What is the Opposite of Purple? (Its Complementary Color)

What is the opposite of purple on the color wheel? In short, it depends on which color wheel you’re talking about. It also depends on the shade used.

Purple is a gorgeous color that often leaves us wondering about its opposite. Opposite colors, also called complementary colors, face each other on the color wheel.

In today’s article, we will explore the concept of opposites in relation to purple and delve into different color models to find the opposite of purple on color wheel.

Thus, you will find the answer to several questions, such as:

  • What color opposite purple on the color wheel?
  • What are the opposites of the different purples?
  • Why does the opposite of purple differ on different color wheels?

What is the Opposite of Purple? 

purple and green flower

When you ask what the opposite of purple on color wheel is, the short answer is deep yellow or yellow-green, depending on the color space you use. 

If we go into more detail, the answer is more complex. 

When determining purple’s opposite, it’s essential to consider different color models. Let’s take a look at the three major ones.

What is the Opposite of Purple in RGB?

Chartreuse is the color opposite purple
Chartreuse is the opposite of purple in RGB

The screen you are looking at now is designed on the RGB (or additive color) model. This color space uses the primary colors red, green, and blue. 

Your screen uses these three colors as sub-pixels, whose light at different intensities creates what you see on the screen. When combined, these additive colors produce the subtractive or secondary colors: cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Yes, that’s physics. Purple in light is made by combining different blue and red light levels. Purple has twice as much blue as red, while pure purple is an equal mix of the two colors. 

But what’s the opposite color of purple? 

When it comes to light and physics, purple is a tertiary color that appears as violet on the color wheel, being a mixture of the primary magenta with the secondary blue.

The opposite of purple is yellow-green, also known as chartreuse. Chartreuse is a tertiary color on the color wheel, made by mixing yellow and green.

Purple Violet
Hex #A020F0
RGB 160, 32, 240
CMYK 33, 87, 0, 6

Hex #70F020
RGB 112, 240, 32
CMYK 53, 0, 87, 6

Because chartreuse sits opposite purple in modern color theory, it’s a natural complement to purple.

But this version of purple has more blue than red.

If you choose a purple with an equal amount of red and blue, like Patriarch, this leans more towards magenta. Its opposite is office green – a saturated green with a brightness of 50%. 

Even though it looks like a pure green, if you increase its brightness to 100%, you’ll see that it’s actually a yellow-green. So, at the base, it is still a yellow-green but with a low brightness in the HSV space.

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

Office Green
Hex #008000
RGB 0, 128, 0
CMYK 100, 0, 100, 50

In short, purples closer to magenta are complemented by green, while shades leaning toward blue are opposed to yellow. The hues between magenta and blue on the color wheel are complemented by yellow-green.

What is the Opposite of Purple in CMY?

CMY is a subtractive color model that deals with pigments and dyes. In this color space, pigment produces color using reflected light. 

This model is known as “subtractive” because colors absorb or subtract specific light wavelengths when mixing pigments, dyes, or inks.

The primary subtractive colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow.

When mixing two of them, you get the secondary colors red, green, and blue (the additive colors). This wheel works hand-in-hand with the RGB wheel because the primary colors of one are the secondary colors of the other (and vice versa).

The complementary color to purple in the CMY color wheel is yellow-green (or chartreuse). Thus, purple and yellow-green are positioned on opposite sides of the color wheel.

Purple (violet)
Hex #A020F0
RGB 160, 32, 240
CMYK 33, 87, 0, 6

Hex #70F020
RGB 112, 240, 32
CMYK 53, 0, 87, 6

But why is yellow-green the opposite color of purple?

The reason yellow-green is the opposite of purple is based on the principles of modern color theory and the way our eyes perceive color.

Purple is a tertiary color in the CMY color wheel, created by combining magenta and blue in the CMY model.

Magenta absorbs green light, while blue absorbs red and green light. As a result, the combination of magenta and blue pigments in equal proportions absorbs most of the green and yellow light, leading to the perception of purple.

On the other hand, yellow-green (or chartreuse) is a color that consists of equal parts of yellow and green in the CMY model. 

When subtracting cyan and magenta from purple, the remaining colors (or wavelengths of light) are primarily yellow and green. These wavelengths are not absorbed by the pigments used to produce purple.

By “subtracting” cyan and magenta from purple, we mean that the remaining colors or wavelengths of light not absorbed by the pigments used to create purple are in the yellow and green regions of the visible spectrum.

These pigments reflect yellow and green light while absorbing most of the red and blue light. So, the resulting color is a vibrant yellow-green (chartreuse).

That’s why yellow-green is considered the opposite of purple.

What is the Opposite of Purple in RYB?

lavender and yellow flowers field
Sunflowers and lavender – a lovely combo

RYB is still a subtractive model, just like CMY, but it has become a bit more outdated. However, it is a good option for learning color theory and techniques used in art.

In this space, red, yellow, and blue are considered the primary colors, whose mixtures produce purple, orange, and green – the secondary colors.

