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Difference Between Violet and Purple

violet-pdViolet vs Purple

It’s not always easy to define the difference between violet and purple. There is a lot of differing information regarding color. In order to really understand the difference, it has to be broken down to a scientific level.

Violet, which is scientifically labeled as a spectral color, is actually a lighter shade than purple. A spectral color can be found through spectrums. When you hold up a prism and cast little rainbows around the room, you are creating the spectral colors. This makes it much more difficult (nearly impossible really) for even the most specialized of computers to reflect the true shade of violet.

On the other hand, we can simply make the color purple. We do this by adding a little bit of red to the natural violet color. As a non-spectral color, we can develop purple easily, whether we are reproducing it with paints or if we are trying to develop a technological representation. We can use red and blue in different intensities through a computer program to create the color purple. We can create a light purple with lower intensities, and a deeper purple with higher intensities.

When Newton created the color wheel, purple was not represented at all. Violet was simply seated directly next to red. While we have since changed the color wheel, violet remains an illusive shade.

We have culturally changed the identification of the color violet with the color purple, in many instances. This is most likely because it is much easier to create purple than to create violet.

Purple flowers are often misrepresented. Many claim that the purple orchid is the color violet, yet it is, in fact, an actual purple.

There is only one shade of violet, while there are many shades of purple. From pansy purple to mulberry, the purple spectrum runs numerous shades deep. There is only one original violet color.

Purple is also chosen as a color of high honor. In religious ceremonies and celebrations, as well as for many long standing institutions of academia, purple signifies intense achievement.


1. Violet is a spectral color.

2. Purple can be made, and is a not spectral color.

3. Newton did not recognize the color purple in his color wheel.

4. Purple is often assigned as violet to ease confusion.

5. Purple comes in numerous shades.

6. Violet is a single shade.

7. Purple holds a place of honor and achievement in religious and academic symbolism.

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