Mixed Warm & Cool Colors
Jacci Howard Bear
The Colors of Intrigue
Colors with attributes from both the warm and cool colors can calm and excite. These are colors derived from a mix of a cool and warm color such as blue and red or blue and yellow.
A cool blue and a warm red combine to create deep purples and pale lavenders. To a lesser extent, shades of green, especially turquoise and teal, also have both the warming and cooling effects born of warm yellow and cool blue. Some light neutrals such as cream, pale beige, and taupe evoke some of the same warm and cool feelings of purples and greens. The opposite or clashing color for purple is green and for green, purple.
The profiles for each of these mixed colors include descriptions of their nature, cultural color meanings, how to use each color in design work, and which colors work best together.
Purple Color Profile
Royalty and Spirituality:
Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality. The opposites of hot red and cool blue combine to create this intriguing color.
Nature of Purple:
Purple has a special, almost sacred place in nature: lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. Because purple is derived from the mixing of a strong warm and strong cool color it has both warm and cool properties. A purple room can boost a child's imagination or an artist's creativity. Too much purple, like blue, could result in moodiness.
Culture of Purple:
The color of mourning for widows in Thailand, purple was the favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra. It has been traditionally associated with royalty in many cultures. Purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority or high rank. The Purple Heart is a U.S. Military decoration given to soldiers wounded in battle.
Deep or bright purples suggest riches while lighter purples are more romantic and delicate. Use redder purples for a warmer color scheme or the bluer purples to cool down.
Using Purple with Other Colors:
A deep eggplant purple with neutral tans or beige is an earthy, conservative color combination with a touch of the mystery that purple provides. Green and purple can be a striking combination in deep or bright jewel tones or use lighter shades for a cheerful, springlike feel. Pink and purple has feminine appeal.
Purple Color Palettes:
These color palettes feature shades of purple combined with shades of green, orange, blue, and yellow.
Language of Purple:
The use of purple in familiar phrases can help a designer see how their color of choice might be perceived by others, both the positive and negative aspects.
Purple cow - something remarkable, eye-catching, unusual Purple prose - exaggeration, highly imaginative writing (also has negative connotations)
Purple speech - profanity, raunchy language
Purple prose - exaggeration, colorful lies
Purple haze - state of confusion or euphoria, possibly drug-induced, type of marijuana
These words are synonymous with purple or represent various shades of the color purple.
Violet, plum, lavender, lilac, puce, thistle, orchid, mauve, magenta, royal, amethyst, wine, pomegranate, eggplant, mulberry.
Lavender Color Profile
Graceful and Feminine:
Lavender has long been a favorite flower and color of genteel ladies. This shade of purple suggests refinement along with grace, elegance, and something special.
Nature of Lavender:
Purple and its lighter lavender shades has a special, almost sacred place in nature: lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious.
Culture of Lavender:
While purple is the color of royalty, lavender is the color of femininity. It's a grown up pink.
Use lavender to suggest something unique or extremely special but without the deeper mystery of purple. Lavender may be a good choice when you are targeting women and want to invoke feelings of nostalgia or romance.
Using Lavender with Other Colors:
Pink with lavender is extremely feminine. A minty green with lavender is a cheerful, Springtime look. Blues with lavender are cool and sophisticated combination or warm it up with reds. For a contemporary earthy palette try lavender with beige and light browns.
Lavender Color Palettes:
These color palettes feature shades of purple and lavender combined with blue, yellow, pink, and orange.
These words are synonymous with lavender or represent various shades of the color lavender.
Plum, lilac, thistle, orchid, mauve, purple.
Green Color Profile
Life and Renewal:
Green is life. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment. On the flip side, green is jealousy or envy (green-eyed monster) and inexperience.
Nature of Green:
Green is a restful color with some of the same calming attributes of blue. Like blue, time moves faster in a green room.
Culture of Green:
Green is the national color of Ireland and is strongly associated with that country. Green also has close associations with Islam. Because of all the green in nature the color is reminiscent of Spring. Coupled with red it's a Christmas color.
With both a warming and cooling effect, green denotes balance, harmony, and stability. Use several shades of green for a fresh, Springtime feel. Olive green, also called olive drab, is a not so drab summery green that may have military overtones for some people.
