This article is about the color. For other uses, see Magenta (disambiguation).
    Color coordinates
Hex triplet #FF00FF
sRGBB  (r, g, b) (255, 0, 255)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k) (0, 100, 0, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v) (300°, 100%, 100%)
Source CSS Color Module Level 3
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Magenta (/məˈdʒɛntə/) is variously defined as a purplish-red,[1] reddish-purple, or a mauvishcrimson color.[2] On computer screens, it is made by mixing equal amounts of blue and red.[3] On color wheels of the RGB (additive) and CMY (subtractive) color models, it is located midway between red and blue. It is the complementary color of green. It is one of the four colors of ink used in color printing and by an inkjet printer, along with cyan, yellow, and black, to make all the other colors. The tone of magenta used in printing is called "printer's magenta" (Magenta (CMYK)).

Magenta was first introduced as the color of a new aniline dye called fuchsine, patented in 1859 by the French chemist François-Emmanuel Verguin. Its name was changed the same year to magenta, to celebrate a victory of the French and Sardinian army at the Battle of Magenta on June 4, 1859, near the Italian town of that name.[4]

The web color magenta is also called fuchsia.

In optics and color science

Magenta is an extra-spectral color, meaning that it is not found in the visible spectrum of light. Rather, it is physiologically and psychologically perceived as the mixture of red and violet/blue light, with the absence of green.[5]

In the RGB color system, used to create all the colors on a television or computer display, magenta is a secondary color, made by combining equal amounts of red and blue light at a high intensity. In this system, magenta is the complementary color of green, and combining green and magenta light on a black screen will create white.

In the CMYK color model, used in color printing, it is one of the three primary colors, along with cyan and yellow, used to print all the rest of the colors. If magenta, cyan, and yellow are printed on top of each other on a page, they make black. In this model, magenta is the complementary color of green, and these two colors have the highest contrast and the greatest harmony. If combined, green and magenta ink will look dark gray or black. The magenta used in color printing, sometimes called process magenta, is a darker shade than the color used on computer screens.

A purple hue in terms of color theory, magenta is evoked by light having less power in green wavelengths than in blue/violet and red wavelengths (complements of magenta have wavelength 500–530 nm).[6]

In the Munsell color system, magenta is called red–purple.

If the spectrum is wrapped to form a color wheel, magenta (additive secondary) appears midway between red and violet. Violet and red, the two components of magenta, are at opposite ends of the visible spectrum and have very different wavelengths. The additive secondary color magenta, as noted above, is made by combining violet and red light at equal intensity; it is not on the actual spectrum.

Fuchsia and magenta

In optics, fuchsia and magenta are essentially the same color. The web colors fuchsia and magenta are completely identical, and are made by mixing exactly the same proportions of blue and red light. In design and printing, there is a little more variation. The French version of fuchsia in the RGB color model and in printing contains a higher proportion of red than the American version of fuchsia. Fuchsia flowers themselves, which inspired both colors, have a variety of colors, from fuchsia to purple to red and pink.


Fuchsine and magenta dye (1860)

The color magenta was the result of the industrial chemistry revolution of the mid-nineteenth century, which began with the invention by William Perkin of mauveine in 1856, which was the first synthetic aniline dye. The enormous commercial success of the dye and the new color it produced, mauve, inspired other chemists in Europe to develop new colors made from aniline dyes.[4]

In France, François-Emmanuel Verguin, the director of the chemical factory of Louis Rafard near Lyon, tried many different formulae before finally in late 1858 or early 1859, mixing aniline with carbon tetrachloride, producing a reddish-purple dye which he called "fuchsine", after the color of the flower of the fuchsia plant. He quit the Rafard factory and took his color to a firm of paint manufacturers, Francisque and Joseph Renard, who began to manufacture the dye in 1859.

