Origin, History & Design Power of Neon Colors

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | October 21, 2022 11:08 am
History of Neon Colors

Neon colors, also called fluorescent colors, have a unique identity that makes them almost impossible to ignore. Commonly seen in clothes, nail polish, and signs, these bright neon colors have been through various trends in the past few decades.

Though they’ve been around for the past few years, they’re not the type of colors you’ll find easily in nature. So, the history of neon colors is as colorful and unique as the color itself.

Neon Color Meaning: What do Neon Colors represent?

If we talk about neon as a noun, it is a non-metallic material found in the air. It is commonly used in lasers and electric lamps. However, when it comes to adjectives, this means exceptionally bright. This is the most common definition of neon color that people are familiar with.

Difference between Neon Colors and Fluorescent Colors

Fluorescent and Neon colors are commonly used to define the same type of colors. However, they do have their unique meanings. When it comes to the process of making neon light colors and fluorescent lights, they slightly differ from each other. For example, making neon lights involves noble gasses whereas if we talk about fluorescent lights, they use mercury vapor. And it is actually not a noble gas.

Difference Between Neon Colors and Fluorescent Colors

Fluorescent lights also help in protecting eyes from UV rays, whereas neon light colors aren’t supposed to do that. It’s because fluorescent lights are mostly only bright white, while neon light colors are associated with an extensive range of colors. Therefore, neon and fluorescent lights are used to define bright colors, but in terms of technicality, they’re actually not interchangeable.

Why don’t Neon Colors come under the Color Wheel?

Neon colors actually don’t exist on the Color Wheel; these colors are different from primary and secondary colors. They are indeed the bright versions of them. That makes the neon colors challenging to use in prints, so they mostly appear in lights.

Different Types of Neon Colors

In more scientific terms, the gas element known as neon can only produce an orange-reddish color. However, the term ‘neon’ is used for ultra-bright hues comprehensively. Here’s the list of the most common colors that come in the neon category, along with their hexadecimal codes:

  1. Green

    Green Neon Color

    • Neon Green- Hex code: #39FF14
    • UFO Green- Hex code: #7FFF00
    • Electric Lime- Hex code: #CCFF00
  2. Red

    Red Neon Color

    • Neon Red- Hex code: #FF3131
    • Electric Orange- Hex code: #FF5E00
  3. Yellow

    Yellow Neon Color

    • Neon Yellow- Hex code: #FFF01F
    • Absinthe- Hex code: #E7EE4F
    • Chartreuse Yellow- Hex code: #DFFF00
  4. Pink

    Pink Neon color

    • Neon Pink- Hex code: #FF44CC
    • Neon Magenta- Hex code: #EA00FF
    • Plastic Pink- Hex code: #FF1493
  5. Purple

    Purple Neon Color

    • Neon Purple- Hex code: #BC13FE
    • Proton Purple- Hex code: #8A2BE2
  6. Blue

    Blue Neon Color

    • Neon Blue- Hex code: #1F51FF
    • Electric Cyan- Hex code: #0FF0FC

Similar to any other color, neon colors have a few complementary colors. For instance, identical to regular orange and blue, neon electric orange and neon blue also complement each other. The same can also be said for neon purple and neon yellow.

What is the Meaning of Neon Color?

Like all primary and secondary colors, neon colors also have unique meanings. Nevertheless, most neon colors share a similar sense with their primary parent colors.

One of the best examples of this scenario is neon blue. Neon blue means tranquil and calm, just like all the shades of blue. Also, the meaning of neon pink is similar to the usual pink, i.e., playful and loving.

On the contrary, neon colors do not have an ordinary meaning in every case. Even in a few instances, all neon colors mean the same. People often recognize neon colors as frivolous, fun, and excessive, linking them to nightlife and clubs. If neon colors are alongside darker shades such as navy blue and black, then the meaning, as mentioned earlier, of neon colors is often considered to be true.

In a few cases, neon color is also a warning and danger. And for this reason, some clothes and signs have neon trimming to make them visible at night.

The History of Neon Colors

Neon colors appeared in the form of lights for the first time in 1910. However, the procedure of creating neon colors started in the early years of the 1800s. It was when Heinrich Geissler invented the sealed glass tubes through electric current. This resulted in glowing gasses inside into some vibrant colors.

History of Neon Colors

Furthermore, scientists Morris Travers and Sir William Ramsay 1898 invented a way to liquidize air and separate it into various parts. Twelve years later, an engineer named Georges Claude created a lamp with a neon glass tube, officially making him the inventor of neon colors. Georges Claude later distributed and sold those tubes, creating neon signs.

Since then, the usage of neon colors has expanded in various ways. Eventually, the color made it to clothes, posters, NFTs, artwork, and car lights.

The Role of Neon Color in Design

Though neon colors have lost their importance in recent years, they still play a significant role in design. As long as there’s not too much usage of neon colors, they work pretty well. Companies often use neon colors while advertising something to draw viewers’ attention to a certain point in the design. In order to maximize neon color effects, everything else should be dull, and using simple colors is advised to contrast with neon colors.

Role of Neon Color in Design

Pop-ups of neon colors in art, signs, advertisements and furnishings could be very beneficial if they’re not overwhelmingly used. Too large an amount could be unpleasant and distracting to the eyes. Thus, bits of neon colors here and there create attention-grabbing pieces. So, no matter if the neon colors are out of style, they will always have a special place in designs.


Neon colors nowadays may not be as trendy as in the early 1800s; however, they come in all kinds and shapes. Neon makeup, nail polish, clothes, and hair dye are still there. Though these cheerful colors are not the norm in terms of styling, they help you stand out from the crowd.

To learn more about how you can use neon colors in graphic design, you need to sign up for our Appy Pie’s Graphic Design Software and get started today. With Appy Pie Design software, you can access numerous designing tools that are very easy to use and don’t require any prior design experience. So, put your stakes high and sign up today. Click on the link below!

Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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