Color Theory: Orange

orange
Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Orange

Color Wheel Tier: Secondary.
Tonal Value: Warm.
Complementary Color: Blue.

It’s association with good flavor and aromas is while orange is commonly used as a food coloring agent (think your nacho cheese Doritos). Orange things like tigers and lilies and saffron have given it an association with exotic things. And we’re all familiar with the overwhelmingly orange Halloween decor, and orange construction signs and cones. But this time of year, it’s hard not to appreciate the color, with pumpkin-spice everything, and leaves starting to change color.

I’ll be the first to admit that orange is not one of my favorite colors. It doesn’t compliment my skin tone, and a birthday close to Halloween has left me with a lifetime leeriness of it. But after making the list below, I may have to rethink things, because it turns out that orange is more of a positive color than not, with very few negative associations.

Meanings / Associations

Positive

Autumn / fall leaves / harvest
Amusement / frivolity / clowns
Sunsets
Good flavor & aroma
Buddhist monks / Hindu holy men
Transformation
Activity

Neutral

Unconventional/Exotic things
Halloween
Visibility/life jackets
Oranges, pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes
Tigers, foxes, monarch butterflies
Extroverts
Saffron
Deserts

Negative

Caution/Warning
Fire
Gluttony

For more orange inspiration, you can check out my color board here.

What does orange make you think of?