In the same year, two British chemists, Chambers Nicolson and George Maule, working at the laboratory of the paint manufacturer George Simpson, located in Walworth, south of London, made another aniline dye with a similar red-purple color, which they began to manufacture in 1860 under the name "roseine". In 1860 they changed the name of the color to "magenta", in honor of the battle fought between the French and Austrians at Magenta, Italy the year before, and the new color became a commercial success.[4] Before printer's magenta was invented in the 1890s for CMYK printing, and electric magenta was invented in the 1980s for computer displays, these two artificially engineered colors were preceded by the color displayed at right, which is the color originally called "fuchsine" made from coal tar dyes in the year 1859. The name of the color was soon changed to "magenta", being named after the Battle of Magenta fought at Magenta, Lombardy-Venetia.[7]

Starting in 1935 the family of quinacridone dyes was developed. These have colors ranging from red to violet, so nowadays a quinacridone dye is often used for magenta. Various tones of magenta—light, bright, brilliant, vivid, rich, or deep—may be formulated by adding varying amounts of white to quinacridone artist's paints.

Another dye used for magenta is Lithol Rubine BK. One of its uses is as a food coloring.

Process magenta (pigment magenta; printer's magenta) (1890s)

Process magenta (subtractive primary, sRGB approximation)
    Color coordinates
Hex triplet #FF0090
sRGBB  (r, g, b) (255, 0, 144)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k) (0, 100, 0, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v) (320°, 100%, 100%)
Source CMYK
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

In color printing, the color called process magenta, pigment magenta, or printer's magenta is one of the three primary pigment colors which, along with yellow and cyan, constitute the three subtractive primary colors of pigment. (The secondary colors of pigment are blue, green, and red.) As such, the hue magenta is the complement of green: magenta pigments absorb green light; thus magenta and green are opposite colors.

The CMYK printing process was invented in the 1890s, when newspapers began to publish color comic strips.

Process magenta is not an RGB color, and there is no fixed conversion from CMYK primaries to RGB. Different formulations are used for printer's ink, so there may be variations in the printed color that is pure magenta ink. A typical formulation of process magenta is shown in the color box at right.

Web colors magenta and fuchsia

Magenta (Fuchsia)
    Color coordinates
Hex triplet #FF00FF
sRGBB  (r, g, b) (255, 0, 255)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k) (0, 100, 0, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v) (300°, 100%, 100%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

At right is the web color magenta. It is one of the three secondary colors in the RGB color model. On the RGB color wheel, magenta is the color between rose and violet, and halfway between red and blue.

This color is called magenta in X11 and fuchsia in HTML. In the RGB color model, it is created by combining equal intensities of red and blue light. The two web colors magenta and fuchsia are exactly the same color. Sometimes the web color magenta is called electric magenta or electronic magenta.

While the magenta used in printing and the web color have the same name, they have important differences. Process magenta (the color used for magenta printing ink—also called printer's or pigment magenta) is much less vivid than the color magenta achievable on a computer screen. CMYK printing technology cannot accurately reproduce on paper the color on the computer screen. When the web color magenta is reproduced on paper, it is called fuchsia and it is physically impossible for it to appear on paper as vivid as on a computer screen.

Colored pencils and crayons called "magenta" are usually colored the color of process magenta (printer's magenta) shown above.

In science and culture

In art

In astronomy

In biology: magenta insects, birds, fish, and animals

In botany

Magenta is a common color for flowers, particularly in the tropics and sub-tropics. Because magenta is the complementary color of green, magenta flowers have the highest contrast with the green foliage, and therefore are more visible to the animals needed for their pollination.

In politics

See also

Notes and citations

  1. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1964)
  2. definition of magenta in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)
  3. Christine E. Barnes (1 February 2011). The Quilter's Color Club: Secrets of Value, Temperature & Special Effects. C&T Publishing Inc. ISBN 9781607051664. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Philip Ball (2001). Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color (illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 214. ISBN 978-0226036281. Retrieved 27 July 2014. Originally referenced from French edition pages 311–312 ISBN 978-2754105033
  5. the auroran sunset, updated Xavier. "theory of colour: Orange is Tertiary".
  6. Bruce MacEvoy. "Light and the Eye", Handprint. A chart citing R.W.G. Hunt 2004. The Reproduction of Color.
  7. Maerz and Paul. A Dictionary of Color, New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 126 Plate 52 Color Sample K12–Magenta
  8. Brown Dwarves (go halfway down the website to see a picture of a magenta brown dwarf)
  9. Burrows et al. The theory of brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets. Reviews of Modern Physics 2001; 73: 719-65
  10. An Artist's View of Brown Dwarf Types (26 June 2002) Dr. Robert Hurt of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
  11. Magenta Foundation. Organization website.
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