Color Teal: Meaning and How to Use It in Branding
From teal blue to teal green: color palettes, and how to use the different types of teal in design.
Color teal: meaning
The color teal is a relatively young color—the first recorded use of teal as a color name in English was only in 1917. It is named after the Eurasian teal, a duck with a teal-colored stripe on its head.
Although a mix between green and blue of equal parts and really a color of its own, teal often gets pulled into the green color family. Historically, green pigments for paints and fabric dyes were hard to extract from nature and not often used in clothing and heraldic arms. While green could have been mixed with blue and yellow pigments, there was a deep dislike to mixing different substances due to distrust in alchemy. This medieval precursor of chemistry transformed matter by combining elements seemingly through magic. The superstitious convention vanished only during the early Renaissance and new copper greens were discovered by German Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in the late eighteenth century. 
The color teal and its lighter shaded sister colors turquoise, cyan, aqua, and light green aren’t primary colors and are therefore not considered basic. A deep teal is calm, sophisticated, and knowledgeable, similar to the dark greens that you see in old libraries. Teal is relaxing; it can be found in nature combining blue skies and green fauna. When brightness is added to teal, or less black is used in the mix, teal becomes turquoise, aqua, cyan, or when there’s less blue, it turns into light green. These lighter shades of teal are younger, clearer, and more invigorating because they remind us of the shallow waters of sunny places.
 Clair, Kassia St. The Secret Lives of Color. Penguin Books, 2017.
The teal color values: from teal blue to teal green
When using the RGB color model like any screen does (a TV screen, a computer screen, a phone), the colors red, green, and blue (RGB) are being added and they create yellow, cyan, and magenta when they overlap and are being mixed. Cyan is composed of 50% green and 50% blue. In the CMYK color model (anything that gets printed on e.g. a home printer), if 50% black is added to cyan you’ll get the color teal. Teal has an RGB value of 0/128/128 or 0% red, 50.2% green, and 50.2% blue, and its HEX color value is #008080.
The more blue is added to the RGB value, teal turns into a teal blue and if green is added to teal, it turns into teal green.
Industries and famous brands that use the color teal
In branding, the color teal is commonly used in electronics, sports, entertainment, communications, and creative sectors, and, when used in lighter and brighter tones, in children-related industries.
Teal had its high times during the 90s, especially in sports branding but was superseded by blue again in the early 2000s. While blue is often listed as Western people’s most favorite color, a comprehensive 2016 publication shines a light on research showing that people have color preferences based on contexts such as clothing, furniture, or general designs as well as personal experiences and cultural backgrounds.
In the process of finding a brand color palette, branding agencies spend a lot of time choosing exactly the right shades. The strategic place to start is to take a look at the common brand colors in your industry first. As a second step, select a color based on what your closest competitors are not using. The reason for that is “brand positioning”—the way the customer thinks of a brand. Good brands stand out—they’re known for something relevant in their field. Considering that, the color teal might be a great strategic choice because it’s not used very often; it makes the brand more memorable in the eyes of the customer.
Traits of teal
After looking at your competitors’ brand colors and selecting a few colors that are not being used and may also fit your direction, pick a final color based on the general emotion you want to convey. Teal’s positive traits are healing, friendliness, invigoration, clarity, creativity, and calm. Teal’s negative traits are aloofness and unreliability.
Then build a palette from there: In modern branding, one bold brand color—which may or may not be complemented by up to three secondary colors—does well.
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Modern color palettes including teal
Above we selected a few modern color palettes that include the color teal. For custom palettes try a color palette tool like Adobe Color. It lets you generate colors that work well together and you can test them for readability and accessibility.
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