Red, white and blue are an iconic trio of colors that we often see together, the combination of these shades signifies patriotism, strength and courage throughout the world.
From flags to sports teams jerseys to school uniforms; red, white and blue are used on a variety of items all over the globe. But what color does this unique blend create when it’s combined?
If you’ve ever been curious about what color does red white and blue make, read on as we explore the science behind mixing these three iconic hues.
What Color Does Red White and Blue Make
When red, white, and blue are mixed, they create the color purple. The combination of red and blue pigments produces various shades of purple, while the addition of white helps to lighten the color. The resulting purple can range from deep and vibrant hues to softer, more pastel tones, depending on the proportions used in the mixing process.
Understanding the Colors
First, get to understand red, white and blue.
Red is a vibrant and powerful color that is often associated with intense emotions and energy. It grabs attention and evokes passion, love, and excitement. In nature, red is commonly found in flowers like roses, poppies, and tulips, symbolizing beauty and desire. Culturally, red carries various meanings.
For instance, in many Eastern cultures, red represents good luck and celebration. Plus, red can signify warning or danger, as seen in stop signs or fire alarms. Its bold and assertive nature makes red an impactful choice in design, advertising, and artistic compositions.
Read also: what color is cardinal?
White is often associated with purity, innocence, and simplicity. It is the color of light and signifies clarity and cleanliness. In many cultures, white is worn at weddings to symbolize purity and new beginnings.
As a neutral color, white paint is commonly used in minimalist designs, representing a sense of openness and spaciousness. In art, white can be used to create highlights, add depth, or convey a sense of tranquility.
White also plays a vital role in the perception of colors, as it can be used to lighten or tint other hues, creating various shades and pastels.
Blue is a cool and calming color opposite of brown. It is often associated with the sky and the ocean. It evokes a sense of tranquility, serenity, and stability. A lighter shade of blue can create a peaceful and soothing atmosphere, while a darker shade can evoke a sense of depth and mystery.
Color blue is also often associated with trust, loyalty, and dependability. In art, blue can create depth, represent water or landscapes, or evoke a certain mood.
The rich, navy blue and royal blue hues offer various moods, allowing diverse and impactful design possibilities.
Read also: do blue and orange go together?
Color Mixing Basics
Primary colors and their role in mixing
Primary colors are the foundation of color mixing. In traditional color theory, the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These colors are considered pure and cannot be created by mixing other colors. When combined in various proportions, primary colors can create a wide range of secondary and tertiary colors.
Additive and subtractive color mixing
Additive color mixing refers to the process of combining colored light. This model’s primary colors are red, green and blue (RGB).
When red, green, and blue light are combined at full intensity, they create white light. Additive mixing is used in digital displays like TVs and computer screens.
On the other hand, subtractive color mixing involves combining colored pigments or dyes. The primary colors in subtractive mixing are red, yellow, and blue (RYB).
When mixed together, these pigments absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others, resulting in different colors. Subtractive mixing is used in traditional painting, printing, and color mixing with physical materials.
How colors interact and combine
When colors interact and combine, their properties determine the resulting color. Here are some key interactions:
Mixing Primary Colors: When mixed, they create a secondary color. For example, what does red and yellow make when mixed? Mixing equal parts of these two primary colors produce orange while mixing red and blue creates purple.
Color Intensity and Proportions: The intensity or saturation of a color can be adjusted by varying the proportions of the colors being mixed. Adding more of one color will make it dominant in the mixture, affecting the resulting color’s appearance.
Complementary Colors: Complementary colors are pairs of colors opposite each other on the color wheel. When complementary colors are placed side by side or mixed together, they create contrast and can enhance each other’s visual impact.
Color Temperature: Colors can have warm or cool temperature associations. Warm colors (red, orange, and yellow) create a sense of energy and heat, while cool colors (blue, green, and purple) evoke a sense of calmness and coolness. Mixing warm and cool colors can create a harmonious balance or create visual tension.
Color Value: The value of a color refers to its lightness or darkness. Mixing colors with different values can create shades, tints, or tones of colors, allowing for variations in brightness and depth.
What Color Does Red, White and Blue Make When Mixed?
When red, white, and blue are mixed together, the resulting color is generally purple. Combining blue and red pigments or dyes creates various shades of purple, depending on the proportions used.
Adding white in the mixture helps lighten the color and create different tints of purple, ranging from pale lavender to deeper shades.
Note that the exact shade of purple obtained from mixing red, white, and blue can vary based on the specific hues and intensities of the colors used.
Red, White and Blue Color Mixing
Additive Color Mixing
Red, green, and blue (RGB) are the primary colors in additive color mixing. When red light, green light, and blue light are combined at full intensity, they create white light.
Mixing red and blue light together in equal proportions results in magenta while mixing blue and green light creates cyan. Adding all three primary colors together produces pure white light. Plus additive color mixing is used in digital displays like TVs and computer screens.
