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Different Meanings of the Color Purple

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/31/2010

Colors can stir emotions and often have significant connotations. Purple is no different. If you are thinking about using a shade of this hue in your publication's color scheme, you may want to learn the meaning of the color purple before you begin.

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    Different Hues of Purple

    Just as the color can be found in an array of hues and materials, so does the meaning of the color purple vary. Learn about some of these various connotations so that you can best use purple in your desktop publications.

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    Meanings of Purple in Nature

    Lavender 

    There are a great deal of purple jewels and gemstones, such as amethysts, tanzanite and topaz. While each stone has its own meaning, purple gemstones in general are thought to increase one's imagination, ignite a love for learning and provide peace.This might make purple an ideal color for a back to school card.

    Of course, if you are making a birthday-related publication, you cannot go wrong using purple for a February or December baby, whose birthstones are amethyst and tanzanite, respectively.

    Purple flowers and herbs, such as violets, lavender and chamomile, tend to be soothing and healing. A purple "Get Well" sign may be just what a friend or loved one needs to feel comforted.

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    Biblical Meanings of Purple

    Purple cloth 

    Throughout the Bible, purple was worn by people of wealth, royalty and stature. Before Jesus was crucified, the soldiers dressed him in a purple robe and placed a crown of thorns on his head to mock him as "King of the Jews." Jesus also told a parable about a "certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day."

    You may wish to use a deep, regal purple for an event honoring someone in high standing or to provide a rich feel to an occasion.

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    Emotional Meanings of Purple

    Purple hearts 

    People who wear purple typically want to be noticed, whether consciously or subconsciously. Because purple is unusual, it evokes feelings of individuality. Especially dark hues of purple tend to denote gloom or even sorrow, perhaps due to the evocation of a stormy night sky. Purple can also feel flirty, feminine and romantic when used in the proper setting.

    Bright purple is ideal for an attention-grabbing flyer or poster. Used in a logo, it can suggest a uniqueness about the company or brand. Dark purple may be better suited for a sympathy card or similar type of publication. When using purple for an amorous publication, stick with a shade with pink undertones.

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    Historical Meanings of Purple

    In Elizabethan times, law dictated those who could and could not wear the color purple. Clothing accented with this color meant that the wearer was someone of either wealth, high social standing, or both.

    Roman emporers wore purple to display their eminence, as well. The Caesars were so found of the color that the imperial Roman clan designated purple as the royal color. In fact, only the Roman emperor was allowed to wear purple silk embroidered with gold. Those who broke this rule could be punished by death.

    If you wish to make someone feel very special, you may want to use a deep purple hue accented with gold on your publication. Purple would also be an appropriate color choice used in a sign or logo for a luxurious spa or hotel.

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