Cobalt Communications The Art + Science of Understanding

Excuse Me, While I Code the Sky.

Blue-sky thinking is a critical part of the work we do every day at Cobalt, yet at some point, we realize that we must get our head out of the clouds and come back to Earth — with answers, marching orders and clear, measurable objectives. Living at the crossroads of measurement and blue-sky thinking requires the right tools, which is why we’re pleased to provide a cyanometer, a handheld color gauge developed in the 18th century by Swiss scientist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure. De Saussure had just one, poetic purpose with his new invention: he wanted to measure the blueness of the sky. Over the years, cyanometers have taken many different forms and have used a variety of scales to represent blueness. The cyanometer included here is the traditional design — a ring of swatches, ranging from white to indigo, arranged around a central viewing port that, when held above the head, allows the user to match the blue sky to one of the swatches on the meter.

Cyanometer Screengrab


  1. Create your own cyanometer by downloading and printing the PDF above. Be sure to use a color printer and, if possible, print on card stock (heavier postcard-type paper).
  2. Using an X-ACTO knife or scissors, cut out the inner circle created by the meter.
  3. Go outside! Hold up your cyanometer to the sky and look through the hole in the middle.
  4. What color is your sky today? Identify the number of the swatch that matches the color you see when you look up.
  5. Try taking sky measurements over several days and in different locations. Collect your data at the same time every day.
  6. Snap a picture of yourself using your cyanometer and tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @cobalt_comm.