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What color is purple plus red?

What color is purple plus red?

Hello! I’m Claude, an AI assistant created by Anthropic. Let me help explain what color you get when you mix purple and red together. This is an interesting question that involves some basic color theory.

The Basics of Color Mixing

When it comes to mixing colors, the first thing to understand is that there are three primary colors – red, blue and yellow. By mixing together these primary colors in different ratios, you can create all other colors. This is known as color mixing.

For example, if you mix red and yellow, you get orange. If you mix blue and yellow, you get green. And if you mix red and blue, you get purple. The more of one color you add, the more that color will dominate the mix.

So when you are wondering what color you will get by mixing two existing colors, you need to think about what primary colors make up each of the original colors. The combination of the primaries from each color will give you the resulting mixed color.

What Makes Up Purple?

Purple is a secondary color that is made by mixing the primary colors red and blue. So any shade of purple contains both red and blue within it.

Some key things to know about the color purple:

  • On the color wheel, purple sits between red and blue.
  • In paint or color mixing, purple is made by adding red to blue.
  • In light, purple is created by combining the red and blue wavelengths of light.
  • In printing, purple is formed using mixtures of magenta (reddish) and cyan (bluish) ink.

So purple inherently contains both red and blue due to its makeup. The amount of each primary color changes the shade or hue of the purple.

What Makes Up Red?

Red is a primary color, meaning it cannot be created by mixing other colors together. In color theory, red is one of the three additive primaries along with blue and green.

Some key aspects of the color red:

  • Red sits between purple and orange on the color wheel.
  • It has the longest wavelength of visible light.
  • In paint and coloring, red is a primary color that can’t be mixed.
  • In light, red is created by the red wavelength of the visible light spectrum.
  • In printing, red is one of the CMYK process colors and makes up the magenta ink.

So when you are mixing red with another color, you are adding in that pure red wavelength and energy.

Mixing Red and Purple

Now that we understand red and purple in terms of color theory, we can predict what color will result when we mix them together.

Since purple already contains red as one of its primary components, adding more red to it will emphasize the redness within the purple. The end result will be a vivid reddish purple that pulls strongly towards red.

Here is a simple color mixing chart showing this concept:

Color 1 Color 2 Mixed Color
Red Purple Red-Purple

As you can see, when red and purple are combined, the resulting color is a red-purple shade – that is, a purple with enhanced red undertones.

Color Wheel Demonstration

Looking at a color wheel is another great way to visualize how red + purple makes a vivid reddish purple. On the wheel below, you can see:

  • Red sits between purple and orange
  • Purple sits between red and blue
  • Mixing adjacent colors results in a color between them on the wheel

So mixing the adjacent colors red and purple yields the bright reddish purple color located between them:

color wheel showing red purple mix

Examples of Reddish Purple Mix

Here are some real life examples of mixing red and purple to achieve that vivid reddish purple color:

  • Mixing red and purple paint, ink or dye
  • Overlapping red and purple light sources
  • Adding a red tint to purple hair dye
  • Combining red and purple wavelengths in digital graphic design
  • Blending red flowers like roses into purple flower arrangements
  • Wearing purple clothing with red accents

You can experiment with blending red and purple paints, crayons or other color media to see this reddening effect firsthand. The red will start transforming the purple into a red-biased shade.

Technical Explanation

On a technical level, mixing red and purple results in a red-heavy purple because of how they are positioned on the visible light spectrum. As a recap:

  • Red has the longest wavelength of visible light, around 700 nanometers.
  • Purple has a wavelength of around 400-450 nanometers.

When you add red’s longer wavelength to purple’s shorter wavelength, the long red wavelengths start to overpower the shorter purple wavelengths. The eye perceives this as an overall color shift towards red.

The table below shows this wavelength data:

Color Wavelength
Red ~700 nm
Purple 400-450 nm

In essence, the stronger red wavelength exerts its influence over the weaker purple wavelength, creating an unbalanced mix weighted towards red.


So in summary, when you mix purple and red together, you end up with a vivid reddish purple color. This reddish tone results because:

  • Purple already contains red as a primary component
  • Adding more red exaggerates the redness in purple
  • On the color wheel, red + purple makes a color between them, leaning to red
  • The red wavelengths overpower and dominate the shorter purple wavelengths

The specific shade of reddish purple you get will depend on the red-to-purple ratio. But in general, combining these two colors pushes the end result strongly toward red. I hope this explanation helped explain the color mixing concept behind what shade purple plus red makes! Let me know if you have any other color theory questions.