Skip to Content

What is a purplish blue?

What is a purplish blue?

A purplish blue is a color that combines the vibrancy of purple with the cool tones of blue. It sits between the two colors on the color wheel and has shades ranging from lavender to periwinkle. Purplish blues often evoke a sense of tranquility and imagination. In nature, purplish blue hues can be found in things like hydrangea flowers, bluebells, twilight skies, and peacock feathers. This color blend is simultaneously soothing and mystical.

Defining Purplish Blue

Purplish blue is not technically a distinct color, but rather a description of various shades that mix blue and purple. On the RGB color model, it includes any tones made by combining sizable amounts of blue and red light. On the CMYK model, it is made by mixing substantial percentages of cyan and magenta ink.

Purplish blue sits between violet and blue on the color wheel. It incorporates the calmness of blue with the royal elegance of purple. This results in relaxed, mystical shades. They are cooler and brighter than pure purple, taking on a vibrant lavender quality.

Shades of Purplish Blue

There are many diverse shades of purplish blue, spanning the spectrum from light pastel to deep indigo. Here are some of the most common variations:

Periwinkle – A very pale purplish blue with a slightly grayish tint. Periwinkle is named after the flower, which boasts a similar muted blue-violet color.

Lavender – A light, soft purplish blue that takes its name from the flowers of the lavender plant. It has a very gentle, floral appearance.

Cornflower – A medium purplish blue with hints of gray. Cornflowers feature this vibrant blue-lilac hue.

Iris – A medium, slightly desaturated purplish blue inspired by the color of irises. It is more muted than lavender.

Blue-Violet – A vivid reddish purple that leans closer to blue than red on the color wheel. It pops more than lavender.

Han Purple – A grayish, antiqued looking purplish blue that was prevalent in ancient Chinese pottery glazes.

Slate Blue – A dusky, deep purplish blue reminiscent of polished slate stone. It is much darker than the lighter pastel shades.

Natural Occurrences

Purplish blue hues occur frequently in the natural world. They can be observed in:

– Hydrangea flowers: The colorful blooms of hydrangea bushes trend toward purplish blue shades.

– Bluebells: These woodland flowers produce signature bluish purple buds.

– Peacock feathers: Some of the iridescent feathers on peacocks’ tails have a vivid violet-blue sheen.

– Blue jays: The crests and wing feathers on these songbirds have purplish blue highlights.

– Twilight skies: As the sun sets, lingering light often casts the sky in soft shades of periwinkle and lavender.

– Plums: Depending on the variety, plum skins take on hues ranging from deep purple to purplish blue.

– Amethyst geodes: The purple quartz crystals found in geodes can lean slightly towards blue.

– Butterfly wings: Butterflies like the karner blue feature stunning iridescent purplish blue wing scales.

Psychology of Purplish Blue

In color psychology, shades of purplish blue are seen as tranquil and mystical. The coolness of blue makes them feel serene and relaxed. Blue also represents openness and imagination. The touch of purple adds a sense of royalty, luxury, and spirituality.

Lighter purplish blues like periwinkle and lavender symbolize spring and femininity. They bring to mind freshness and delicacy. Darker slate blues seem wise and traditional with their grayish antique appearance. Vivid purplish blues like cornflower and iris inspire creativity and innovation.

So in summary, purplish blues balance peaceful calm with intriguing mystery. This makes them ideal for promoting intuition, nostalgia, inventiveness, and tranquility. They work well in settings like spas, antique shops, spiritual centers, and nature retreats.

Uses and Applications

Purplish blue is widely utilized for its relaxing yet thought-provoking qualities. Some common applications include:

Interiors – Decorators often incorporate purplish blues like lavender or periwinkle into bedroom color schemes for their soothing ambiance. These shades can help create a comforting, dreamy retreat.

Landscaping – Purple and blue flowers add tranquil splashes of color to gardens. Varieties like hydrangeas, irises, and bluebells provide mesmerizing purplish blue tones.

Clothing – In fashion, purplish blues lend elegance and mystique to designs. Cornflower, iris, and han purple are tasteful options for dresses, blouses, or accessories.

Cosmetics – Make-up products like eye shadows, lipsticks, and nail polishes frequently come in lavender, periwinkle, and related hues. These shades complement many complexions.

Weddings – Brides often select purplish blue for wedding color palettes since it pairs nicely with traditional white dresses. Periwinkle, lavender, and cornflower suit this application.

Branding – Companies can harness the innovative spirit of purplish blues for branding. These hues suggest forward-thinking creativity.

Healthcare – Due to their stress-relieving nature, purplish blues adorn hospitals, doctor’s offices, and mental health facilities. The colors impart a peaceful ambiance.

Cultural Associations

In different cultures around the world, purplish blue has various symbolic meanings. Some key associations include:

– In China, blue-violet purplish shades represent spirituality, contemplation, and immortality.

– In ancient Egypt, a type of han purple symbolized nobility, honor, and prosperity when worn by pharaohs.

– In Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, purplish blues conveyed royalty, piety, and creativity as worn by kings, clerics, and artists.

– In Hindu culture, purplish dark blues represent intuition and inner vision. Deeper shades are connected with the god Krishna.

– In New Zealand Maori culture, purplish blues and violets embody spiritual life force and energy from ancestors.

– In Mexico, a Maya blue-violet pigment was important in art and architecture as it represented sacred forces and the transitory nature of life.


With their enigmatic magnetism and peaceful aura, purplish blues continue to fascinate. These magical color combinations bridge the gap between the spirituality of purple and the tranquility of blue. They are at once nostalgic and forward-thinking. Purplish blue shades ranging from gentle lavender to bold iris grace our world with beauty, creativity, and imagination. So the next time you admire a hydrangea, glimpse the twilit sky, or feel transported by a purplish blue, reflect on its power to soothe, inspire, and energize.