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Purple Colors

From pale purples to deep purples, the color purple is intriguing.

| Cool, Calming Colors | Warm, Exciting Colors | Mixed Cool/Warm Colors | Unifying Neutral Colors
violet shades

Shades of violet.

Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Lilac shades

From Background to smallest circle: Lilac, rich lilac, deep lilac, French lilac.

Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Purple is warm and cool, fitting for kings, priests, and ladies.

Explore its meaning and symbolism, colors that go with purple and the light and dark shades from palest orchid to deep dark violet and indigo.

Shades of Purple: These words are synonymous with or represent various shades of the color purple: amethyst, eggplant, indigo, lavender, lilac, magenta (see fuchsia), mauve, mulberry, orchid, plum, pomegranate, puce, royal, thistle, violet, wine.

Nature and Culture:

Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, it is associated with both nobility and spirituality. The opposites of hot red and cool blue combine to create this intriguing color.

Pantone selected the color Blue Iris (PANTONE 18-3943) as the 2008 Color of the Year telling us: "Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement."

Purple has a special, almost sacred place in nature: lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. Because it is derived from the mixing of a strong warm and strong cool color it has both warm and cool properties. A purple room can boost a child's imagination or an artist's creativity. Too much though, like blue, could result in moodiness.

The color of mourning for widows in Thailand, purple was the favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra. It has been traditionally associated with royalty in many cultures. Purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority or high rank. The Purple Heart is a U.S. Military decoration given to soldiers wounded in battle.

Awareness ribbons that use purple include:

  • Various diseases and conditions such as: Alzheimer's Disease, Pancreatic Cancer, Crohn's Disease and Colitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Leimyosarcoma, Macular Degeneration, Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sarcoidosis, Mucolipidoses, Thyroid Cancer, ADD, ADHD, Cancer Survivor, Arnold Chiari Malformation,Mucopolysaccharidosis, Hurler Syndrome,Childhood or Pediatric Stroke, Epilepsy
  • All cancers (general cancer awareness)  (light purple)
  • Animal Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Religious Tolerance
  • Victims of 9/11
  • The Homeless
  • Pagan Pride
  • Children Left Unattended in Cars
  • Anti-Gay Bullying
  • Foster Care (light purple)

Other Awareness Ribbon Colors.

Using Purple:


  • Deep or bright purples suggest riches.
  • Lighter purples are more romantic, delicate, and feminine.
  • Use redder purples for a warmer color scheme or the bluer purples to cool down.


With Other Colors:


  • A deep eggplant purple with neutral tans or beige is an earthy, conservative color combination with a touch of the mystery that purple provides.
  • Green and purple can be a striking combination in deep or bright jewel tones or use lighter shades for a cheerful, springlike feel.
  • Pink and purple has feminine appeal.


Color Palettes:

These color palettes feature shades of purple combined with shades of green, orange, blue, and yellow.

In Other Design Fields:



Color Names:



Purple Language:

The use of colorful, familiar phrases can help a designer see how their color of choice might be perceived by others, both the positive and negative aspects.

Good purple

  • Purple cow - something remarkable, eye-catching, unusual
  • Purple prose - exaggeration, highly imaginative writing (also has negative connotations)
Bad purple
  • Purple speech - profanity, raunchy language
  • Purple prose - exaggeration, colorful lies
  • Purple haze - state of confusion or euphoria, possibly drug-induced, specific type of potent cannabis (marijuana), specific type of LSD

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More Color Meanings

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