What Makes Purple Color? Understanding Purple

We have different reasons why we want to learn how to create purple colors. You are an artist or painter while the other person is trying to develop purple food color. 

The process of making the color purple is similar. You have to understand the science behind color mixing to create the perfect purple.

There are several shades of purple. You should be sure of the type of shade you need before you begin the color mixing process.

In the article, we will show you how to create purple and the different shades of purple. Let’s get into it.

What Makes Purple Color?

Purple is a secondary color. To get the purple color, you mix two primary colors, blue and red. This will give you the perfect purple shade. 

Red and blue are essential for making purple color. However, you can create different shades of purple by adding other colors like white, grey, and yellow. In general, any color with a hue between blue and red is purple. 

Creating Different Shades Of Purple Color

Producing the different shades of purple is not that simple. To create the different shades of purple, you are required to blend dark purple and light purple colors. 

The dark purple colors are deep purple, blue-purple, and many more. Mixing them with the lighter shades of purple will create all the necessary depth and additional features to the artwork. 

Creating Light Purple Shades

In general, purple does lean towards the darker color. To create lighter shades, you’ll have to lighten them to achieve the look or purple you want. 

There are several colors you can use to lighten the dark purple. The easiest, most practical way is by adding a bit of white paint to your dark purple. 

It’s the best way of creating light purple. This is because it doesn’t affect the hue. To create a lighter but yet vibrant and soft purple color, add a little yellow. 

Yellow is the other best option for to white color. The best types of yellow to use are cadmium lemon yellow and cadmium yellow.

However, I vouch for cadmium yellow when creating a lighter shade of purple or any other color. 

Creating Dark Purple shades

As mentioned in the article, purple is a naturally dark color; therefore, making it a little dark won’t be tricky. 

In artwork, the darker purple is used to create shadows and add dimensions. The amount of dark you need depends on the complexity of your composition. 

When painting, you should have various types of dark and light purple. They will make your paint look stunning. There are several ways of creating the dark shade of purple. 

The most obvious way of creating a darker shade of purple is by adding black. However, most people do not use black because it’s difficult to find pure black. 

The black color does contain several black pigments, and their base usually has green coloring. To be particular, mix some black paint with a little white. 

With proximity observation, you’ll notice that the color formed has more green in it instead of being pure grey. Therefore darkening purple with black might give you unexpected shades of color. 

The best way of darkening purple color is by adding some burnt umber to it. Burnt umber is dark reddish-brown.

Burnt umber is a warmer color and will have a warmer shade of dark purple. The mixture of the two colors will create a soft, deep purple color. 

Another best alternative is using phthalo green. The mixture of phthalo green and purple will create a great shade of dark purple. 

If you also combine the green with alizarin crimson, you’ll get a dark black. You can then mix the dark shade with your base purple to make the darkest purple blend. 

Tips Of Making Purple Color

I’m sure you’ve already learned how to create purple and the different shades of purple.  To get started, you’ll need blue and red. 

To make it lighter or darker, you’ll have to add black, white, yellow, and more colors. Mentioned are the most basic requirements. Here are some of the tips that will guide you in creating the purple color you need. 

1. Be keen on Darkness and Light

I’m referring to the darkness or lightness of a color. This will help you know the amount of light that’s reflected by a particular color. 

To make values darker, you’ll have to add black, and they’ll be referred to as shades. While to make a value lighter, you’ll have to add white, and they’ll be referred to as tints. 

Adding either black or white to purple will change the value of the purple color. If you want to get a darker purple, such as deep violet, you’ll add more black. Add more white for a lighter purple, such as periwinkle. 

2. Select a Hue

By hue were referring to pure colors. The pure colors do not have black or white added to them. To make purple, you’ll need the two primary colors, which are red and blue. 

The type of purple you create will depend on the red and blue colors you use. To create a warmer purple, you’ll need to use warmer shades of red. 

The warmer shades of red tend to have yellow or orange undertones. If you want to create a more great purple, you’ll have to use a cooler shade of blue color. 

3. Adjust the Saturation

The addition of black and white does affect the saturation of any color. Saturation is the amount of original color in a hue. 

It’s always relative to the amount of black or white. The intensity of a color is affected by the amount of black and white added to it. 

For a more intense and brighter purple, do not add much white or black in it. The types of purple with higher saturations are royal or heliotrope purple. This is because less white and black have been added to it. 

The Purple Color

It’s the color that combines the fierce energy of red and the calm stability of blue. In ancient and today’s world, purple is closely associated with power, royalty, and wealth. 

It symbolizes almost all the great things in the world. The blue in purple symbolizes stability and peace, while red is for wisdom and knowledge. 

The purple color has played numerous roles in human history. In the early days, the colors were obtained naturally from earth or by grinding berries. 

The colors would then be extracted from the berries juice. The purple color was prevalent across Rome, China, and Europe. 

It served a significant purpose and left a great trail behind. Today, many artists believe that understanding the origins of colors will help them create better art pieces. That’s why many of them try to find out the when, where, and how of particular colors.  


The purple color was first witnessed in the world thousands of years ago. That’s during the Neolithic period.

Archaeologists have discovered several paintings from the time. In most pictures, the artists used manganese and hematite powder. 

The Tyrian is an exciting type of purple. It was harvested from the mucus of certain snails in the Mediterranean. The purple color was extracted from the mucus using costly and complex methods. 

The expensive extraction made the purple color so expensive. The materials or clothes dyed with purple were equally costly and only affordable by the rich. This is the reason why color is associated with wealth, nobility, and royalty. 

Purple During Renaissance and Middle Ages

Tyrian purple was used through the middle ages. Then it was common among the clergy and leaders of the Catholic Church. 

In 1464, Pope Paul II asked the clergymen to stop wearing the purple robes since the purple color was no longer obtainable. Scarlet robes were introduced in place of the purple robe. 

Most paintings from the renaissance period do have the purple color. Then the robe in all the pictures of the Virgin Mary was purple. It signified her royalty in the catholic church and the world. 

The royalties, professors, and students taking religious studies started wearing clothes dyed with the color purple. It’s during this period that people started associating purple with wisdom and knowledge. 

Purple Color in the 18th and 19th Centuries

The purple color was still associated with the wealth and top clergy all through the 18th century. Early 19th century, a British chemistry student discovered a new color, known as mauve. 

The color could be easily mass-produced, and it changed the fashion industry. The purple color lost its spot.


The purple color is beautiful and has a special place because of its incredible history. The addition of purple to your art will bring a unique feel. 

To create a purple color, you’ll use the red and blue colors. However, there are several variations of the color purple. 

In the article, we have given a detailed guide on creating the purple color and the different shades of purple. Let me hope the information was helpful.

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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