Subtractive Color Mixing
Red, yellow, and blue (RYB) are the primary colors in subtractive color mixing. When these pigments are mixed together, they absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others, resulting in different colors.
Mixing red and blue pigments together creates purple while mixing red and yellow produces orange. Combining all three primary colors results in a dark, neutral color.
Subtractive color mixing is commonly used in traditional painting, printing, and color mixing with physical materials.
But, What color does orange and blue make when mixed? Read this article.
How to Mix Red, White and Blue
Tools and materials
- Red paint
- Blue paint (Ultramarine blue or cobalt blue)
- Palette knife
To mix red, white, and blue, you can follow these general guidelines:
Step 1: Start with the primary colors
Red, white, and blue are the primary colors involved in this mixing process. Ensure you have pure versions of these colors in the medium you are working with, such as red and blue paints or pigments.
Step 2: Mixing Red and White to create Pink
Begin by adding small amounts of white to the red color. Start with a 1:1 ratio or add white gradually until you achieve the desired shade of pink.
Mixing red and white will lighten the red color and create various shades of pink, depending on the proportions used.
Step 3: Mixing Blue with Red and White
Pink+blue color =purple
If you wish to create shades of purple, you can mix blue with (pink) the red and white mixture you created in the previous step.
Add blue gradually to the pink mixture, adjusting the proportions to achieve either light or dark purple.
Step 4: Experiment and adjust
Mixing colors is an experimental process, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different proportions and combinations. Use a palette or a mixing surface to blend the colors together and observe the changes as you add more red, white, or blue.
Applications and Symbolism
The following are common uses and symbolism of red, white and blue colors:
Uses of Red
Advertising and Marketing: Red is commonly used in advertising to grab attention, evoke excitement, and stimulate impulse buying. Brands often employ it to create a sense of urgency and draw customers’ focus to products or promotions.
Signaling and Safety: Red is widely used in traffic signs, stoplights, and emergency signage to indicate warnings, caution, or danger. It effectively captures attention and prompts immediate action or alertness.
Celebration and Festivals: Red is associated with joy, luck, and celebration in many cultures. It is often used in decorations, clothing, and traditional ceremonies during festivals, such as Chinese New Year or Valentine’s Day.
Sports and Team Colors: Red is frequently chosen as a color for sports teams’ uniforms and logos due to its energetic and aggressive nature. It can symbolize determination, strength, and passion in athletic competitions.
Symbolism of Red color
Passion and Love: Red is commonly associated with intense emotions, particularly love and romance. It symbolizes desire, passion, and deep affection.
Power and Energy: Red is a dynamic and attention-grabbing color that represents strength, power, and vitality. It can convey confidence and assertiveness.
Danger and Warning: Red is often used to signify danger, caution, or potential hazards. It serves as a universal warning color and prompts people to be alert and take appropriate precautions.
Uses of white color
Cleanliness and Hygiene: White is often associated with cleanliness and purity, making it a popular choice for healthcare settings, hospitals, and sanitary products.
Minimalist Design: White is frequently used in minimalist design and architecture to create a sense of simplicity, elegance, and spaciousness.
Wedding Celebrations: White is traditionally associated with weddings and bridal attire, symbolizing purity, innocence, and new beginnings.
Medical and Healthcare: White is commonly used in medical uniforms, lab coats, and healthcare environments to convey a sense of professionalism, sterility, and trust.
Symbolism of white color
Purity and Innocence: White is often seen as a symbol of purity, innocence, and goodness. It represents a clean slate, untainted by impurities or negativity.
Simplicity and Clarity: White signifies simplicity, clarity, and neutrality. It can evoke a sense of calmness and clarity of thought.
Spirituality and Transcendence: White is associated with spirituality and transcendence in many cultures. It is often linked to concepts of enlightenment, divinity, and higher realms.
Uses of blue color
Corporate Branding: Blue is commonly used in corporate branding to convey professionalism, trustworthiness, and reliability. It is often employed by businesses in industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare.
Interior Design: Blue is used in interior design to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. It is often chosen for bedrooms, bathrooms, and spaces where tranquility is desired.
Ocean and Water-related Imagery: Blue is associated with water, and therefore, it is used extensively in graphics, branding, and advertisements related to beach destinations, water sports, and aquatic products.
National Flags: Blue is a prominent color in the flags of several countries, representing a range of values such as freedom, loyalty, and patriotism.
Symbolism of blue color
Calmness and Serenity: Blue symbolizes calmness, serenity, and tranquility. It can have a soothing effect on the mind and evoke feelings of peace and relaxation.
Trust and Stability: Blue is associated with trust, reliability, and stability. It conveys a sense of dependability and fosters feelings of security.
