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What does purple and green together make?

What does purple and green together make?

When it comes to color mixing, purple and green are considered complementary colors. This means they are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. When complementary colors are combined, they have the ability to make each other appear brighter, bolder, and more vibrant. Mixing purple and green results in a rich, bold secondary color that can be interpreted in different ways depending on the exact shades used.

The Color Wheel

On the traditional RYB (red, yellow, blue) color wheel used by artists and designers, purple sits opposite green. Purple is made by mixing red and blue, while green is made by mixing yellow and blue. Since purple contains no yellow and green contains no red, they complement one another. Other pairs of complementary colors include red/green, blue/orange, and yellow/violet.

The principle of combining complementary colors applies to all different shades and tints of purple and green. For example, reddish purple complements yellowish green, while bluish purple complements blueish green. No matter the exact shades, all purples have a complementary relationship with all greens.

Color Mixing and Theory

When complementary colors are mixed together, they have the unique effect of neutralizing or graying each other out. This is because they contain no common pigments between them. For example, mixing equal parts purple and green will result in a gray or brown tone. The more colors that are mixed, the murkier the color becomes.

While neutralized complementary colors create a muted effect, that does not mean they cannot be used successfully together. In fact, placing complements side-by-side actually creates more vibrancy and contrast. The red undertones in purple help make greens look crisper, while the yellow undertones in green help make purples pop. This combination is often seen in nature, with purple flowers complemented by green foliage.

On the color spectrum, purple and green are also equidistant from neutral gray. This symmetry and balance is aesthetically pleasing. Designers frequently use complementary color schemes for this harmonious effect. The contrast adds visual interest without being overpowering.

Mixing Paint Pigments

When physically combining purple and green paints, inks, dyes, or pigments, the resulting secondary colors can vary based on the exact hues used. For example:

  • Mixing a red-based purple with a yellow-based green will produce a brown tone.
  • Mixing a blue-based purple with a blue-based green will result in a more neutral dark gray or black tone.
  • Mixing a blue-based purple with a yellow-based green can produce an earthy olive or khaki color.

The following table shows some examples of specific shades of purple and green and the secondary colors that result when mixing them.

Purple Green Mixed Color
Violet Lime green Muddy brown
Lavender Forest green Dull olive green
Royal purple Sea green Dark teal green
Magenta Sage green Murky grayish tan

As shown, mixing bright, saturated shades usually results in brownish earth tones. Mixing dull, desaturated shades creates more grayed-out muted tones. The resulting secondary color can be hard to predict and depends on the unique properties of the pigments used.

Light and Color Perception

Our perception of color is influenced by lighting conditions. Colors can appear differently under incandescent, fluorescent, or natural daylight. This affects how we see blended complementary colors.

Under bright white light, the secondary colors made by mixing purple and green appear brown, muted, or grayed out. However in colored lighting conditions, altered wavelengths can cause unexpected effects. For example, under red light, mixes of purple and green may take on a black, vampy look. Under blue light, the same mix may look bright and psychedelic.

Optical illusions also demonstrate the interplay between complements. After staring at a bright green shape for a period of time, our eyes perceive its ghostly afterimage as purple when we look away. This demonstrates how the cones in our eyes fatigue and adapt to color.

Digital Mixing of Purple and Green

On digital screens emitting colored light, mixing purple and green results in different effects than when mixing physical pigments. While pigments subtract wavelengths to create new colors, colored light mixes additively. Rather than canceling each other out, complement pairs like purple and green boost their brightness levels when combined digitally.

However, the combination of light wavelengths in the purple + green mix depends on the RGB values used. Mixing RGB purples and greens at full saturation will typically produce a light yellowish chartreuse tone. Here are some examples of RGB mixes between purple and green:

Purple RGB Green RGB Mixed RGB Mixed Color
(80, 0, 80) (0, 80, 0) (80, 80, 80) Medium gray
(128, 0, 128) (0, 128, 0) (128, 128, 128) Light gray
(160, 32, 240) (32, 240, 120) (192, 240, 255) Very light yellow green

With digital color mixing, colors get lighter and brighter as more light is transmitted. This makes purple and green powerful complements for vibrant, glowing effects on screens.

Psychology of Purple and Green

Color psychology attributes certain emotional qualities and meanings to different hues. These color associations inform how we respond to mixtures of purple and green.

Purple conjures feelings of creativity, imagination, and spirituality. It represents royalty, luxury, and ambition. Meanwhile, green evokes feelings of balance, growth, and renewal. It represents nature, health, and the environment.

When combined intuitively, purple and green can take on symbolic meaning related to these qualities. For example, violet flowers and green foliage represent growth and renewal in nature. Green plant forms rising against a purple sky can symbolize ambition and imagination. These color combinations evoke unique reactions in viewers.

Uses of Mixed Purple and Green

While brownish or dull mixes of purple of green may not seem aesthetically appealing, these earthy secondaries have many practical uses. Purple-green mixes create useful camouflage tones. Olive and khaki greens blend into many natural environments. Combining small amounts of purple into green military or hunting gear helps break up the solid green pattern.

On the fashion front, shades like amethyst, violet, and lilac pair beautifully with mint, sage, and seafoam greens. These combinations reference creativity and nature for fun springtime looks. Adding green accents to purple makeup is also on trend, creating a vibrant, fantasy style.

For home decor, blending complementary purples and greens creates bold, harmonious schemes. Painting walls in rich purple tones and adding green accents through pillows, artwork, and furniture provides contrast and interest. The secondary colors work for any room and design aesthetic.

In graphic design and digital media, mixing bright complementary purples and greens makes images pop off the screen. This lively color scheme attracts attention and imbues energy.


While purple and green together may visually blend into brownish tones, their complementary relationship allows them to brighten and accentuate one another in vivid ways. Whether in nature, art, fashion, or decor, purple and green provide a bold pairing that is aesthetically pleasing, symbolic, and stimulating.