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7 Examples of Color Purity

Color purity is the degree to which a color resembles its hue. A color that has not been mixed with white or black is considered pure. Color purity is a useful concept if you are mixing colors as you want to start with a pure color because this has more potential to create different tones, shades and tints. The following are illustrative examples of color purity.


In nature, almost all light is mixed with different wavelengths. The human mind approximates mixed light from the visible spectrum from 380 to 740 nanometers as a color. Random wavelengths of light that contain great variation are perceived as white or as a light color. Mixtures of wavelength of similar length are often perceived as a bright color that is free of white. These are known as hues and are considered pure colors.

Spectral Colors

Spectral colors are hues that correspond to a single wavelength of light or narrow band of wavelengths. These exist on a continuum based on wavelength that spans from violet, blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange to red.


In painting theory, a hue is a pigment that has not been mixed. From this perspective, unmixed pigments are pure colors.


Saturation is the intensity and purity of a color. A laser light is the most saturated color because it can be based on a narrow wavelength and be extremely intense. A color that is pure and intense can be described as heavily saturated. A saturated color appears bright against both a white and black background due to its intensity and lack of grey content. For example, a neon green highlighter pen that is highly visible on both white and black paper.


A shade is any hue that has been mixed with black. This is less pure than the hue itself.


A tint is any hue that has been mixed with white. This is less pure than the hue itself.


A tone is any hue that has been mixed with both white and black. In other words, a hue that has been mixed with grey. This is less pure than the hue itself.
Overview: Color Purity
Definition (1)
The degree to which a color is free of white and black.
Definition (2)
The degree to which a color pigment is unmixed with anything that changes its color.
Related Concepts

Color Theory

This is the complete list of articles we have written about color theory.
Analogous Color
Color Combinations
Color Depth
Color Harmony
Color is Real
Color Perception
Color Purity
Color Saturation
Color Scheme
Color Space
Color Symbolism
Color Temperature
Complementary Colors
Corporate Colors
Heat Map
Impossible Colors
Monochromatic Color
Primary Colors
Rainbow Colors
Spectral Color
Tints And Shades
Visible Spectrum
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