The color purple was once a royal color, not allowed to be worn by the peasantry. Because purple is a secondary color, formed from the two primary colors of red and blue (or, more accurately, the pigments red and blue), it comes in a variety of shades that most people call purple. This leads to purples that are more red or more blue. Matching purple (and its many shades) depends mostly on determining which end of the color range your shade of purple falls.


Identify your purple. Decide if it is a true, balanced purple or if it has more reddish or bluish undertones.

Match the purple with its undertones. A reddish purple matches with true red while a bluish purple matches with blue. If your purple is more toward a lilac or lavender, it matches with many paler shades of blue. Likewise, if it tends toward fuchsia, try it with pink. Most purples typically match with gray or black.

Contrast your purple by matching it with its color wheel opposite of yellow. This is a popular pairing that tends to be very bright. For this, typically true (or balanced) purple is commonly used.

References and Resources

Color Matters: Color Theory