What Is the Opposite of Purple? (Complementary Color)

Illustration with color wheel and text saying what is the opposite of purple

Opposite colors, or complementary colors, are one of the simplest ways you can completely transform a room, an outfit, a painting, an advertisement, digital art, and much more. They have the power to enhance each other uniquely, evoke a certain attitude or emotion when paired, or even neutralize each other when combined. In particular, you may wish to know the opposite color of purple. As it is such a deep and rich hue, it can benefit immensely from a complementary color alongside it. While many people cite yellow as its opposite, there is actually more than meets the eye! Follow along to learn:

  • Why is the opposite color of purple important?
  • What is the opposite of purple on different color wheels?
  • What are the opposite colors of popular purples?
  • How do you find the correct opposites to specific purples?
  • What are the most popular uses of purples and opposites?

Why Is the Opposite Color of Purple Important?

Bouquet of purple tulips and green leaves.

If you are learning color theory, you may wonder why opposite colors are such an important topic in the world of art and design. When opposites pair together, the photoreceptors in your eye can receive light and color information from each color accurately and simultaneously. The result? The colors not only pop when placed next to each other, but they do so in a very soothing way. If you truly wish purple to stand out, yet not overwhelm your viewer, incorporating its opposite can make all the difference.

Furthermore, the opposite can also evoke or strengthen attitudes, perceptions, behaviors, or emotions. Typically, purple provokes images of spirituality, royalty, mystery, and imagination. Pair it with an opposite and you can point your viewer towards a particular one, or you can call out an aspect of those dimensions such as prestige or luxury.

Additionally, understanding purple and opposite colors can help you if you wish to subdue a particular color or neutralize a color altogether. When painting an art piece or the walls in a room, you may decide you dislike a certain tone in your paint color. If you correctly identify the pigment colors in your purple paint, you can pick the correct opposite and bring down certain purple pigments. If you work with hair color and wish to take out purple tones, you need the correct opposite toner to neutralize the purple. Likewise, if you are trying to cover up purple under-eye bags or bruises, you need the opposite color base to subdue or neutralize these tones from the skin.

What Is the Opposite of Purple?

Although many are quick to state that the opposite of purple is yellow, savvy professionals know that it depends on which color model or color wheel you are using. Depending on the type of media you are working with, you may use a different color wheel. For digital work, RGB will be your color model of choice. For printed work and ink, CMY is the best option. Finally, for basic, physical colors and painting, RYB is an excellent reference.

What Is the Opposite of Purple in RGB?

Closeup of green and purple feathers.

Working with digital media? You may be creating digital art, building web pages, designing online advertising and marketing, putting together videos, or editing photography. In all these instances, understanding the RGB color wheel can be incredibly helpful. RGB stands for the three primary colors on this wheel: red, green, and blue. Digital screens transmit these three colored lights to portray a wide range of colors and intensities. When all colors mix at the same, high intensity (highest brightness), the result is pure white light. Since this is the case, RGB is an additive color model. You can continuously add color and light to a black, non-light transmitting base to achieve vivid colors.

Looking at the RGB color wheel, you may notice purple is not a primary color. It is a mixture of red and blue light (more blue than red). Pure purple, or violet, has 128 red and 255 (full) blue. The opposite of purple in RGB is chartreuse or a yellow-green. Alongside violet, you can find the tertiaries of blue and magenta. Blue’s direct opposite in RGB is yellow while magenta’s opposite is green.

Hex #7FFF00
RGB 127, 255, 0
CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0

What Is the Opposite of Purple in CMY?

Purple and light green balloons.

If you are working with printed art, you should be using the CMY color model. Since RGB works with light transmitted through screens, if these colors print, they will be very different colors than intended. CMY takes into account that you are working with inks or paints, as it is a subtractive color model. It understands that the more saturation (or ink) you add, the less light there will be. As such, your colors are darker than they are with RGB. Likewise, if you combine all the primary colors of CMY (cyan, magenta, and yellow) in full saturation, you will accomplish a very dark brown or black. In fact, most CMY inks include black ink (CMYK) for this reason. It produces a purer black and it is much cheaper than combining colors constantly.

On the CMY color wheel, purple is 50% cyan saturation, 100% magenta saturation, and 0% yellow saturation. Similar to RGB, purple’s opposite in CMY is a yellow-green or chartreuse. However, as discussed, the colors are significantly darker and muted compared to RGB’s vivid colors. Right beside purple, you’ll find magenta; its opposite is green. On the other side, you’ll discover blue whose opposite is yellow.

Hex #7FFF00
RGB 127, 255, 0
CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0

What Is the Opposite of Purple in RYB?

Yellow and purple ink drop in water.

The RYB color model is one of the best choices if you are just learning color theory, color wheels, or art and design techniques. It is a subtractive color model just like CMY. This makes it useful if you are working with physical colors such as dyes, inks, paints, and fabrics. It can also be an excellent choice if you do not need a large array of colors to pull off your project appropriately. It is much more limited in a color spectrum than CMY or RGB, but it works very well for undertakings like painting, coordinating colors in a room, designing an outfit, toning hair colors, or working with makeup.

