Understanding color and its impact is essential to making smart color decisions, bridging the gap between what you are trying to communicate and what is actually perceived. We’ve explored this reality with a handful of colors—blue, red, green, yellow, black and white. Let’s now look at the psychology of the color purple and what it means for your business.
Purple is one of the three secondary colors. As a combo of red and blue, it is neither warm nor cool. At the same time, it is simultaneously warm and cool. Purple embodies the balance of red’s stimulation and blue’s calm. This mix can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined, at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. For example, a blue-purple becomes visually cool, while a red-purple is visually warm. With a sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.
All in all, purple communicates in a positive way. It is said to have the power to uplift, calm nerves and encourage creativity, making it an all-inclusive color. All ages, genders and cultures can relate to purple. Here are four specific things that purple communicates.
A universal connection that people make with purple is its association with royalty, nobility, and prestige. Purple was the royal color of the Caesars. In ancient times, the color purple in stained glass was seen as uniting the “wisdom” of blue and the “love” of red, therefore symbolizing justice and royalty. It’s symbolic of wealth and status in Japan.
These notions of royalty cause purple to communicate a sense of value. For this reason, the highest value poker chip ($5,000) is purple.
Purple is also considered sacred, especially in the natural world. In Egypt, purple is symbolic of virtue and faith. In Tibet, the purple stone, amethyst, is considered to be sacred to Buddha. In Christianity, purple is associated with Advent and Lent.
Purple is symbolic of bravery. The purple in the U.S. military Purple Heart award represents courage. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States armed forces who have been wounded in action.
There are very few brands that have chosen purple for its logo identity. “Why?” you may ask. Although royalty and value can be seen as positive associations, they also have negative connotations, and can often communicate in an arrogant way. Another reason is that on the color spectrum, purple lies at the very shortest frequency of wavelengths visible to the human eye. In other words, it can be a difficult color to work with.
This could perhaps be the most famous purple brand. Offering email, news and a search engine, among other things, Yahoo! chose purple to communicate the value of the information they can provide on the web.
The name says it all. This Canadian whiskey brand was first introduced as a tribute to King George VI’s visit to Canada in 1939.
Monster is primarily used to help those seeking work to find job openings that match their skills and location. Their use of purple relates to any age, culture or gender.
With yellow as its complimentary color, purple creates a bold, high frequency palette. The LA Lakers’ color scheme is just one example of this energetic combination.
There are many more associations to make with the color purple. We only touched on a few. The conversation could go on and on about its impact on our minds and attitudes. So, why not continue the conversation? Share some of your experience with purple. Has it been positive or negative? What are some other associations with purple that we didn’t talk about? As you may know, each week we feature a distinct color on our Facebook page. Check out this week’s color of the week and see how it speaks. Look for some examples of purple! Stay tuned as we continue to explore the complex nature of a specific color each month and its impacts on our attitudes within today’s culture and economy.