On the RYB color wheel, the opposite of purple is yellow. Yellow is a primary color that best complements the mixtures of the other two primaries, blue and red, known as purple.

Complementary color to purple is yellow on the RYB color wheel
The complementary color to purple is yellow on the RYB color wheel

Moreover, purple is a secondary color on the RYB color wheel, whose neighbors are two intermediate colors: blue violet (violet) and red violet (magenta). Their opposites are yellow-orange (amber) and yellow-green (chartreuse).

Thus, if purple sits between purple and magenta on the color wheel, its opposite is the color that sits between amber and chartreuse – yellow.

Hex #A020F0
RGB 160, 32, 240
CMYK 33, 87, 0, 6

Yellow Jonquil
Hex #F0C620
RGB 240, 198, 32
CMYK 0, 17, 87, 6

What are the Opposites to Different Purple Hues?

If you work with additive and subtractive colors on the RGB and CMY wheels, you have access to a larger gamut of colors.

Thus, you are likely to find many shades of purple, some leaning towards magenta and others towards blue.

For each of them, there is an opposite color with different values in RGB and CMY space.

What Is the Opposite of Lilac?

Lilac is a soft shade of purple, associated with innocence, youth, and friendship. The opposite of lilac is pastel mint, a pale version of mint green. This shade is close to sea green, Hemlock, or pastel green.

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

Pastel Mint Green
Hex #A2C8A2
RGB 162, 200, 162
CMYK 19, 0, 19, 22

What Is the Opposite of Lavender?

Lilac leans more toward magenta, unlike lavender which leans more toward blue.

Lavender is a pale variation of purple associated with beauty, femininity, elegance, and tranquility. The opposite of lilac is a pale version of yellow, similar to beige.

Hex #E6E6FA
RGB 230, 230, 250
CMYK 8, 8, 0, 2

RGB 250, 250, 230
CMYK 0, 0, 8, 2

What Is the Opposite of Violet?

Violet is a blue-purple associated with royalty, luxury, power, and ambition. The opposite of violet is chartreuse – a yellow-green.

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

Hex #80FF00
RGB 128, 255, 0
CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0

What Is the Opposite of Thistle?

Thistle is a very pale grayish purple associated with nobility, strength, and good fortune. Its opposite is a pale, muted shade of tea green.

Hex #D8BFD8
RGB 216, 191, 216
CMYK 0, 12, 0, 15

Tea Green
RGB 191, 216, 191
CMYK 12, 0, 12, 15

What is the Opposite of Periwinkle?

Periwinkle is a soft shade of indigo – or bluish purple, inspired by the flower of the same name.The opposite of periwinkle is light yellow. Its hex code is #FFFFCC.

RGB 204, 204, 255
CMYK 20, 20, 0, 0

Light Yellow
RGB 255, 255, 204
CMYK 0, 0, 20, 0

What Is the Opposite of Mauve?

Mauve is a soft version of bluish purple inspired by mallow flowers. The opposite of mauve on the color wheel is light green – a pale variation of green with yellow undertones. For shades with more gray in their composition, such as plum, the opposite is celadon with the hex code #A0DDA0.

Hex #E0B0FF
RGB 224, 176, 255
CMYK 12, 31, 0, 0

Very Light Green
Hex #D0FFB0
RGB 208, 255, 176
CMYK 18, 0, 31, 0

What Is the Opposite of Magenta?

Magenta is a vibrant reddish-purple produced by mixing purple and red. 

Magenta symbolizes emotional balance, kindness, and compassion, combining red’s strength and energy with purple’s introspection and imagination.

Magenta’s opposite on the color wheel is green. This combo evokes energy and power.

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

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

What is the Opposite of Dark Purple?

Magenta and chartreuse go well together, as they are complementary colors. 

However, if you choose a darker magenta, like patriarch purple, its opposite is an equally dark yellow-green. Its name is office green, with the hex code #008000.

Dark Magenta (Patriarch Purple)
Hex #800080
RGB 128, 0, 128
CMYK 0, 100, 0, 50

Dark Green
Hex #008000
RGB 0, 128, 0
CMYK 100, 0, 100, 50

What is the Opposite of Red Purple?

Red purple is a dark magenta; its opposite is emerald green – a bluish green.

Red Purple
Hex #953553
RGB 149, 53, 83
CMYK 0, 64, 44, 42

Emerald Green
Hex #359577
RGB 53, 149, 119
CMYK 64, 0, 20, 42

Last Words on the Opposite Color of Purple

Purples can range from magenta-leaning hues like royal purple, orchid, and amaranth to blue-leaning hues like violet, iris, wisteria, and periwinkle. 

While greens complement the former, the blue-leaning purples are contrasted by chartreuse – a yellow-green.

When it comes to traditional art, the complementary color to purple is yellow or gold.

Did you like this article about the opposite color of purple? Don’t forget to share it with your purple-loving friends.

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