Turquoise Vs Teal Vs Cyan

Turquoise, teal, and cyan are three of the most popular colors in modern design. They have a noticeable presence in various graphics applications, especially when it comes to web and print design. Turquoise, teal, and cyan tend to be closely related, which often leads to much confusion on how to differentiate them. In this article, we will take a closer look at these three colors and compare them to clear some of the confusion.

So what is turquoise color?

Turquoise is a color with a greenish-blue hue. It is a mix between green and blue, often described as a mash-up between blue and green. It gets its name from the mineral turquoise, which is typically a jewelry stone that has a bluish-green tone. Turquoise shades have been popular in various cultures throughout history. The color is cheerful, sophisticated and blends well with grey, white and other shades of blue.

Teal color – what is it?

Teal is a darker shade of a greenish-blue hue. It’s closer to blue than green, and often described as being the color of the ocean. It has a calming effect and is a popular color in interior design because of its elegance and versatility. Its deep character and calming tone make it popular for use in textiles and furnishings items like bedspreads, drapes, and throw pillows.

Cyan – the color that completes the trio

Cyan is a greenish-blue shade that’s closer to blue than green. It is a brighter and bolder version of turquoise or teal, often described as a primary color. It’s named after the Greek word “kyanos,” which means blue-green. It’s widely used in graphics and web design primarily due to its bold and striking appearance. It’s also frequently used in product branding, packaging, and signage.

Turquoise vs. Teal vs. Cyan

While these three colors share many similarities, there are some notable differences that set them apart.

· Brightness and intensity:

One of the primary differences between these shades is their brightness and intensity. Cyan is by far the brightest among the three; it’s striking, bold, and primary. Turquoise is the mid-tone between cyan and teal; it’s subdued, calm, and soothing, making it an excellent color tone for any relaxing setting. Lastly, teal is the darkest of the three, deeper and bolder.

· Undertones and Temperature

Turquoise features a notable greenish undertone in its composition. It’s often described as being cool, soothing, and refreshing, making it the perfect color for a spa. On the contrary, teal is the opposite with warmer undertones with blue elements towards the green. It can give darker spaces a warm and inviting feeling. Cyan, on the other hand, leans more towards a blue undertone, often resembling a rich blue mixed with green, making it appear more vibrant.

· Popularity

All three shades of turquoise, teal, and cyan have gained popularity for their fresh and modern look. However, cyan has become increasingly popular in graphics web design, especially in branding and other visuals. The reason being its ability to draw attention to designs enhancing the attention of the viewer. Turquoise has, on the other hand, have gained much prominence in jewelry design, and in home furnishings and accessories.

· Vocabulary and Nomenclature:

Marketing and branding are a dime a dozen in designing. Nomenclature plays a significant role in labeling a brand or a product. So there’s a need to understand the right term to use when describing each color tone. Using the wrong name can cause confusion in any product’s branding. Cyan, teal, and turquoise are all different and need proper labeling when used in branding to achieve the desired effect.


In conclusion, all three colors, turquoise, teal, and cyan, are beautiful and add life and elegance to any design. They all have unique attributes that distinguish them and suit different purposes. Understanding their subtle variances is essential when choosing the right color tone for a project. Designers have got to consider the psychology behind these colors in their application to ensure they are well understood, and the message passed across effectively.