Depth and Wisdom: Blue is often associated with depth, wisdom, and introspection. It can represent intellectual pursuits, contemplation, and a search for truth.
Masculinity: Blue is commonly linked to masculinity and is often associated with strength, integrity, and authority.
Shades That Can Come From Mixing red, white and blue
When you mix red, white, and blue, you can obtain shades of purple, including lavender or lilac color. Here are a few possible shades that can be achieved:
Mixing red and white in varying ratios will create different shades of pink. Adding more white to the mixture will lighten the color, producing pastel pinks
While adding more red will result in deeper or vibrant shades of pink. This combination is often associated with femininity, romance, and tenderness.
But if you add dark reds, the resulting color will likely be a muted or desaturated shade of pink, leaning towards a darker tone due to the influence of dark red.
Pink vs magenta: These related colors have distinct differences. Pink is light and warm, while magenta is bold and cool. Their contrast adds versatility to color palettes and design choices.
By combining red and blue with a touch of white, a soft shade of lavender can be achieved. Lavender is a pale purple with a cool undertone. Adjusting the amount of red and blue can create lighter or darker shades of lavender, each with its own unique character.
Mixing red, white, and blue in slightly different proportions can produce the muted shade of mauve. Mauve is a pale, dusty, pinkish-purple color.
But, do you know how to make the color mauve? Well, if you want to make mauve, all you need is equal parts of red and blue paint.
It can range from light to medium tones, depending on the amount of red and blue used. Mauve is often associated with elegance, subtlety, and nostalgia.
A combination of red, white, and blue with a higher proportion of blue and a touch of red will result in a light violet shade. This color is a delicate and pale purple with a cool undertone. Purple and light violet can convey a sense of calmness, spirituality, and grace.
Alternatively, mixing blue and purple makes a light violet color. Adjusting the proportions of each color allows for different shades, perfect for artistic projects or for creating a soothing violet tone.
Mixing red, white, and blue with a higher proportion of blue and a small amount of red can create a soft and delicate shade of lilac. Lilac is a light purple color with a pinkish hue. It is often associated with femininity, springtime, and youthfulness.
What shade of purple is made by mixing red, white and blue?
The exact shade of purple that can be achieved by mixing red, white and blue will depend on the ratio in which they are mixed. Generally, a mix of equal parts red and blue with a small amount of white should produce a deep purple hue.
Do red and blue paint make purple?
Yes, red and blue paint can be mixed together to create various shades of purple. When red and blue are combined, the red paint absorbs green light, while the blue paint absorbs yellow light. The remaining light that is reflected appears as purple. Depending on the shades of red and blue used, the resulting purple can vary in intensity and undertones.
Do red and magenta make purple?
No, magenta and red mixed together do not create purple. While red and magenta are both primary colors, their combination typically results in a vibrant shade of pink rather than purple. Purple is typically created by combining blue and red, not magenta and red. Red and purple make a beautiful magenta shade with a captivating vibrancy.
How are colors used to create artistic effects?
Color is a potent tool for artists, enabling them to evoke specific emotions and atmospheres in viewers. Color theory encompasses color interactions, including complementary or analogous color schemes. By comprehending how color orange and white makes various shades and how different colors synergize, artists can skillfully employ balance, harmony, contrast, movement, and more, profoundly impacting the viewer’s experience.
Which primary colors make purple?
In the subtractive color model used in painting and mixing pigments, the primary colors are typically red, yellow, and blue. To make purple, you need to mix red and blue together. The proportions and specific shades of red and blue will determine the resulting shade of purple.
What primary colors make green?
Green is created by mixing the primary colors blue and yellow. When the blue and yellow pigments are combined, they interact to produce a secondary color, green. Blue yellow mix is commonly used in various art forms, such as painting and color theory, to achieve different shades and hues of green.
Is white a color?
In light and additive color theory, white is not considered a color but rather the presence of all colors combined. When white light is passed through a prism, it breaks down into the full spectrum of colors. However, in the subtractive color model used in pigments and dyes, white is considered a color. It is often used as a base or to lighten other colors.
Why are red, white, and blue commonly used in national flags?
Red, white and blue have come to symbolize many different nations worldwide, likely due to their strong visual impact. In America, the colors of the flag are a symbol of freedom and patriotism, while in France they represent the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Red signifies strength and power, white for purity and blue for justice or loyalty. These symbolic associations have made them popular choices for flags around the world.
Related Post: What Color Does Red and Green Make When Mixed?
Red, and blue together make a deep, rich, vibrant purple. White can be mixed in to lighten the hue, or it can be included as part of an entirely different combination.
Every do-it-yourself painter has their own unique way of creating this classic and iconic look. The possibilities are endless.
So next time you’d like to give something an extra bit of patriotism, try mixing these colors into a beautiful royal shade.
Ensure you experiment with a few different combinations until you get it just right. I guarantee you’ll love the eye popping results.