What Color Is Indigo? Find Out If It's Closer To Blue Or Purple

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 17, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
 blend of colors blue and violet creates indigo

Indigo, a color of integrity and intuition that is uplifting, possesses a beauty that no other color can come close to!

The perfect blend of the colors blue and violet creates indigo. Seems like this magnificent hue brings power and charm!

Clothes dyed with indigo are an essential part of our lives. The meaning of word indigo is ‘the Indian’ or ‘from India’.

Indigo dye is harvested from a plant called Indigofera tinctoria. One of the earliest examples of the indigo plant is the plant Indigofera tinctoria comes from the ancient society of Harappans. About 50 different species of this plant are grown in India.

In colonial India, Britishers were forced to increase the production of indigo in India, and the dye was exported back to the factories in Britain. By the 19th century, synthetic was brought into the market as indigo production could meet the demands of the clothing industry.

After forming your perception regarding the appearance of indigo color, do read other related fact files on what color is graphite and what color is garnet?

Indigo Color Vs. Blue

Blue as a color represents many other colors that are similar to it, whereas indigo is more specific and a darker shade of blue color. You can see indigo color in a rainbow!

Indigo is a deep color close to the blue color on the color wheel. Web colors such as cyan are also close to blue color.

When Isaac Newton performed experiments with a prism, he said that the visible spectrum produces seven colors of different types, which are also colors of the rainbow, which are red, yellow, green, orange, blue, indigo, and violet.

Before Newton’s experiment, it was always thought that the visible spectrum had five colors, not seven. It has been said that Newton added two more colors, ‘indigo’ and ‘orange’, because he believed that the harmony of colors must represent the notes of harmony in a major musical scale.

Another one of Newton’s beliefs was that the number seven had some significance as we have seven days in a week, and when Newton was alive, only seven planets had been discovered.

Indigo is a deeper blue, the jeans we wear might appear to you as a blue dye, but they have been dyed using indigo. The closest color to indigo and is a cool blue color.

True indigo has a wavelength that lies somewhere between 445 nm and 464 nm.

In contrast, the color blue has a wavelength between 450 nm and 495 nm. The RGB of Indigo color code is #4B0082 .

Different Shades Of Indigo

Indigo is purply blue on the color wheel, with few indigos having more blue or violet. Indigo is more of a color between blue and violet, and the color violet is between blue and purple.

A shade’s saturation level is darker than the original hue as the pure color is mixed with black. The more black is in the mix, the darker it will become. For example, navy color is a shade of blue. Like other colors, indigo has its own shades. These shades include electric indigo, Japanese indigo, lavender indigo, and Persian indigo.

From India, the indigo dye went to countries like ancient Greece and Rome, where the indigo dye was considered a luxury. It was not like other countries did not use indigo, they did, but India was still regarded as the center of indigo dyeing.

Romans initially used indigo for the purposes of painting, cosmetics, and medical uses as well.

Tablets belonging to Mesopotamia from the 7th century mention the coloring of wool done using indigo. In the middle ages, indigo became comparatively rare because of the duties and taxes imposed by the Persian and Greek merchants.

After the seaway to India from Europe was discovered in the 15th century, the use and export of indigo in Europe began raking up.

Countries such as England, Portugal, and the Netherlands became the major importers of indigo as the dye was heavily in demand by the clothing industry of these regions. Instead of importing from India directly, Europeans started putting up their own plantations in countries such as the Virgin Islands, South Carolina, and Jamaica.

Even though indigo stems back to India, it was the African slavery in North America and Europe that made it valuable In the continent.

Africans who were enslaved carried the knowledge of indigo cultivation back to North America, and soon the profits of indigo overtook the earnings of other crops such as sugar and cotton. The discovery of synthetic indigo dye by Adolf Von Baeyer changed everything.

The synthetic indigo dye was much cheaper than natural dye, and its production overtook that of natural indigo; and by 1914, the indigo that had come from farms had declined in production.

Britain only imported about 30% of its indigo from India by the end of the 18th century, but this number went up to 95% by the year 1810. Indigo cultivation requires fertile land, and it drains the land of its nutrients if it is continuously formed on the same piece of land.

Many British officials in India invested in indigo production because of the profit potential from farming and selling indigo.

What colors go well with indigo?

You would not expect it, but color indigo is quite a versatile color that can accompany many colored pencils. These are some of the colors which can be paired with any possible indigo color combination.

White: This is a color that is timeless. Can you ever go wrong with white?

It’s one of the most basic colors out there, and white works with everything. The combination of white and indigo is quite fantastic because white, being a plain and straightforward color, lets color indigo shine. This combination can work really well with home decorations, pieces of clothing, and even bedrooms!

Yellow: Yellow being a warm primary color and color indigo being a cool color makes both of them go really well together. Yellow calms down the cool edge indigo brings along. This deep combination is often seen in France, where the countryside has a lot of styles and designs in this color combination.

Brown – Blending the color brown with indigo color brings calmness in any given environment as both of these colors compliment each other really well.

Green– The combination of green and indigo color helps brighten up the dark shade of indigo. It creates a contrasting look with a touch of a modern look.

Blue – Is there anything such as too much blue? Definitely not! If you truly want to create a cool scheme of colors, pairing both of these shades of blue would really go well together, provided that you go from light blue to dark blue.

Red – Truly a peanut butter and jelly combination that can never go wrong in any way whatsoever! This pairing is truly traditional. A deeper shade of red combined with indigo color can help you create a sophisticated room that would fit well for a dining room or living room.

Orange: You might think orange would stand out too much if used with indigo, but that’s not the case. This pairing makes absolute sense.

The color orange brings a little bit of pop to the dark nature of the color indigo. Going with a deeper shade of orange can work as well with the already dark tones of indigo. Bright orange with indigo can help to surround the environment with energy!

Indigo Color Combinations

When indigo is combined with some other colors, its magnificence indeed does dial-up!

The primary colors on the color wheel that work towards making the color indigo are blue and violet. A lighter tone of indigo can be achieved by adding white to the paint.

If you are looking for a more purplish tone, increasing purple while creating the mix for violet can get you the color you want. Adding yellow to violet will get you a darker tone of purple.

Adding the color black will also result in the same result where you will get a darker purple tone. Dye your hair with indigo and henna; you will end up with black or brown hair depending on the ratio of indigo and henna you have used.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what color is indigo then why not take a look at what color is bronze, or what color is cyan?

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

Aashita Dhingra picture

Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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