Hi creative friends,
Spring is upon us, or so I hope. It’s time to put away the grays and the blacks, and add a splash of color to your designs, outfits or decor! And since this year’s Pantone color is Ultra Violet, I’ve done some research into the meaning and history of the color purple. It definitely came as a surprise that Pantone declared Radiant Orchid , so another shade of purple, to be the color of 2014. Hmn, only four years apart and already two shades of purple? It needs to be investigated!
Generally, the terms purple and violet are interchangeable, the technical difference between the two being that violet appears in the visible light spectrum, or rainbow, whereas purple is simply a mix of red and blue. As a combination of the two, purple transmits the energy and strength of red and the tranquility and serenity of blue.
Throughout history, purple has been associated with royalty and nobility, creating the impression of power, luxury and wealth. Purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority or high rank. Many believe this was due to the rare occurrence of purple in nature, making it one of the most expensive color dyes to create. Originally, purple was made from the mucous of sea snails (yack!) and an incredible amount was needed to yield just a tiny amount of dye. It apparently took about 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye – barely enough for dying a single garment the size of the Roman toga. Purple was the royal color of the Caesars, while in Japan, it’s symbolic of wealth and status.
Call it purple or violet, either way, this shade symbolizes magic, mysticism, spirituality, creativity, luxury and royalty. Purple enhances the imagination and takes you through a spiritual journey between dreams and reality, spiritual enlightenment and physical strength. Violet was the color of choice not only for people of high rank, but also for artists, musicians, writes and poets.
Violet has so many different variations, each of them conveying different meanings: light purples, such as lavender, mauve and lilac imply youthfulness, sensitivity and vulnerability. Light shades of violet are considered light-hearted, floral, and romantic. The dark shades, such as plum, amethyst and deep purple are more intellectual and dignified, honorable and linked to family traditions.
On the downside, the negative meanings of purple are decadence, conceit, arrogance and ruthlessness. Purple is also a color of mourning. In Thailand, purple is the color a widow mourning her husband’s death usually wears. The same goes for Tudor Britain, where violet was the color of mourning, as well as the color of religious fervor.
With this heritage, it’s not a surprise that a lot of high ranking companies have chosen this color for their brand. Yahoo! chose purple to communicate the value of the information they provide. Hallmark and Crown Royal actually combine the color purple and a crown in their branding (how obvious is that?!). The complementary color for purple is yellow and LA Lakers uses this combination to create a bold, energetic brand. Monster.com, Cadbury, Milka, Aussie and Whiskas are other famous brands that incorporate purple into their branding.
Speaking surface pattern trends, bold florals, energetic shades of purple and dramatic designs seem to be trending for 2018. Baxter Mill Archive predicts designs blurring between dream states and reality, highlighting dramatic color, out of this world florals and tech-inspired compositions will win the spotlight in 2018. According to Munich Fabric Start, 2018 stands for bold designs, freedom in creativity, innovative shapes, courageous cuts, alarming signal colors or technical neutrals.
When it comes to color trends, it’s ultimately your choice as a surface pattern designer whether to follow them or not. As I still make up my mind whether or not purple is the design color for me, I’ve put together a Pinterest board with gorgeous, quirky, bold and luxurious purple inspired pattern designs. One thing is for sure, 2018 will be a year of bold colors, dashing botanicals and dramatic designs!
What’s your favorite purple pattern design? Did I miss your design highlighting purple shades? Let me know in the comments below!