The Colour Purple

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Back in February I took you through the colour wheel in the post, Exploring Colour. You would have learned there that purple is a secondary colour combining red and blue. It’s complimentary colour is yellow. Thus, when you mix yellow and purple together in equal parts, you get the neutral colour, brown.

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To clarify, purple is not the same as violet. Violet is slightly closer to blue on the colour wheel, but more importantly, violet is a pure spectrum colour. This means that violet has its own wavelength in the visible spectrum of light, the same violet you find when the sun comes out revealing the rainbow after the rain.

To learn more about visible colour spectrums, click here.

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Purple is known to be a colour of royalty. Think Empires, Emperors, and even Bishops from the Roman Catholic Churches. Why was this such a high end colour, you may ask? Well, let’s look at it’s origins for clues. Purple first showed up in prehistoric times in caveman paintings, these paintings were coloured using manganese and hematite minerals. Commercially however, purple dye was first discovered way back around 1570 B.C. by the Phoenicians. Known as Tyrian Purple, it is the colour that is formed when the secretion from predatory sea snails, from the Mediterranean Sea, is exposed to air.

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It was said to be so valuable because they often needed tens of thousands of the little snails and many hours of labour to produce the dye. This dye did not fade with time, but only got better and brighter as it aged. Its impact was so significant that Phoenicia means land of purple.

To learn more about this Tyrian Purple dye, click here.

In nature, purple is the colour of blackberries, cabbage, grapes, eggplants, and flora and fauna galore.

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In psychologically purple represents creativity, fantasy, intuition, selflessness, passion, power, respect, leadership, ambition and confidence to name a few.

I will never forget back in high school the head boy and head girl had to wear purple blazers. I’m not talking deep, royal purple either, I’m talking about bright, magenta-purple. It was an eye sore, to me at least. Purple can be a very beautiful colour that pulls design together, but if you get it wrong, it will draw everyones attention and highlight a bad desicion. Therefore I recommend in design, use purple wisely. In photography, it is a great way to attract attention, but not as aggressively as red.  In addition, it can be both a  masculine and feminine hue.

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Side note: a super fun sorting game to play with the kids is to have a bucket of legos and have them sift out all the block in one chosen colour to display.

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Where do you see and use purple in the world around you, we would love to know. Share your purple world with us and don’t forget to use the #itsapurpleworld and #itsacolourfulworld so we can follow along.

Cheers from me – your fellow friend of purple,

la

 

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