Using Green with Other Colors:
Green with blue produces echoes of nature - water and forest and can denote new beginnings and growth. Green with brown, tan, or beige says organic or recycled and can be a good color combination for packaging of those type of products. Tri-color combinations of green with yellow and black or white are sporty, outdoorsy colors. Purple with green can be high contrast, lively. Lime green with orange and yellow is a fresh and fruity palette.
Green Color Palettes:
These color palettes feature shades of green combined with gray, yellow, black, purple, lavender, and brown for some earthy, retro, and conservative looks.
Language of Green:
The use of green in familiar phrases can help a designer see how their color of choice might be perceived by others, both the positive and negative aspects.
Green light - go, permission to proceed (with a task), The green room - in theater or televisions it is the room where performers and guests go to relax, Green thumb - good with plants, Greenback - US dollar bill, money, Greener pastures - something newer or better (or perceived to be better), such as a new job
Green-eyed monster - jealosy, Green with envy - jealous or envious, Green - inexperienced, untested, untrained, Greenhorn - novice, trainee, beginner, Green around the gills - pale, sickly
These words are synonymous with green or represent various shades of the color green.
Emerald, sea green, seafoam, olive, olive drab, pea green, grass green, apple, mint, forest, lawn green, lime, spring green, leaf green, aquamarine, beryl, chartreuse, fir, kelly green, pine, moss, jade, sage, sap, viridian
Turquoise Color Profile
Refreshing and Sophisticated:
A mix of blue and green, turquoise has a sweet feminine feel while the darker teal shades add lively sophistication.
Nature of Turquoise:
A blend of blue and green, shades of turquoise have the same calming effects of those colors.
Culture of Turquoise:
This in-between color represents water, thus the names aqua and aquamarine. It's also a valuable and popular mineral often turned into jewelry. Turquoise is closely associated with the Middle East and the American Southwest.
Create feminine appeal with the lighter shades of turquoise. Some shades of turquoise have an old-fashioned 50s and 60s retro feel. Teal has a darker, somewhat more sophisticated look. Like the mineral, turquoise shades range from almost sky blue to deep greenish blues.
Using Turquoise with Other Colors:
Keep the soft, feminine qualities going by mixing turquoise with lavender and pale pinks. A bright turquoise and pink create a sparkly clean, retro look. Make it art deco by pairing turquoise with white and black. Turquoise with gray or silver as well as terra cotta and light browns have a Southwestern (U.S.) flavor. Turquoise with orange or yellow creates a fresh, sporty look.
Turquoise Color Palettes:
These color palettes feature shades of green including turquoise and teal.
These words are synonymous with turquoise or represent various shades of the color turquoise.
Teal, ultramarine, blue-green, aqua, aquamarine.
Beige Color Profile
Dependable and Flexible:
Beige is a chameleon, taking on some of the attributes of stronger warm or cool colors it accompanies. On its own, it is a calm neutral background color.
Nature of Beige:
Beige is a neutral color with a bit of the warmth of brown and the crisp, coolness of white. It is sometimes seen as dull and boring unless coupled with other colors. It can be a relaxing color for a room.
Culture of Beige:
Beige has traditionally been seen as a conservative, background color. In some cultures, beige garments might symbolize piety or simplicity. Traditional Saudi Arabia dress include a flowing floor-length outer cloak (bisht) made of wool or camel hair in black, beige, brown or cream tones.
Use beige to provide a calm, relaxing background. Small doses of beige might be added to separate two dark colors to help each stand out.
Using Beige with Other Colors:
Beige can take on some of the attributes of yellow or pink when touched with those shades. Try purple and pink with beige for a conservative but feminine look. Beige with greens, browns, and orange can create an earthy palette. Black lends a touch of strength and sophistication to beige. A touch of beige warms up a palette of cool blues without overpowering them.
Beige Color Palettes:
These color palettes feature shades of brown, including beige combined with other neutrals as well as red, orange, green, and pink.
These words are synonymous with beige or represent various shades of the color beige.
Buff, camel, oatmeal, tan, sand, biscuit, cream, ecru, mushroom.