What is the Difference between Indigo and Violet?

What Color is Indigo? How to make Indigo Color? What is Indigo used for? Is Purple the same as Violet? What Color is Violet in the Rainbow? Where does Indigo feature in the Rainbow?
What is the Difference between Indigo and Violet featured

The world is full of many different colors. Whether you look at plants, living organisms, or even the sky, you will find color everywhere. As such, with several colors in nature, some colors are bound to be similar. With so many colors appearing like different shades of the same color, you must learn to distinguish them. Indigo, violet, and occasionally purple are three such colors that are similar and hard to distinguish between. In this article, you will learn the difference between indigo and violet, the difference between purple and indigo, and finally, purple vs indigo vs violet.

1. What is Indigo? What does Indigo mean?

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Indigo is a color. In this extravagant color-filled world, you must have come across the color indigo at least once. The dictionary defines indigo as a color that resembles a deep reddish-blue or a deep purplish-blue. However, the word indigo is not limited to color. Indigo is also the name of a plant that produces the indigo dye. This dye happens to be the most famous natural dye. Let’s go through the next segments to know the difference between indigo and violet and purple in detail. (See 20 Camouflage Colors And Patterns)

2. What is an Indigo Crop?

The indigo crop or Indigofera Tinctoria is a plant belonging to the pea family. It is famous for its by-product, the natural dye indigo. During the colonial period, indigo was the King of Dyes. Like petroleum, indigo’s reputation earned it the title of Blue Gold. Although the indigo crop has been in use for over four thousand years across Africa and India, it rose to prominence during the European Colonial period. As such, the crop has a complicated, even dark, history as the British aimed at having an indigo production monopoly. This aspiration led to forcible indigo production through slavery and exploitation.

During this period, India became the biggest producer of indigo. Even today, India remains one of the largest indigo producers in the world. The indigo crop is also non-polluting, contributing positively to soil health (as it restores nitrogen). The indigo crop grows in all seasons, making it a multi-seasonal crop. (See What are the Weeds with Purple Flowers called?)

3. What Color is Indigo? How to make Indigo Color?

Consensus suggests that indigo is either a deep reddish-blue or deep purplish-blue color. There are two types of colors: primary and secondary colors. All secondary colors are a combination of primary colors. Indigo happens to be a secondary color, which you can even find in a rainbow.

You can obtain indigo by combining the two primary colors, red and blue. Creating indigo requires the combination of red and blue such that there are three parts of blue for one part of red. However, red is a dominant color. It implies that the quantity of blue will increase proportionally with the brightness of red. You can further tweak how dark or light your shade of indigo is by adding black or white accordingly. Also, check out What Colors Make Black?

4. What is Indigo used for?

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The application of indigo is not confined to being a natural dye. Indigo is a multi-faceted commodity with various uses beyond the textile industry. It also has a role to play in the agricultural industry, However, its most important uses originate in safety and medicine. The following are some of the uses of indigo:

  • The primary use of indigo is in the textile industry as a natural or synthetic dye. Industries use indigo to dye cotton yarn to make fabric. Indigo is responsible for the distinctive colors of denim jeans and jackets, denim being a type of cotton fabric.
  • Indigofera Tinctoria is a crop belonging to the pea family. Like most pea crops, indigo too is a leguminous crop. Leguminous crops are beneficial for the soil as they replenish the nitrogen content of the soil. This property of indigo makes it a desirable intermediary crop between two main crops, providing a boost in crop yield. (See What are the Uses of Soil?)
  • Surprisingly, indigo is also a flame-retardant. Records suggest that in ancient Japan indigo-dyed fabrics were part of the firefighting arsenal.

Indigo also has medicinal purposes such as

  • Being anti-bacterial,
  • Being the raw ingredient for indigo tea,
  • Fending off plant parasites as a nematicide,
  • Treating scorpion bites,
  • Treating the common cold,
  • Cleaning the liver,
  • And detoxifying blood among others.

5. Is Purple the same as Violet?

Before we look at the difference between indigo and violet, or the difference between purple and indigo, let’s look at how purple is different from violet. Both purple and indigo are combinations of the primary colors red and blue. Therefore, purple and violet appear similar.

  • Purple is a perceived color. It implies that purple is not a part of the spectrum of light and is instead a color that we recognize due to our learning. It is a mixture of equal parts blue and red and has a more saturated appearance compared to violet.
  • Violet is a part of the light spectrum, lying between ultraviolet light and indigo light. It is a less saturated color in which blue dominates red. (See What is a Theme in Art?)

As we have established, the primary difference between violet and purple is their existence. The light spectrum consists of seven colors: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. So, purple is not a part of this spectrum. Hence, we classify purple as a perceived color, as violet is a part of the light spectrum, and violet is a natural extension of white light.

6. Differences in Color: Purple vs Indigo vs Violet

What is the difference between indigo and violet? What is the difference between purple and indigo? Or purple and indigo? Let’s discover all these differences when classically we pit these colors against one another. So here’s the difference between indigo and violet and purple in this table of purple vs indigo vs violet:

PURPLE INDIGO VIOLET
Purple is a perceived color. It means we recognize purple due to a combination of physical and mental processes. Indigo is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is one of the seven constituents of white light and falls in the visible section between violet and blue light. Violet is also part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is also the visible light with the lowest frequency. It lies right between ultraviolet and indigo light
Purple is a mixture of the primary colors red and blue. The combination of equal parts red and blue gives you purple. Indigo is a mixture of the primary color red and blue. The combination of one-third red and two-thirds blue gives you violet. Violet is a mixture of the primary colors, red and blue. The combination of one part red and three parts blue gives you indigo.
Purple Honeycreepers and Aubergines are naturally purple. Rainbows and blueberries naturally have indigo. Rainbows and violets naturally have violet

7. Why is Purple split into Indigo and Violet?

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Photo by Lisa

As we have established in the table earlier when looking through the difference between indigo and violet and purple, the colors are similar but not the same. Therefore, purple is not split into indigo and violet, rather, purple indigo and violet are three distinct colors. They appear similar as all three colors are a combination of red and blue. However, each color requires a different proportion of red and blue, giving each color its characteristic shade. Also, check out what color does Red and Purple Make?

8. What Color is Violet in the Rainbow?

Violet is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum of light. So, what is the difference between indigo and violet? It lies between ultraviolet and indigo light. Violet is also visible in a rainbow, one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena due to the splitting of white light. The mnemonic ROY G BIV is taught for remembering the seven colors of a rainbow. Each letter stands for one of the seven constituent colors of white light. Incidentally, violet is the innermost color on a rainbow right below the indigo stripe. (See How many Colors are in the Rainbow?)

9. Where does Indigo feature in the Rainbow?

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Photo by Frans van Heerden

Apart from the earlier differences, another difference between indigo and violet is their positions in a rainbow. While violet lies between ultraviolet and indigo light, indigo lies between violet and blue light. Therefore, indigo is the second innermost color on a rainbow, just above violet and below blue. (See What causes Double Rainbow?)

10. What is the Indigo Flight?

Indigo Airlines is one of India’s most popular airlines. It is the largest passenger-carrying airline in India. Known for being a low-cost airline, it operates across 97 destinations. The airline began operations in 2006 and operates in 24 International destinations today with over 1600 flights daily. They also have a fleet of over 270 aircraft. (See Why the Sky Colour is Blue?)

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