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Red-violet is the name that, depending on the context, applies to one or another type of non-spectral purple color. In this article we shall adhere—unless otherwise indicated—to the web color standard, which places the hue of red-violet at a certain point between the hues of magenta and red (though somewhat closer to the former than to the latter). Both its saturation and brightness falling short of 100 %, red-violet is not a pure chroma. There is a color of very similar hue that, however, is a pure chroma: process magenta. On the other hand, the pure chroma composed of equal parts of magenta and red is called rose.

In the usage of artists, red-violet is equivalent to purple. However, although the color "purple" is inaccurately used by many people as a synonym for violet or a color close to violet, professional artists generally use the term "purple" to specifically refer to a color that is equivalent to red-violet in order to give themselves a larger and more balanced palette to work with.

The Munsell color system also refers to red-violet as purple; actually in the Munsell color system, this color at the maximum chroma of 12 is called Red-Purple. This convention is for chromatic purposes, since Red-Purple lies between violet and printer's magenta (the color regarded as magenta before the invention of the color electric magenta for computer displays).

Relationship of red-violet to other colors

Red-violet is part of the red "analogous color group", which also includes magenta, red, red-orange, orange, gold, and yellow, i.e. those colors classified as "Warm colors", or colors that produces a feeling of warmth (as opposed to "cool colors").

The color that is the complement of red-violet does not seem to have a standard name, at least among non-proprietary standards. However, it lies between green and spring green, though closer to the latter. It is very close to sea green, but fully saturated and bright, and of a hue that is slightly less spring-green and more pure green than in the case of sea-green.

In some traditional usage, red-violet is the name given to an intermediate or tertiary color that, along with yellow-orange (gold) and also green-blue (cyan), forms a color wheel triad group. However, most contemporary usage would use magenta as the name for the tertiary color in question.

Variations of red-violet or artist's purple

Pigment purple (pigment red-violet) (web color medium violet red)

Pigment purple (pigment red-violet) represents the way the color purple (red-violet) was always reproduced in pigments, paints, or colored pencils in the 1950s. This color is displayed at right and identical to the web color medium violet red.

By the 1970s, because of the advent of psychedelic art, artists became used to brighter pigments, and pigments called "Purple" or "Red-Violet" that are the pigment equivalent of the electric purple reproduced in the section below became available in artists pigments and colored pencils. Reproducing the electric purple below in pigment requires adding some white pigment to red-violet pigment.

Electric purple (electric red-violet)

Since using computers, it is possible to create a much brighter purple than with pigment, the equivalent color on a computer to the pigment color red-violet shown above would be electric purple, i.e. the much brighter purple you can see reproduced on the screen of an electronic computer. This color is pure purple conceived as computer artists conceive it, as the pure chroma on the computer screen color wheel between electric violet and electric magenta.

Psychedelic purple

The pure essence of purple was approximated in pigment in the late 1960s by mixing fluorescent magenta and fluorescent blue pigments together to paint psychedelic black light paintings. This shade of purple was very popular among the hippies and it was the favorite color of Jimi Hendrix and therefore it is called psychedelic purple. It is shaded somewhat more toward the magenta than electric purple and it is displayed in the color box at right.

In the 1980s there was a Jimi Hendrix Museum in a Victorian house on the east side of Central Ave. one half block south of Haight Street in the Haight-Ashburymarker neighborhood of San Franciscomarker which was painted this color.

Medium red-violet

The color medium red-violet is displayed at right.

This is the color called red-violet in Crayola crayons.

Pale red-violet (web color pale violet red)

The color pale red-violet (identical to the web color pale violet red) is displayed at right.

This color is a pale shade of red-violet.

Jazzberry jam

The color jazzberry jam is displayed at right.

This color, a deep shade of red-violet, was formulated by Crayola crayons in 2003.


Eggplant is a dark purple or brownish-purple color that resembles the color of the outer skin of European eggplants. Another name for the color eggplant is aubergine (the French and English UK word for eggplant).

The grayish-red-violet color shown in the color box as eggplant was introduced by Crayola in 1998.


See also

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