light than other things near it. Many colors don’t exist as reflected lights, and we only see them because of how our brain perceives them. For these reasons, you’ll rarely see brown used in neon signs outside of businesses.

How Do Our Eyes Perceive Color?

Visible light spectrum overview

The best way to understand colored lights is to learn how our eyes perceive color. When we look at an object, our eyes see the wavelengths that are reflecting off that object. Each color on the visible light spectrum has different wavelengths. On one end of the spectrum, violet has short, frequent wavelengths, while red is on the other end with much longer wavelengths.

For example, if we look at a ripe banana, the wavelengths of all the colors except yellow will be absorbed into the object. Yellow will reflect off it, showing us that the banana is yellow. Since there are no brown wavelengths on the spectrum, you’re actually just seeing a darker orange. Our eyes might only be able to see the colors of the rainbow, but our brains can better interpret what colors we’re seeing, which is how we perceive brown. So, looking at brown with lights is all about context for your brain.

Our eyes use cone and rod cells to perceive the colors that reflect toward us. Cones function well in bright light, but rods are more sensitive and allow us to see colors in dim light. With these two types of cells working together, we can perceive all the colors in the world.

Does Brown Exist in the CMYK Color Model?

CMYK is a color model that’s the opposite of the RGB color model. It has cyan, magenta, and yellow as the primary colors, while red, green, and blue are the secondary colors. However, even though it seems similar to the RGB color model, brown does exist in it.

This color model uses a form of subtractive mixing like the RYB color model. So, when colors are mixed, wavelengths are removed instead of added. Thus, the colors on the CMYK color model, which is used for ink and printing, mix differently than those on the RGB color model.

With CMYK, brown is usually made by mixing red, black, and yellow together, but like in the RYB color model, red, yellow, and blue can also create it. So, when brown and blue are mixed together in ink, they’ll have a similar result to paint, which is a dark blue.

Brown and Blue Colors in Design

Brown and blue living room interior design

Brown and blue are two very different colors, but they go well together in design. The bright, calming properties of blue balance well with neutral colors like brown. So, whether you’re painting an art piece or designing a room, these two colors can make a pleasant pattern.

If you’re looking for a little more variety in your design than just two colors, you can try adding in different shades and tints of the colors, such as tan and light blue. Other neutral colors will also go well with brown and blue, such as gray and white.

Since brown and blue both give off relaxing vibes, they don’t usually go well in a design with warm colors. More vibrant colors like red, orange, and yellow might clash too much, so be cautious when adding more colors into the mix.

Mixing With the Color Brown Is Complicated

Not only is the color brown an unusual color to mix with, but it also doesn’t exist in lights. In physical art mediums, it usually makes colors look darker or muddier. Yet, in lights, it’s impossible to use brown in mixing. For that reason, brown and blue are a color combination that you won’t see often when combining colors.

Mixing a variety of colors together can help you better understand color theory. By using trial and error, you might even find some new and exciting colors to use. So, just because brown and blue is an unusual mix doesn’t mean you should avoid it.