On the RYB color wheel, purple’s opposite is yellow. When looking at its tertiaries, you will see red-purple on one side and dark blue on the other side. Respectively, the opposites are chartreuse and light orange. As you may notice, RYB’s opposite color to purple is different than RGB and CMY. Mainly, this is due to the limited set of colors and the different purple pigments. The RYB purple is bluer than magenta or red.

Hex #FFFF00
RGB 255, 255, 0
CMYK 0, 0, 100, 0

What are the Opposites to Different Purple Hues?

Watercolor stain with splashes and drops of green and purple.

If you are working with RGB and CMY, you may have access to thousands of different colors. In these models, it is easy to see how many different intensities or saturations, shades, tones, and tints of purple there are. If you have a standard RYB color wheel, you may only have a limited set of purples. However, in either case, you can see there are many different types of purples. These purples may reflect the purples you see in everyday life, including flowers, precious rocks, fruits, and animals.

For each purple, there is a specific opposite color. It is important to know which opposite color you need, as most complex projects necessitate a precise color to pull off the intended aesthetic or effect. If you choose the wrong hue or shade, there is a risk you create an unpleasing visual or an uncomfortable emotion in your viewer. Below, you will find a few of the most popular purples and their particular opposites. Keep in mind that the color will appear brighter on the RGB color wheel and darker on a CMY color wheel.

What Is the Opposite of Lavender Purple?

Lavender Purple is a light purple with a red undertone. It is a popular choice for portraying light-heartedness, tranquility, and magic. Its opposite is a darkish, Fern Green.

Lavender Purple
Hex #967BB6
RGB 150, 123, 182
CMYK 18, 32, 0, 29

Fern Green
Hex #698449
RGB 105, 132, 73
CMYK 20, 0, 45, 48

What Is the Opposite of Lilac?

Lilac is a softer violet shade, with a blue undertone. You may find it in a light shade of Lilac or a darker shade of French Lilac. Depending on the saturation level, you will find varying shades of green as opposites. The most used shade is light, dusty lilac whose opposite is a dark, Deep Moss Green.

Hex #C8A2C8
RGB 200, 162, 200
CMYK 0, 19, 0, 22

Deep Moss Green
Hex #375D37
RGB 55, 93, 55
CMYK 41, 0, 41, 64

What Is the Opposite of Violet?

Violet is the most commonly portrayed purple on a color wheel, being an excellent mix of blue and red. Its opposite is yellow-green or Chartreuse.

Hex #8000FF
RGB 128, 0, 255
CMYK 50, 100, 0, 0

Hex #7FFF00
RGB 127, 255, 0
CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0

What Is the Opposite of Burgundy?

Burgundy is a strong, deep reddish-purple. It promotes sophistication and elegance. When placed alongside its opposite, Aquamarine, it adds a refreshing, uplifting touch of creativity.

Hex #800020
RGB 128, 0, 32
CMYK 0, 100, 75, 50

RGB 127, 255, 223
CMYK 50, 0, 13, 0

What Is the Opposite of Magenta?

Magenta is a reddish-purple. Its direct opposite is Green. Magenta and green are both vibrant, powerful, and energetic.

Hex #FF00FF
RGB 255, 0, 255
CMYK 0, 100, 0, 0

Hex #00FF00
RGB 0, 255, 0
CMYK 100, 0, 100, 0

How to Find the Correct Opposite to Specific Purples

Since the perfect aesthetic demands precision, it is advantageous to know how to find your correct purple and the accurate opposite color. Luckily, it is easy to do if you are working on your computer. With advanced digital artwork, photography, and video software, you most likely have access to a color picker and a color inverter. You may be working within similar frameworks for printed work, however, you may need to convert your RGB HEX codes to CMYK to display the colors accurately.

If you do not have these tools, you may find the following free programs beneficial for inverting colors and finding opposite colors: Image OnlinePine Tools, and WTools.

Of course, you may also be working with physical paints, inks, or dyes. In these cases, it is useful to have access to specialized machines and software that can analyze your color samples and dissect the pigments within them. In this way, you can view the exact pigments and the saturations of each within the materials. After doing this, you can choose the correct opposites.

In some cases, you may not need exact color matches. In situations such as correcting hair tones or putting together an aesthetically-pleasing bedroom, you may only need a RYB color wheel. In these situations, understanding that the opposite of purple is yellow is often sufficient.

Popular Uses of Purples and Their Opposite Colors

Green and purple cabbages.

Artists and designers frequently use purple and yellow, or purple and green, to fulfill their aesthetic visions. Popular uses include:

  • Famous painters such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe have used these colors throughout their work to enhance their images or to create focal points.
  • Companies use purple and gold or purple and yellow logos to elevate their brand, portray sophistication or elegance, or entice higher classes of clientele.
  • Clothing designers use jewel tones such as purple and green to make bold, power-dressing moves in the fashion industry.
  • Interior designers make rooms inviting and energizing with this bright hue duo or create a peaceful ambiance with green walls and purple accents.
  • Chefs often mix purple and green on plates to provide a natural visual appeal.

Moving Forward with Purple

Purple is one of the trickiest colors to incorporate into artwork and designs. Now that you have a great understanding of purple and its opposites, you may have an easier time incorporating it pleasingly or harmoniously into your projects. Take advantage of brilliant color combinations and bring your art to the next level!