Cyan ( also to be found in the letters cyan) generally refers to a lying to green at the transition from blue hue. The term is used mainly in technical and artistic applications and is very rare in everyday speech. Here lacking a commonly accepted and definable color category cyan ( in contrast to the past to yellow at the transition from red orange). In ordinary language is the common name turquoise, however, the so called, lying between blue and green color in all shades of cyan congruent.

  • 3.2.1 color stimulus
  • 3.2.2 Hue same spectral
  • 4.1 When the color mixing
  • 4.2 Complementing
  • 8.1 In nature
  • 8.2 In everyday
  • 8.3 Colour Psychology


Precise significance of the color name only in special applications, such as

  • As a colorimetrically defined color, especially as a printing ink in four-color printing (printing cyan) and
  • Than a specified computer applications for web color ( cyan Web );

In the article, the meanings should be clarified.

Assigns to print cyan and web Cyan the same hue wavelengths, one obtains the wavelength range from 482 nm to 492 nm in some books -to-find information of a cyan assigned spectral types vary and are only in the particular context useful example for 487 nm to 492 nm at Norbert Welsch or 480 nm to 510 nm at Franz Wenzel.


The word cyan goes back to Greek κúανoς, which is a deep, dark blue called (steel blue, black blue).

As newer language development of the color concept cyan especially through the Euro scale and fashionable design configurations is introduced in German. In the RAL color system, which was in its infancy in the mid-20th century, there is no category cyan hues. However, color names are included in the composition with turquoise. The turquoise colors are incorporated in the category of green.

Cyan defined as colorimetric color

The colors listed below are colorimetrically defined colors, their appearance is set for certain types of lighting and viewing conditions clearly on measured values.

Cyan as the base color in four-color printing

Cyan is the name of the standard ISO 2846 and ISO 12647 ink of the four- color printing. It is usually performed as a print or Cyan Process Cyan. Defines the color appearance of the printed color in daylight standard light D50. The appropriate for the physical printing ink pigment is the beta modification of copper, creating a greenish variant of phthalocyanine is formed.

Color stimulus

According to ISO 2846-1 pressure has cyan (0 ° / 45 ° geometry) for a 2 ° CIE standard observer at specified pressure process the following color values ​​:

The color is also after any adjustment to the viewing conditions outside the sRGB gamut, so it can not be represented on a computer monitor in the rule. It can only be attempted as much as possible to approximate the appearance of color on the screen.

Representation of color in sRGB

Various visualizations of printing cyan in sRGB can be found (such as a color pattern on white background ), about

If one uses the color model CIECAM02, a gamut mapping can be realized in sRGB by chroma - reduction, which is optimally adapted to the perceived color. When using the software LittleCMS with the parameters

  • Source: ( c.whitePoint = ( 85.30, 88.77, 67.90 ) ( paper); c.surround = AVG_SURROUND; c.D_value = 1; c.La = 318; c.Yb = 20),
  • Target: ( c.whitePoint = ( 95.04, 100.00, 108.90 ); c.surround = DIM_SURROUND; c.D_value = 0; c.La = 16; c.Yb = 20)

Arises in iterative chroma reduction, the sRGB color with hexadecimal triplet # 0D8BB1.

Same color spectral color

There are different ways of color colorimetrically defined pressure Cyan assign a shade same spectral color. The association in the color model CIECAM02 by increasing the chroma results in a wavelength of 482 nm Assignment by subtraction of white D50 within a physical color space results in a wavelength of 486 nm

Cyan as web color

For the design of web pages exist in HTML4/CSS/SVG a standardization of English color identifiers for defined web colors. The color names cyan and Aqua both stand for the web color sRGB hexadecimal triplet # 00FFFF, ie the additive mixture of blue and green within the sRGB color space, each with the maximum possible proportion. This corresponds to the HSV hue angle H = 180 °.

Particularly on the Internet, the standard color names have such a dominant position that many, even non- technical authors with the web color Cyan Cyan mine. To avoid misunderstandings are the names web cyan or cyan computer preferable in an unclear context. In English, for this case occurs the use of Electric cyan.

Color stimulus

The direct conversion of sRGB color values ​​using the given in the specification of sRGB formulas yields the tristimulus values ​​of the color, which you can view as to D65 adapted relative color. A chromatic adaptation to Bradford provides these values ​​under adaptation to D50.

By using CIECAM02 ( for comparability with the same parameters as above) one obtains the following tristimulus values ​​, which describe the theoretical phenomenon of web - cyan color as printed on white paper:

Same color spectral color

There are different ways of colorimetric color defined web Cyan assign a hue similar spectral color. The association in the color model CIECAM02 by increasing the chroma results in a wavelength of 490 nm Assignment by subtraction of white D65 within a physical color space results in a wavelength of 492 nm ( 491 nm ).

Cyan in color theory

Wherein color mixing

In an additive color space, with the primary colors red, green, blue (RGB color space) means the secondary color cyan, which is formed from the additive combination of green and blue.

In a subtractive color space with three primary colors with a large target gamut, these primary colors usually bear the name of cyan, magenta and yellow ( CMY color model).

As a complementary color

In various color theories Cyan is the complementary color to red

Cyan as a color category and relative tonal range

In many color graduations and color systems cyan is used as a contrasting color name, which is often omitted colorimetric definition of the tonal range. Should include what colors cyan is thus to open up about only by comparison with the surrounding color categories.

There are ( limited to blues and greens ) to find among others the following color classifications:

  • Blue, cyan, green ( in both of the additive such as the subtractive color mixing of three primary colors as a list of all the primary and secondary colors )
  • Blue, greenish blue, cyan, bluish green, green at Welsch there with actual notice for coloring same wavelength ranges.
  • Indigo, cyan ( blue), green in color theory of Helmholtz
  • Violet-blue, cyan, green with Harald Küppers
  • Violet-blue, ultramarine blue, cyan, green in color theory of Newton
  • Ultramarine blue, cyan, blue green, yellow green reflected in the color selection of the 12-part color paint box.

Related color names

Related, the brightness non-limiting color names are about turquoise, aquamarine, blue-green and green blue.

It leads to the following picture of the use:

  • If the name is used contrasting, cyan referred to Germans in general a bluer hue than turquoise, aquamarine and blue-green.
  • The term Green Blue is rarely used.

For bright colors and pastel colors from the cyan hue range 482 nm to 492 nm, the color names light blue, sky blue and are - to find Aqua - particularly in the textile sector.

For dark color variants of the cyan hue range 490 nm to 500 nm, the color names blue-green or sea green, more recently, the English names Petrol ( fashion area) and Teal are common ( web color ). Teal is the standard name for the web color that comes from web Cyan by reducing the brightness ( sRGB hexadecimal triplet # 008080 ). In English also means Teal Teal, and the color name is probably derived from the color of the eyes of teal.

Classification as blue or green

Cyan is located on the border between blue and green, the web is cyan greenish than the pressure - cyan. Since Cyan is not a commonly used color category, the corresponding colors in everyday life the color categories blue and green (and possibly turquoise ) assigned.

Occurrence and use of color

In nature

Cyan occurs in nature due to certain refractions before and sky, water and ice color.

In everyday

  • A medium cyan is often used as Beck color in swimming pools, the popular water color.
  • In fashion a bright mid cyan light women tops is popular ( Aqua ).

Colour Psychology

In color psychology Cyan stands for clarity and openness of mind, but also coolness and aloofness