The blue noise mask (BNM) is a halftone screen that produces unstructured visually pleasing dot patterns. The BNM combines the blue-noise characteristics of error diffusion and the simplicity of ordered dither. A BNM is constructed by designing a set of interdependent binary patterns for individual gray levels. In this paper, we investigate the quality issues in blue-noise binary pattern design and mask generation as well as in application to color reproduction. Using a global filtering technique and a local 'force' process for rearranging black and white pixels, we are able to generate a series of binary patterns, all representing a certain gray level, ranging from white-noise pattern to highly structured pattern. The quality of these individual patterns are studied in terms of low-frequency structure and graininess. Typically, the low-frequency structure (LF) is identified with a measurement of the energy around dc in the spatial frequency domain, while the graininess is quantified by a measurement of the average minimum distance (AMD) between minority dots as well as the kurtosis of the local kurtosis distribution (KLK) for minority pixels of the binary pattern. A set of partial BNMs are generated by using the different patterns as unique starting 'seeds.' In this way, we are able to study the quality of binary patterns over a range of gray levels. We observe that the optimality of a binary pattern for mask generation is related to its own quality mertirc values as well as the transition smoothness of those quality metric values over neighboring levels. Several schemes have been developed to apply blue-noise halftoning to color reproduction. Different schemes generate halftone patterns with different textures. In a previous paper, a human visual system (HVS) model was used to study the color halftone quality in terms of luminance and chrominance error in CIELAB color space. In this paper, a new series of psycho-visual experiments address the 'preferred' color rendering among four different blue noise halftoning schemes. The experimental results will be interpreted with respect to the proposed halftone quality metrics.