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How many types of purple are there?

How many types of purple are there?

Purple is a color that exudes royalty, mystery, and creativity. It’s a color found frequently in nature that captures our attention and imagination. But did you know there are actually multiple types and shades of the color purple? In this article, we’ll explore the different categories and variations of purple hues. From light lavenders to deep eggplants, there’s a whole spectrum of purple for every taste and purpose. We’ll also look at the history and symbolism of the color purple. So whether you’re an artist looking to expand your palette or just curious about this enigmatic color, read on to uncover all the shades of purple and their unique qualities.

Primary Purple

The primary purple is the base shade that all other purples stem from. On the color wheel, primary purple is made by mixing red and blue. This results in a rich, balanced purple hue right in the middle of the cool and warm sides of the color wheel. The primary purple is often called true purple or just simply purple.

Some examples of primary purple are:

Hex Code #800080
RGB 128, 0, 128
CMYK 50, 100, 0, 0

Primary purple has a stability and versatility that allows it to work in many contexts. It’s an ideal choice for logos, branding, websites, packaging, and graphic design.

Secondary Purples

The secondary purples are created by mixing primary purple with either the adjacent colors on the color wheel, red and blue. This results in two shades – reddish purple and blueish purple.

Reddish Purple

Reddish purple sits between primary purple and magenta on the color wheel. It pulls more towards the warmer, red tones.

Some examples of reddish purple:

Hex Code #9932CC
RGB 153, 50, 204
CMYK 25, 75, 0, 20

Reddish purples are bold and eye-catching. They have an uplifting, energizing effect. Use them when you want to capture attention and arouse passion. Reddish purples pair nicely with yellows and oranges.

Blueish Purple

Blueish purple leans towards the cooler, blue side of the color wheel. It’s between primary purple and blue.

Some examples of blueish purple:

Hex Code #666699
RGB 102, 102, 153
CMYK 33, 33, 0, 40

Blueish purples have a calm, tranquilfeeling. They create a soothing, meditative mood. Use blueish purples when you want to relax the mind and reduce stress. Blueish purples complement greens and yellows.

Tertiary Purples

Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with an adjacent secondary color, creating more nuanced hues. For purple, this results in red-purple and blue-purple shades:


Red-purple is between primary purple and reddish purple. It’s a warmer, bolder variation of primary purple.

Some examples of red-purple:

Hex Code #990099
RGB 153, 0, 153
CMYK 0, 100, 0, 40

Use red-purple when you want the stability of primary purple with extra vibrancy and punch. It stimulates energy and creativity. Pair it with yellows, oranges, and greens.


Blue-purple mixes primary purple with blueish purple, creating a cooler, softer variation.

Some examples of blue-purple:

Hex Code #6666CC
RGB 102, 102, 204
CMYK 50, 50, 0, 20

Blue-purple is tranquil, gentle and graceful. Use it to create a soothing background or when you want subtlety. It works well with greens, pinks, and warmer neutrals.

Shades of Purple

Shades are created by adding black to a color, making it darker. With purple, this produces a range of rich, deep hues.

Dark Purple

Dark purple has a muted, mysterious feeling. It’s associated with power, ambition, and luxury.

Some examples of dark purple:

Hex Code #301934
RGB 48, 25, 52
CMYK 71, 60, 23, 81

Use dark purple when you want to create an elegant, upscale look. It works well for formal events, luxe branding, Gothic themes, or to symbolize wealth and exclusivity.


Eggplant is a very deep shade of purple, almost black. It has a sophisticated, sleek look.

Some examples of eggplant:

Hex Code #4D084B
RGB 77, 8, 75
CMYK 90, 95, 6, 70

Eggplant pairs well with lighter purples and grays. Use it when you want a color that’s neutral but more interesting than black. It’s ideal for professional settings.

Tints of Purple

Tints lighten a color by adding white. With purple, tints produce soft, delicate pastel hues.


Lavender is a light, floral purple with soothing, romantic overtones.

Some examples of lavender:

Hex Code #B57EDC
RGB 181, 126, 220
CMYK 18, 43, 0, 14

Use lavender to create a feminine, whimsical feeling. It’s perfect for springtime themes, girls’ products, or weddings. Lavender conveys innocence and youthfulness.


Lilac is a pale violet shade associated with new beginnings.

Some examples of lilac:

Hex Code #CEA2FD
RGB 206, 162, 253
CMYK 19, 36, 0, 1

Lilac has a fresh, uplifting feeling. Use it to suggest youth, romance, and femininity. It works well for spring themes. Pair lilac with darker purples and blues.

Tones of Purple

Tones are produced by adding gray to a color, creating muted, softer hues. These tone down the intensity of purple for more subtle effects.


Mauve is a dusty purple tone with antique, vintage vibes.

Some examples of mauve:

Hex Code #CA9BC8
RGB 202, 155, 200
CMYK 19, 23, 0, 21

Mauve works well in retro-style designs. Use it to give a modern color palette a classic twist. Pair mauve with deeper plums and grays.


Thistle is a grayish purple tone. It’s subtle and reserved.

Some examples of thistle:

Hex Code #D8BFD8
RGB 216, 191, 216
CMYK 11, 12, 0, 15

Thistle has an air of humility and spirituality. It works well in designs related to religion, modesty, or history. Pair it with lighter tints and white space.


As we’ve seen, purple is far from a one-dimensional color. There are countless shades, tints, and tones to discover – from the deepest eggplants to the lightest lilacs. Whether you’re looking to energize, soothe, inspire, or impress, there’s a purple hue for every application. The key is choosing the right variation for your specific needs and audience. Pay attention to how different purples make you feel. Try out some new shades in your designs. And don’t be afraid to pair purple with unexpected colors for unique effects. So embrace the full spectrum of purple – it has something for every project, season, and aesthetic.