The Color Indigo Vs. Purple


The two colors indigo and purple are both hues with a long history of cultural usage, and scientific debate. Both terms are used to describe specific colors and a range of shades.


  • Indigo may be a dark blue, a grayish purple-blue or a purple-blue, while purple is used to describe any shade that is a reddish-blue color.


  • Indigo has an approximate wavelength of 420 to 250 nanometers. Purple light is not a specific wavelength of light, being seen only as a red and violet combination. However the term "violet" can be used synonymously with the word purple. The wavelength of violet ranges from 380 to 420 nanometers.

Color Wheel Placement

  • Indigo is placed in between blue and violet while purple is placed in between violet and red.


  • A source that the color purple can be obtained from in nature is the shellfish species belonging to the genus Murex. The color indigo occurs naturally in the various plants in the genus Indigofera.


  • The name purple comes from the Old English name of the dye from the Murex shellfish, "purpur". This name came from the Latin word "purpura." The name indigo comes from Latin "indicum", meaning "of India." This word was adapted to Greek "indikon," which was then taken to Spain, where it became "indico," which is where the modern term indigo comes from.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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