Color Theory: Orange

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


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


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


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



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

What does orange make you think of?

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Color Theory: Red

Red Color Wheel Tier: Primary Tonal Value: Warm Complementary Color: Green Red is the color on the visible spectrum most easily seen and the color that most attracts attention (which is why it’s so popular in advertising). It is also one of the most versatile colors, with lots of different connotations depending on where and how it’s used. Meanings / Associations Positive Love / Romance Lust / Passion / Sexuality Stength Courage Exciting / Energizing Rubies / Luxury Ripe fruit In China: happiness, prosperity Many parts of Asia: traditional color for wedding dresses Neutral Dynamic / Activity Spicy Dramatic Fire […]

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