What Color Is Lilac?

It's a feminine color with a bit of nostalgia

Colored pencils against pink background

 A. Martin/Getty Images

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

Lilac is similar to lavender, pink, and violet. Lilac flowers display in many colors, but the color called lilac is usually in the violet shades, though a bit duskier than lavender. A feminine, maternal color that's often seen around springtime and Easter, lilac is both cool and warm with its mix of blue and red.

Lilac carries the purple symbolism associated with the lighter shades of purple. 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.

Using lilac color in design files

When you plan a print design project, 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 don't reproduce reliably in print.