And so we arrive at our first secondary color. A beautiful mixture of red and blue, purple sits exactly halfway between the two on the color wheel, though varying each amount can result in new shades.
The word for purple is an entry in a long linguistic chain of variation, from the Old English purpul, the Latin purpura, and the Greek πορφύρα or porphura. The last describes a purple dye manufactured in the classical era in Tyre. This era, spanning from eighth century BC to sixth century AD, prized this purple dye for its persistence, as it became brighter with exposure to sunlight and weathering rather than fading as many colors did. It’s even been suggested that Phoenicia itself means “land of purple!”
True to its red parent color, purple is often associated with luxury and power. However, as opposed to red’s tendency to reflect the material facets of power and ambition, purple errs towards royalty and nobility. The blue tones bring in a sense of relaxation and stability, which alongside the energy of red synthesizes to create a feeling of wisdom and good sense.
In a similar vein, purple has a long-standing association with dignity. Just as history depicts the most influential royals wearing purple robes, so too has it been used for public officials, honored military veterans, so on and so forth. Purple represents independence and grace, and as such should be used accordingly.
Purple is also commonly associated with mysticism and magic. This color can be used to impart a sense of the unknown, of curiosity and mystery. Similarly, purple often inspires creativity. Having purple near you can spark new ideas, as well as the passion and fulfillment that may call out for them about in the first place.
In another physiological sense, purple has a calming effect on the mind and body. While it is often uplifting and inspiring, the blue undertones also ensure a soothing effect is felt, lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
As with all colors, the meaning of purple fluctuates with its shade. Lighter shades of purple shift towards feminine or romantic energies, likely due to their red underpinnings becoming more prominent. As such, they also convey dreamlike feelings of nostalgia. Brighter, richer purple is associated with nobility and status. Darker shades, however, can represent sadness and frustration, especially when blue begins to overtake the red.