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 PurpleIn 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 PurpleBright 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 PurpleDark 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.

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