What Color Do Purple and Red Make When Mixed?

Mix of purple and red colors

Red and purple are two very different colors, but they sit close to each other on the color wheel. So, while you might not see them used together in designs often, they have a unique and pleasing color mixture. Yet, the results might vary based on what medium you’re mixing.

So, let’s find out what color purple and red make when mixing paint, along with whether or not that result changes when mixing lights. After all, different types of color mixing rely on different color models.

What Do Purple and Red Make When Mixing Paint?

Red is a primary color and purple is a secondary color. So, when they mix together, they create a tertiary color known as red-purple or red-violet. Many people also refer to this color as magenta, although it’s darker than the magenta you get when mixing lights.

What are Tertiary Colors?

RYB color wheel with primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

Tertiary colors are a combination of a primary color and a secondary color. These two colors are usually close to each other on the color wheel because otherwise, they might create a muddy mixture.

There are six tertiary colors on the RYB color model: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. Based on the names, it’s easy to guess which colors these are mixtures of.

The names make it easy to learn the color wheel, but many artists prefer to use more specific names, such as chartreuse, teal, and amber. In this case, magenta is the more specific name for red-purple.

How to Make Shades and Tints of Red-Purple

Red-purple or magenta gradient background

Red-purple is a beautiful color, so you might want to use it in your art pieces. There are lots of variants of red-purple, which can be made by mixing in other colors.

Mixing Tints

The best way to make a tint of red-purple is to add white. Since white is such a light color, you’ll need to mix in a significant amount before you notice a difference.

Adding more red can lighten the mixture too, but it’s not recommended since purple already has red in it. So, the mixture is already mostly red with a touch of blue.

Mixing Shades

To create a darker shade, you can add a hint of black or blue into the mix. With black paint, less is more. Only use it sparingly to make sure it doesn’t overpower the other colors.

Also, adding too much blue could make the mixture look more blue-purple than red-purple. So, creating a darker mixture can be a little tricky.

Does Red-Purple Have a Meaning?

Colorful magenta flower petals

Since red-purple more commonly goes by ‘magenta,’ it has a well-known meaning. Magenta symbolizes kindness, harmony, and change. It gives off supportive and inspiring feelings, encouraging people to find a sense of balance in their lives.

However, like most colors, magenta has some negative symbolism too. It can sometimes irritate others, likely because its bright, vibrant coloring is a lot to handle. For the most part, it’s uplifting and welcoming, but it can have some downsides depending on who’s looking at it.

Can You Mix Colors to Create Purple and Red?

While purple and red mix together to make red-purple, other colors can mix together to make red and purple too. Purple is an easy color to mix because it’s a secondary color. So, it’s a combination of 50% red and 50% blue.

However, red is a primary color, so you’ll have to do subtractive mixing with the CMYK color model to get it. According to that model, magenta and yellow mix together to create red.

What Do Purple and Red Make When Mixing Lights?

CMYK vs RGB color wheels

Mixing colored lights is a lot trickier because it uses the RGB color spectrum. On there, red is still a primary color, but purple is now a tertiary color. Tertiary colors are rarely mixed with other colors. When it comes to lights, purple is usually referred to as violet instead.

In the RGB color model, red and blue make magenta instead of purple. Then, purple is made by mixing magenta and blue together. So, if you add red to purple, you will go back to a nice magenta mixture, brighter than the one you get with paint.

Understanding Light Mixtures

Mixing lights is a lot different than mixing paint. Not only are you using a different color model, but you’re also adding the colors on top of each other instead of swirling them together. In lights, all colors are made by mixing blue, red, and green at different brightnesses.

Purple in lights is usually bright blue and red with only a little bit of green mixed in. Of course, this varies based on the type of purple you want. Yet, when you add more red into the mixture, that means the red’s brightness will increase, changing the color back to magenta or pink.

As mentioned earlier, red and blue make magenta in lights. Adding a little more blue to magenta creates violet, so adding red to violet will create an even mix of red and blue again, which is magenta. Thus, mixing red and purple in lights isn’t practical, but it can help you get a better idea of how the RGB color model works.

How Do Our Eyes Perceive Color?

Visible light spectrum diagram

We see colors everywhere we go, but a lot happens in order for our eyes to see those colors. It has a lot to do with the wavelengths on the visible light spectrum, which includes the colors you normally see in a rainbow. Violet is at one end of the spectrum, and it has short frequent wavelengths. Then, red is at the other end of the spectrum, and it has long wavelengths.

An object’s properties determine which wavelengths will be absorbed into it and which ones will reflect off it. For example, grapes often look purple because violet is the only color that reflects off them. Other colors like red, blue, cyan, green, yellow, and orange are all absorbed instead. So, only short, purple wavelengths are reflected toward your eyes to help you perceive the color.

In your eyes, there are cone and rod cells, which help your vision respond to colors. Cone cells work best in bright lights, while rods are more sensitive and see colors better in dim lights. Both cell types work together to help you see colors no matter the lighting. Animals see colors in a similar way to us, but humans usually have the best color vision. Although, these animals may see more colors than us.

Purple vs. Violet

Hex: #800080
RGB: 128, 0, 128
CMYK: 0, 100, 0, 50

Hex: #8F00FF
RGB: 143, 0, 255
CMYK: 44, 100, 0, 0

Purple and violet are sometimes used interchangeably for the same color. In painting, it’s usually called purple while lights call it violet instead. However, by definition, these two colors are slightly different.

Purple is supposed to be a 50/50 mixture of red and blue. Yet, violet is described as having a little more blue than red. It’s a very minor difference, but it’s easy to notice when you see the two colors side by side.

Do Purple and Red Go Together?

red and violet living room

Usually, two colors close to each other on the color wheel are commonly used together in design. That’s not the case with red and purple. Magenta looks great with both colors, but red and purple tend to clash with each other. This can happen because red is a warm color while purple is a cool color. Warm and cool colors sometimes conflict because they provoke different feelings.

Yet, red and purple can look great together when designed well. Since they’re not a combination you see often, they’re sure to catch your eye. The best way to create a soothing design with these colors is to use lots of purple but then add red accents here and there. This can work well for both art pieces and room designs.

So, despite popular belief, red and purple can go really well together. Just make sure you put a lot of thought into your design before executing it. Consider the meanings of red and purple and how they might clash. Mixing red and purple hair dye has also been known to create a unique effect when done correctly.

Do Red and Purple Always Make Magenta?

Whether you’re mixing with paint, ink, or lights, red and purple will make some type of red-purple or magenta. This might not sound shocking, but when you look at other color mixes, the results can vary. That’s because paints use red, yellow, and blue for primary colors, while lights use red, green, and blue instead. So, the mixtures aren’t always consistent.

For example, mixing red and green creates brown paint but yellow lights. Also, red and blue make purple in painting, but they make magenta in lights. So, it’s unlikely that the results will be the same for every medium. Yet, red and purple are an exception.

Even though red and purple sit close to each other on the color wheel, they’re very different colors. However, they can work beautifully together in certain designs. Magenta is also a wonderful color to use despite being unfamiliar to many. So, consider branching out and exploring new colors in your art pieces and designs.