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19 Types of Indigo

Indigo is a dark blue color based on the traditional dye of the same name. The dye was discovered around 6,000 years ago and is traditionally used by multiple civilizations including Peru, Mesoamerica, China, Japan, Egypt, Iran, India, Africa and the indigenous peoples of North America. Indigo was well known to the ancient Romans and Greeks where it was imported from India as a luxury. Indigo dye can produce a variety of colors but is primarily a dark or light blue that is often slightly green or violet. In 1986, some programmers created a list of color names for a unix system known as X11. Having no background in color theory, they placed indigo as a dark purple. This list was later used by HTML and CSS standards that remain in place to this day. These standards are used by millions of designers and digital artists such that the color name indigo is now strongly associated with dark purple or violet. As such, a few programmers accidentally repurposed a color name that was known to civilizations for thousands of years. The following are common types of indigo color
Imperial Blue
Faded Indigo
Neon Indigo
Dark Indigo
Japanese Indigo
Japanese Indigo #2
Indigo #4
Mood Indigo
Indigo #2
Kachi Indigo
Indigo #3
Violet Indigo
Indigo #2
Web Indigo
Royal Indigo
Electric Indigo
Jeans Indigo
Tropical indigo
Above: note the difference between Web Indigo and Indigo. This standard color name is completely detached from the traditional color. This misrepresentation resulted from the random selection by a programmer working on an operating system in 1986.


Indigo was historically a common and important dye such that it is associated with vintage clothing in many cultures. For example, indigo kimono in Japan have an Edo-era feel to them.
Indigo is immersed in history, tradition, culture and folklore such that it has a different meaning in each culture.
As a natural dye, indigo has an organic and earthy feel. For this reason, it was popular amongst the hippie subculture of the 1960s. This is perhaps its strongest current association.


Some indigo dyes look purple when faded by sunlight e.g. the color of Tropical Indigo above.
Indigo is a natural dye but synthetic versions also exist.
Blue jeans are often dyed with indigo giving them their characteristic blue color.

Color Palettes

This is the complete list of articles we have written about color palettes.
Bright Pink
Bright White
Calm Colors
Cerulean Blue
Dark Grey
Dark Yellow
Deep Blue
Deep Color
Ghost White
Jet Black
Light Brown
Light Grey
Medium Blue
Medium Grey
Medium Orange
Midnight Blue
Neon Orange
Neon Red
Pale Green
Pale Purple
Pale Red
Paris Green
Royal Yellow
Sky Blue
Slate Grey
More ...
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