If you want to make orange paint, you mix red with yellow. Similarly, the emotional qualities of orange combine those of red and yellow to varying degrees. Like red and yellow, orange is a warm color connected with fire and energy. Sunsets are often dazzling displays of reds, pinks, and oranges.
It’s a secondary color that isn’t used very often in branding, but it has so much potential – the traits orange is associated with are all positive and can lend your brand some juice.
Every color has the power to evoke certain feelings in the people who view them. Blue (like water) gives us feelings of tranquility and calm; red (like fire) makes us think of heat, passion, and intensity.
Color psychology focuses on the feelings associated with each color and can be exceptionally helpful when you’re building your brand, designing a logo, and setting up your website.
There are thoughts, feelings, and emotions you want to bring out in your customers, and while color alone won’t finish the job, it can certainly start things off.
Orange is less intense than red, often associated with the following emotions and traits:
Uses of orange
Oranges, yellows, and rich browns also herald autumn’s arrival. Food associations with orange include oranges, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, carrots, peaches, and pumpkins.
Orange often makes an appearance as a complementary color in apparel. However, as with yellow, you likely won’t wear a lot of orange — unless it’s to the beach, a sporting event (team color!) or in prison (“orange is the new black”).
On the other hand, orange is currently a popular contrasting color on websites, such as for headlines and on-screen buttons.
Complementary and analogous colors
On the color wheel, orange is a secondary color – one that is created by blending two primary colors (red and yellow). It is located directly opposite the color blue, making the two colors complementary.
Its analogous colors (those closest to it, or most similar, on the color wheel) are red, red-orange, yellow-orange, and yellow.
Is orange right for your brand?
Refer back to the words associated with orange above: Energetic, warmth, motivation, helpful, and so on. Do these words describe your brand values or your target audience’s state of mind? If so, orange may be the perfect dominant color for your brand.
You might choose orange as your brand’s dominant color, but like yellow, it’s wise to pair it with a dark or intense contrasting color, like white or blue, to help it “pop.”
Read next: Color: For Branding, Blue Could Be You!