Blurple is a combination of blue and purple.

Excuse Me…Did You Say “Blurple”?

What is Blurple and How to Avoid it?

Blurple. It’s a funny word that you may hear quite often as you wander through the halls of Primoprint. But what is it and how can it be avoided?

Essentially, Blurple is a combination of blue and purple. It’s when a designer sets up their artwork to be a dark blue, but when it printed, it looks to be more of a purple. Unfortunately, this can happen quite quickly, but with a few small adjustments, it can be avoided.

Blue and purple are very close in the CMYK spectrum. Often when people want a beautiful, vibrant blue, they will set their color mixer to have equal, or close to it, amounts of cyan and magenta.

This is where “Blurple color” can occur. The key is to always have at least a 30% difference in your cyan and magenta values. Adding too much magenta to cyan will result in the color purple even if it appears blue on your screen.

For example, in the image below, the bottom blue could easily turn purple.

The business card displays two different shades of blue.

To avoid that, we dropped the magenta value 30% below the cyan. Most dark blues can be created with this method without the risk of turning purple.

A general rule of thumb, or at least a starting place when adjusting your colors, is to add the values you remove from magenta to black.

For example, if your starting color is 100, 87, 0, 7, you would remove 17 from magenta (creating the 30% differential) and add that 17 to the black value giving you a color breakdown of 100, 70, 0, 24.

From there you can move the black up and down a couple of notches to perfect the color. As you can see from the example, it’s not always going to convert seamlessly, but once printed, your blues should look more accurate to your intention that if you had kept the original color breakdown.

View the different colors of blue for print. Original color vs. converted blue color. You can see the difference making a blurple color.

Blue is one of my favorite colors, and I love to design it. As long as you are careful with your values, it should turn out beautifully! And as always… if you have any questions about your color build, or the blurple color,  don’t hesitate to ask!


Brooke is the Design Team Director at Primoprint. She oversees the design department, assists with graphic design projects, and helps coordinate upcoming projects with customers/graphic designers. Outside of the office, Brooke enjoys being a Soccer Mom, a Gymnastics Mom, cooking, drinking wine, and is a firm believer in Sunday afternoon naps.