Color Meaning: Purple

Color Psychology Purple
I only wanted 2 see you laughing in the purple rain – Prince

Purple is the color of royalty.  Its sophisticated hue is associated with wisdom and sensuality, creativity and wealth.  Purple stimulates the problem solving center of the brain, not only helping us find solutions to our problems, but doing it in creative ways. This powerful color has a punch that can be make or break in your design toolkit.

It is important to note that although they offer many of the same subconscious reactions, violet and purple are quite different in the way that we see them.  Violet appears in the visible light spectrum, it is a “rainbow” color and is the highest vibration in the spectrum. Purple is a simple mix of red and blue, but the hundreds of shades that can be mixed leave simplicity behind and offer a virtual rainbow of shades in this royal hue alone.

Color Psychology Purple

In Greek mythology, Hercules’ dog bit a shell on the beach and discovered the color purple.  Historically, it is a similar story: In ancient Phoenicia, fabric traders discovered that a certain mollusk’s mucus could be used to dye their silks the most beautiful shade of royal purple. In addition to the stunning color, this royal fabric was known to become even more vivid when exposed to the sun.  It took more than 10,000 of these mollusks to dye enough silk for one robe, making those garments more valuable than gold and a must have for any wealthy nobility. There were laws that prohibited anyone that was not of royal blood from wearing this color.

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. – Alice Walker

Lighter shades of purple, such as lilac and lavender, have often been associated with beauty.  These are sensitive shades that are reminiscent of youth. There is an air of vulnerability and selflessness, a feeling of femininity bound in strength.   Psychologically, these are very harmonious shades and are excellent when used as backgrounds or virtual areas or of serenity.

Color Psychology Purple

Bright tones of purple and bright violet are fun and energizing, full of imagination yet also safe.  In branding, this can be seen in Yahoo! And Monster’s logos. These companies want to portray an imaginative hub of expertise, secure but energized enough to change with the times.  These true purple shades are also known to reach a spiritual current. A color where the body and soul meet in a place of balanced energy.

Muddy purples, such as mauve,  are associated with violence and depression.  Somehow these brown tones take away the energy and replace it with dull lifelessness.  They are also seen as old fashioned and boring, so these muddled shades should be used sparingly if at all.

Color Psychology Purple

Dark purple’s start with a rich eggplant and fade into the midnight moon.  When used right, they offer a sensuous feeling of decadence, a mystical embrace that is almost magical, but when they are overdone, or muddied, they become negative and have associations of arrogance and savagery.  Once again, a little can go a long way.

Purple can grab attention, but in the subtlest of ways.  It draws you into its calm demeanour and enchants you with its sensitivity and compassion.   Whether you are using it in your office, virtual space, or in your home, purple can lead you and your clients to the exact place you need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the meaning of the color purple?

Purple is associated with royalty and is considered a sophisticated color. It is often related to wisdom, sensuality, creativity, and wealth. Purple stimulates the problem-solving center of the brain and can help find solutions in creative ways.

How is violet different from purple?

Although violet and purple offer similar subconscious reactions, they are different in the way we perceive them. Violet appears in the visible light spectrum and is considered a “rainbow” color with the highest vibration. On the other hand, purple is a mix of red and blue, resulting in a wide range of shades within the royal hue.

What is the historical significance of the color purple?

In Greek mythology, purple was discovered when Hercules’ dog bit a shell on the beach. Historically, ancient Phoenician fabric traders found that a certain mollusk’s mucus could dye silk with a beautiful shade of royal purple. Only those of royal blood were allowed to wear this color, making it more valuable than gold.

What are some psychological associations with lighter shades of purple?

Lighter shades of purple, such as lilac and lavender, are associated with beauty and youth. They evoke a sense of vulnerability, selflessness, and femininity bound in strength. These shades are psychologically harmonious and work well as backgrounds or in creating serene environments.

What is the impact of bright tones of purple in branding?

Bright tones of purple, like bright violet, are fun, energizing, and full of imagination. Brands like Yahoo! and Monster use these purple shades to portray themselves as imaginative hubs of expertise that are secure yet dynamic enough to adapt to changing times. True purple shades also symbolize a spiritual current, where body and soul meet in balanced energy.

What are muddy purples associated with?

Muddy purples, such as mauve, are associated with violence and depression. These brownish shades lack energy and appear dull and lifeless. They are considered old-fashioned and boring, so they should be used sparingly, if at all.

What is the significance of dark purple?

Dark purples, from rich eggplant to midnight moon, can evoke a sensuous feeling of decadence and mystical embrace when used correctly. However, when overdone or muddied, they can be associated with arrogance and savagery. Dark purple shades should be used in moderation.

How does purple influence attention and emotions?

Purple has a subtle way of grabbing attention. It draws people in with its calm demeanor and captivates them with its sensitivity and compassion. Whether used in an office, virtual space, or home, purple can lead individuals and clients to the desired emotional state.

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