What Colors Make Purple

There are very few people who do not like the color purple. What colors combine to make this gorgeous shade and what are the different associations with this color? These are some of the questions we answer in this article.
Were you aware that the name of the color purple is derived from the word purpul in Old English which in turn adopted this word from the Latin term purpura? The Latin term came from the Greek name for the similarly-colored dye which was produced from the mucus that was derived from the dye-murex snail. The first time the name was used in English was in the year 975 A.D. Over the years there have been many associations with the color. For example, in parapsychology people whose aura is said to reflect purple are said to be strong adherents of ritualistic ceremonies. The most common one, though, is in color psychology, where purple is often associated with royalty and the noble family. The reason for this association may have come from the fact that centuries ago, the dye that was available was extremely expensive and only the rich could afford it. This may have been one of the reasons why people tried to mix colors to create the shade.

Purple unlike violet is a non-spectral color which means that there is no single wavelength of light in the visible spectrum that result in the production of the color. The color is included between violet and red in color theory. While according to this theory, violet and indigo are different from the color purple due to the former two being spectral colors, in common usage both these colors are grouped with the purple group. If you study a color wheel, you will find the color purple located between the colors magenta and violet.

The Colors that Create Purple

Colors are divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. A color wheel will allow you to understand the relationship between colors and also help you understand the concept of complementary or coordinating colors. The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. When you combine these colors in different proportions, you obtain the secondary colors which are orange, purple and green. Secondary colors are combined in different proportions with the primary colors to make tertiary colors.

Getting the right shade of purple can be a difficult task as there are many pigments that need to be combined together. The basic primary colors mixed in order to get purple are red and blue. Different shades of the primary colors will give you different shades of purple. With an old blue and red, you will probably rustle up a dull shade. With magenta and ultramarine, you will mix up a color that is bright and more true to what we associate with the shade purple. Traditionally purple is classified as a cool color and, therefore, is often considered to a calming color.

Mixing colors properly takes time and patience. Even if you are theoretically aware of the colors that combine to create purple, it will involve a lot of trial and error to make the exact shade of purple that you are looking for. Do not be bogged down by your first few mistakes. Once you are aware of what proportions you need to use, mixing colors will come naturally to you.
By Tulika Nair
Published: 11/23/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats