Lavender Color Meanings

This light purple should be used sparingly in design projects

Lavender
Cornelia Doerr/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Lilac, mauve, orchid, plum, purple and thistle are all shades of lavender. The color lavender is used in general to apply to a range of pale light or medium purple colors. 

There's some dispute about the origin of the word lavender. One school of thought is that since it's used in essential oils as a cleansing agent, the word gets its root from the Latin word "lavare" which means "to wash." But it's also possible that the name is derived from the Latin word "livere" which refers to the color of its flowers.

 

The different varieties of the lavender plant are often referred to as English, French or Spanish lavender. Each nickname refers to a different type of the plant.

Nature and Culture of Lavender

Purple and its lighter lavender shades have a special, almost sacred, place in nature, where lavender, orchid, lilac and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. 

Lavender symbolizes purity, devotion and love. It is frequently seen at weddings as both a color and a flower.  

Using Lavender in Print and Web Design

In design, use the color lavender to suggest something unique or extremely special but without the deeper mystery of purple. Lavender may be a good choice when you want to invoke feelings of nostalgia or romance since it often symbolizes wonder and an aura of impossibility. Additional characteristics of this color include serenity, silence and devotion. 

Take care which colors you combine with lavender in your design; in some cases, it can be overwhelming, and in others, it may be too cloying or be viewed as  overly sentimental.

A minty green with lavender is a cheerful, springtime look. Blues with lavender form a cool and sophisticated combination, or warm up lavender with reds. For a contemporary earthy palette try lavender with beige and light browns.

The lavender web color is an extremely pale shade of the color, while the saturated purple color (floral lavender) is more often seen in print.

To achieve either tint, use the Hex code for HTML, RGB formulation for screen or CMYK for print as shown:

Lavender (web): #e6e6fa | RGB 230,230,250  | CMYK 8/8/0/2

Floral Lavender: #9063cd | RGB 144,99,205 | CMYK 52,66,0,0 

The closest Pantone spot color match to web lavender is Pantone Solid Coated 7443 C. The closest Pantone match to floral lavender is Pantone Solid Uncoated 266 U.