What Color Is Lilac?

Lilac is a feminine color with a bit of nostalgia

Lilac shades
From Background to smallest circle: Lilac, rich lilac, deep lilac, French lilac. © Jacci Howard Bear.

"Named for the flower of the same name, there are several shades of lilac, a medium purple color." —Jacci Howard Bear's "Desktop Publishing Colors and Color Meanings"

The colors of lilac are on the violet side of purple but a bit duskier than lavender. Lilac flowers actually come in many colors, but the color called lilac is usually in the violet shades. Lilac is a feminine color that is often seen around springtime and Easter.

Lilac is a cool and warm color with its mix of blue and red.

Lilac carries the purple symbolism associated with the lighter shades of purple. It's a feminine color with a bit of a maternal feeling. Like lavender, lilac can be nostalgic. It goes well with black and dark green. For a lovely lilac mix, combine shades of lilac with greens, plums, and mauve. Lilac is similar to lavender, pink, and violet.

Using Lilac Color in Design Files

When you plan a design project destined for print, use CMYK formulations for lilac in your page layout software or select a Pantone spot color. For display on a computer monitor, use RGB values. You need Hex designations when working with HTML, CSS, and SVG. Among the available lilac shades are:

  • Lilac: Hex #c8a2c8 | RGB 200,162,200 | CMYK 0,19,0,22
  • Medium Lilac: Hex #c17ecd | RGB 193,126,205 | CMYK 6,39,0,20
  • Rich Lilac: Hex #b666d2 | RGB 182,102,210 | CMYK 13,51,0,18
  • Deep Lilac: Hex #9955bb | RGB 153,85,187 | CMYK 18,55,0,27
  • Bright Lilac: Hex #9962bf | RGB 153,98,191 | CMYK 20,49,0,25
  • French Lilac: Hex #86608e | RGB 134,96,142 | CMYK 6,32,0,44

Choosing Pantone Colors Closest to Lilac

When working with printed pieces, sometimes a solid color lilac, rather than a CMYK mix, is a more economical choice.

The Pantone Matching System is the most widely recognized spot color system and is used by most commercial printing companies. Here are the Pantone colors suggested as best matches to lilac colors for print purposes.

  • Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 257 C
  • Medium Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 2573 C
  • Rich Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 252 C
  • Deep Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 7441 C
  • Bright Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 7441 C
  • French Lilac: Pantone Solid Coated 2081 C

Because the eye can see more colors on a display than can be mixed with inks, some colors you see on your screen do not reproduce reliably in print.