Color In Design: Purple

    Jennifer Farley

    image Last week I looked at the cheery color yellow, this week it’s the turn of yellow’s complementary color, purple. In the wrong hands it can look over the top, but used well purple is vibrant and stylish. Looking at the color wheel we know that purple is the meeting point between warm red and cool blue and consists of many shades in between. Because of this purple is considered warm at the magenta and maroon end and cool at the violet end.

    Purple is a deep rich color associated with prosperity and wealth, royalty and nobility. It also has religious connotations with Easter and purple robes. Funnily enough if you take a look at some of the Christian and Church web sites, there’s not many using shades of purple. The color is also strongly associated with nature through flowers and plants such as lilac, lavender, pansies and orchids with many shades of purple taking their name from nature. In 2008 Pantone chose Blur Iris (PANTONE 18-3943) as its color of the year. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® described Blue Iris as bringing

    together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays.

    Purple was apparently the favorite color of Jimi Hendrix and we know that Prince likes it too.

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    Using Purple

    As mentioned, purple spans both warm and cool and can create a different mood depending on the colors it’s combined with. Deep purples with a hint of red produce a warm color scheme. Lighter purples are delicate and often considered romantic. Feminine color schemes are created when combined with pink. A more manly feeling can be conveyed using dark purple with black and dark greys. Earthy and natural color schemes combine deep purples with beige or lighter purples with green. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors and create strong eye-catching contrast.

    Purple In Logo Design

    I want to say thanks to the Twitter pals who helped me track down this little selection of almost globally famous logos using purple as a major color, I was having major logo-block trying to think of internationally recognized brands. It seems purple is not as unpopular as I originally thought when it comes to branding.

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    Purple In Web Design

    Here’s ten sites doing a good job with purple either as a major background color or as a hint in more minimalist designs.

    Full Fat




    Globe Studios


    Pieszsk ze Zenski




    Intuitive Designs



    Alexandre Prado





    Culinary Culture


    Blissfully Aware




    So what do you think? Is purple your cup of tea when it comes to design? Have you seen other websites displaying purple themes that you like?