The meaning of the color Lilac and color combinations to inspire your next design.
Lilac is a soft, pale shade of purple. The lilac hex code is #C8A2C8.
Like all shades of purple, lilac is made by mixing red and blue. Adding a bit of white paint will lighten the shade to create lilac’s pastel hue.
Lilac and lavender are two different colors. They are both pale shades of purple but lilac has a pink tint to it, while lavender has a blue tint.
On the hex color chart used by web designers and designers, lilac and lavender are noticeably different. Colloquially, however, the two colors are considered very similar and the names are sometimes used interchangeably. Part of the reason for this is that people tend to associate lavender with the color of a lavender flower, which is much closer in appearance to lilac than its web color. The lavender hex code is #E6E6FA.
Despite its subdued appearance, lilac is actually a warm color.
On the color wheel, reds, oranges and yellows are considered “warm” while blues and greens are considered “cool”. Purple is the meeting point on the color wheel between warm red and cool blue, which means that reddish purples are warm and blueish purples are cool. Lilac’s pink tint puts it towards the warm end of the wheel.
Lavender, however, is a cool color – because of its blue undertones.
The name “lilac” was first used in 1775. It takes its name from the color of lilac flowers.
In the past, lilac has been associated with mourning. In nineteenth-century Britain, it was one of the few shades it was considered appropriate for a woman to wear towards the end of her mourning period when black was no longer required.
Lilac is a shade of purple, a color that has a regal history. Prior to 1856, purple dye was very expensive and that made it a coveted shade associated with wealth and power. It’s said that under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 16th century, only close relatives of the royal family were permitted to wear purple. Similarly, Julius Caesar decreed that only he could wear a purple toga. Byzantine emperors also wore purple and the shade was even favored by Russian empress Catherine the Great.
Since around 2014, lilac has enjoyed a resurgence in fashion and design. Fashion magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar declared lilac “the color of 2018”.
Lilac is considered a feminine, graceful color. Its connection with flowers means it’s often associated with romance and affection. Like other pastel shades, it can conjure innocence, youth or nostalgia.
As well as being associated with religion and royalty, shades of purple are also strongly linked with creativity – Prince and Jimi Hendrix were both big fans of the hue. In recent years, purple has been used as the color of feminist and LGBTQI movements. However, as a distinctly softer shade, lilac is less likely to have these connotations.
According to color psychology, lilac is considered a soothing color that can encourage emotional expression.
Lilac is a gentle, versatile color. For a bright palette, you could contrast it with colors like orange, yellow, olive green and gray. But it also looks great with analogous shades of purple, or alongside a soft pink.
Lilac’s delicate appearance means it works wonderfully in situations where you want to convey a sense of femininity or calm. Its current popularity means lilac can also be a great choice for cool, contemporary designs – pair it with white to keep it fun and fresh.
The colors that pair well with lilac include:
Looking for a different hue? The following colors are related to lilac.
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