"The color purple is uplifting and supports creativity." ~ Kate Smith
Color Psychology: Purple
Understanding how color affects our world.
- by Kate Smith
The color purple combines red’s stimulation with the calm of blue. This combination can cause unrest or uneasiness. Purple holds special meaning in many cultures around the world. It represents everything from bravery to mourning to royalty and privilege.
The color purple affects us physically by:
- Calming the mind and nerves
- Encouraging a sense of spirituality
- Supporting creativity
Purple in the Garden
The color purple is a cool color in landscape design. It has a calming effect in the garden. Purple plants visually recede in a garden, making a small space feel larger. Purple’s complementary color is yellow.
Unique Facts About Purple
- Purple is the first color dye made by man. It was originally called Mauveine and was made from coal tar. The formula was developed by William Henry Perkin in 1856.
- Purple poker chips are worth $5,000.
- The color purple represents the planet Jupiter.
- Leonardo Da Vinci believed the power of meditation significantly increased when done in a purple light.
- Amethyst is a purple stone and the birthstone for those born in February.
- The poem “Warning” by English poet Jenny Joseph begins with the line “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple.” This famous line has become a reference to women’s struggle with aging.
- Purple is the color of Madison Square Garden in New York. VIP seats at the Garden were once colored purple.
- In the United States, states with an equal distribution of Republicans and Democrats are referred to as “purple states.”
- The Colorado Rockies are the only team in Major League Baseball to use purple.
- Purple or violet stained glass is said to combine the wisdom of blue with the love of red and symbolizes justice and royalty.
Purple is the signature color of a number of products, companies and organizations:
- Crown Royal
- 80’s Purple
- Purple Consultancy
- Purple Labs
Popular phrases that include purple are:
- Purple prose: an elaborately written poem or paragraph in literature
- Purple Heart: a medal awarded to U.S. soldiers wounded in battle
- Born to the purple: to be born into a noble or royal family
- Lay it out in lavender: relaxed and in control
Songs with purple in the title:
- “Pale Purple” by Ani DiFranco
- “Purple” by Slapshock
- “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix
- “The Purple of All Curtains” by Tangerine Dream
- “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
- “Purple Rain” by Prince
- “Purple Ray Gun” by Alexis Shepard
- “Purple Stain” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- “Purple Toupee” by They Might Be Giants
- “Voices Green and Purple” by The Bees
Purple Around the World
Throughout history, cultures around the world have associated purple with mourning, faith and position.
- In Thailand, purple is worn by widows as a color of mourning.
- In Tibet, amethyst is considered a sacred color associated with Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.
- In the Roman Empire, the emperor was often referred to as “the purple,” a name derived from the color of the emperor’s robes. The color was reserved specifically for the emperor, and the wearing of purple or even the sale of purple cloth was a crime punishable by death.
- In Japan, the color purple signifies wealth and position.
- In Egypt, purple denotes faith and virtue.
- In Iran, purple is thought to represent what is to come.