No other color strikes such strong positive or negative emotions. You either love it or you hate it.
A combination of energetic red and happy yellow, orange evokes cheer, joy and sunshine. A hot color, it radiates warmth and energy and is often associated with the tropics.
According to Pantone View, “the name orange stems from the fruit and is derived from Sanskrit. In the chakra system, the Hara center in the abdomen is orange, representing creativity and energy.”
It can symbolize strength and endurance (as in heraldry back in the day) but sometimes also ignorance and defeat.
“Its symbolic meanings are ambiguous – joy, good health, creativity and warmth on the one hand; superficiality, loudness and pride on the other,” says Pantone View.
“Too much orange causes self-centered and self-serving qualities, including pride, arrogance, and lack of care for others. [While] too little orange causes loss of motivation, lower self-esteem, and loneliness,” says Jennifer Bourn of Bourn Creative.
Today we’ll be talking about Orange. Be sure to check out the links to the rest of the series here.
Associations with Orange
At a very basic level, the warmth of orange evokes images of sunsets, autumn, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
Its citrus color helps us connect it with healthy food and because it’s associated with good flavor, can stimulate appetite. This is why orange coloring is added to packaged foods to improve their appearance. Think mac and cheese.
But regardless, orange can represent health and vitality because it increases oxygen supply to the brain, which in turn produces an invigorating effect. Carrots, pumpkin, peaches and mangoes are rich in antioxidant, beta-carotene while oranges are chock full of vitamin C.
Like red, orange is also used to demand our attention and represent safety. That’s why it’s used in warning signage, life rafts or traffic cones.
But because it’s not as aggressive as red, it’s fun and flamboyant. It’s creative, enthusiastic and its childlike exuberance creates excitement and stimulation which encourages purchasing.
The Affect of Orange on Age and Gender
Because orange is youthful, it is highly accepted by young people including children. In fact, it’s quite effective in promoting toys or childrens programming. Nickelodeon anyone?
Orange is the 5th favorite color among men and 6th favorite among women, and 5% of both genders consider it their favorite color. On the other hand, it’s the least favorite color of 22% of men and 33% of women.
Twenty six percent of both men and women consider orange to be cheap or inexpensive. Although this is a pretty dated concept, it’s also not necessarily a bad thing. It could also tell people that your product or brand is affordable. Blogger and Payless Shoes both use orange in their logos and those brands are hardly hurting.
Tints + Shades of Orange and What they Usually Mean
To complicate matters, different tints and shades of orange have different meanings as well.
- Dark Orange can represent deceit, change or distrust.
- Red-orange is connected to desire, pleasure, aggression, and action.
- Rusty Orange and Copper are used as the colors of fall and harvest. In our increasingly fast-paced world, these orange hues are welcomed for their nostalgic home-grown and homemade feel.
- Gold or Yellow Orange brings with it the feeling of prestige and high quality. It can mean illumination, wisdom, and wealth.
Beige and Tan are earthy and comforting colors.
- Light Oranges such as peach, coral and melon are seen as friendly, nurturing and soothing. They can appeal to an affluent market because of their association with health care and beauty salons.
How to Use Orange
Orange can be difficult to use correctly. It’s best used for accents and splashes of color because when it’s used as a dominant color, it can feel overwhelming. Be careful not to let it overpower other elements of your design.
As I stated earlier, it’s great for drawing attention, so using it for a primary call to action would be ideal, as would using it to draw attention to a product or opt-in box.
Pairing Orange with Other Colors
Bringing orange together with another color can give your design a little splash of energy.
Pairing orange with white gives a fresh and summery atmosphere to a blog or design.
Orange and pink is playful and girly.
Orange with aqua and lime green is energetic and fun.
Put orange next to blue and you’ve got a really nice and fresh complimentary effect, especially when the blue is more of an aqua or turquoise color.
Orange and green can be very fresh especially when paired with white. Slightly darker shades of the colors evoke a retro vibe as in a rust orange and avocado.
Darker shades of orange together with browns create a warm, natural feel.
Grey added to a color palette with orange tones it down and gives it a slightly sophisticated or urban feel.
Orange and black? Just don’t do it unless you really know what you’re doing.
So Should you Use Orange in your Blog?
Orange is used widely across many different industries, from online retailers to motorcycle companies and from telecom companies to home improvement stores. It associates with fun and stands out.
Like red, it can be effective at highlighting important elements in your design so consider using it for call-to-action buttons.
Used in small splashes here and there, it can bring a sense of playfulness to your blog or website so pay attention to your target audience before deciding to use it.
Is orange your favorite color? Least favorite? How do you feel about using orange in your blog’s design? Do you currently use it now? I’d love to hear and see how you use it. Share your thoughts or link in the comments.
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