Purple Color Theory: It Reigns

Understanding color theory in marketing and the meanings behind each color is a must for branding. The design process in branding begins in basic black and white. Think about it. If a mark doesn’t stand out in the right way without color—something about the mark isn’t right, and you should send it back to the drawing board. A good logo will clearly represent your brand and values. The primary color used for your logo simply enhances the mark and messaging, setting an expectation in the mind of the customer and prospects. Logos that miss the mark (often due to poor design, typography, or color) will definitely send the wrong message to your potential customer. 

If you choose a purple for your brand, you must be prepared to live up to the high expectations it sets every single step of the marketing journey. Purple is perhaps the most powerful color of all in branding, and power should always be used wisely. 

Understanding purple color theory begins with color psychology—the science and art of how color affects us. Here are some common examples of the color theory and the moods and feelings that can be conveyed using colors:

    • Blue = peaceful or trust
    • Red = passionate or important
    • Yellow = happy or caution
    • Green = nature or wealth
    • Black = serious or elegant
    • Purple = royalty or power

Colors send collective subconscious signals and may have different meanings in different cultures, so understanding color theory is an essential element of branding and design. The origins of the color purple, its symbolism, and meanings in purple color theory are fascinating.

Purple Color Theory: The Connection with Power & Royalty

Purple is a color that is quite rare in nature. While it’s more common to see different shades of purple occurring in flowers, it’s relatively rare in foliage or foods like fruits or vegetables. As civilizations advanced, natural dyes were used for clothing. Purple dye was the most expensive to make as the color was originally derived from mollusks, and the dye was only available from dye-makers in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre, located in what’s known today as Lebanon.

The Phoenicians’ ‘Tyrian purple’ came from a species of sea snail now known as Bolinus brandaris, and it was so exceedingly rare that it became worth its weight in gold. To harvest it, dye-makers had to crack open the snail’s shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time. It took as many as 250,000 mollusks to yield just one ounce of usable dye, but the result was a vibrant and long-lasting shade of purple.” – History.com

Colors send collective subconscious signals and may have different meanings in different cultures, so understanding color theory is an essential element of branding and design. The origins of the color purple, its symbolism, and meanings in purple color theory are fascinating.

In ancient Rome, Emperor Julius Caesar decreed that only he, the Emperor, could wear purple. His heir and great-nephew, Octavian, later became Emperor Augustus after a lot of intrigue involving Marc Anthony and Cleopatra and others, eventually made the same decree. When Nero became Emperor, he decreed that wearing purple clothing or the sale of purple dye was punishable by death. Those of royal blood always needed to watch their backs, as someone was always scheming to take the throne and the power away.

As we know from history, the lives of Julius Caesar and Nero both ended badly after they were declared tyrants. Et tu, Augustus? Well, he lived to the ripe old age of 75 after restoring basic principles and the Republic of Rome and bringing peace and new prosperity to the empire, but there’s always been speculation his wife Livia killed him with poisoned figs, ironically, one of the few purple-hued fruits. That’s power and royalty—complicated and always aspirational. 

After being exclusive to the royal and wealthy for centuries, synthetic versions of purple dye were first produced in the 1850s, so it’s a relatively new color in the scheme of things. Today, purple is one of the most used colors in powerful logos, but different shades send different messages. Each brand denotes some form of power, nobility, luxury, exclusivity, or aspirational qualities. In many circles, violet is considered a healing color.

Purple Branding & Logos in Color Theory Marketing

Purple brands are quite popular and numerous. However, one newer purple power brand everyone has likely seen advertised is Purple—literally in name, logo, and in the color of its products—revolutionary mattresses in a box. The claim? No other mattress can compare. 

That’s a powerful claim and brand promise to live up to, so it must be a mattress fit for a king, queen, or princess with a P. That’s a too-hard-to-resist punny play on words, especially since the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea was about a princess with some major sleep issues. But the moral of the story is about authenticity and being true to yourself and your values—a great lesson for brands to remember, no matter what color they are.

In total, the Purple branding, messaging, and story all underscore the unique and patented qualities of Purple. Now that’s great branding and color theory marketing, and since the company’s launch, the line has expanded into cushions, bedding, and other accessories. And if Purple would like to send a mattress or two our way, we wouldn’t say no. (OK, it’s shameless, we know, but worth a try!)

Want to learn more about the intricacies of color theory in branding? Click here or here.

At Serendipit, we believe that in order to build a great purple brand, you must begin with being grounded in capturing the essence of the company’s core values and consumer market appeal. Need some help in standing out in a crowded marketplace? We love building strong brands, and we’d love to help you too. Give us a shout!