Powder blue is a pale shade of blue. As with most colours, there is no absolute definition of its exact hue, but according to Etymology Online, powder blue originally referred in the 1650s to powdered smalt (cobalt glass) used in laundering and dyeing applications, and it then came to be used as a colour name from 1894.
|sRGBB (r, g, b)||(158, 185, 212)|
|HSV (h, s, v)||(217°, 73%, 96%)|
|Source||British Standard 20D41|
|B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)|
Although smalt itself is a deep, dark blue hue, powder blue is nowadays depicted as more of a pale cobalt blue as illustrated by the examples below, which show powder blue as defined by British and Australian Standards for paint colours along with an example of one manufacturer's actual Powder Blue paint, and a consensus definition produced by an online colour names survey in which 140,000 people took part. It can be seen that although the sources differ on how pale or saturated a colour "powder blue" is, they broadly agree as to its hue.
|Shades of powder blue|
|Australian Standard ||British Standard||Dulux Trade Paint||Online survey|
There is also a recorded use of powder blue as a colour name in English in 1774, however the sources offer more than one possible colour of this name, including a blue-grey and a dark unsaturated blue.
In contrast to the above examples, the list of X11 color names defines powder blue as a pale cyan shade, RGB(176,224,230), as shown here. This is the colour which is displayed by web browsers if "powder blue" is specified in HTML or CSS code.
- Concise Oxford Dictionary entry.
- Etymology Online
- Australian Standard AS 2700 colour B32 (Powder Blue)
- Powder Blue BS4800 20D41 Paint colour
- Dulux Trade Colour Powder Blue
- Xkcd Color Survey Results
- Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 202. See colour sample of powder blue, Page 95--Plate 36 Color Sample H2 and Plate 43 Color Sample D11
- W3C TR CSS3 Color Module, HTML4 color keywords