The colour orange and its meaning

The colour orange is a colour that radiates the warmth of red but also the happiness and optimism of yellow making it a colour of joy and youth. Like a youngster, orange holds the characteristics of an untainted soul of optimism, uplifting, spontaneous, independence and adventure as well as strength in bouncing back from difficult situations. In this post, I will look in-depth at the meaning of orange, how different shades have different meanings to us and when we should consider using the vibrance of orange in our branding.

Orange is the colour of the sacral chakra – creation

Why am I talking about chakras and what is a chakra? A chakra is what is known as an energy wheel that helps make up our spiritual aura ( that can be seen by the use of special cameras) of seven colours. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple and gold/white. It is believed to relate to how we think and how we experience the world, how people see us, as well as our physical and mental health.

Each chakra has a purpose beyond its colour and the sacral chakra is believed to be the chakra of creation.

It can relate to our enthusiasm, happiness, confidence, our energy, our productivity and our willingness to be sociable. This is the essence of orange in our spiritual being which gives us an inclination of when we might choose to use the colour when communicating a message.

If we consider a business that already uses orange in its branding we can see how the chakra’s purpose plays a part in the selection of the colour of the design. Orange, a telecommunications company use the colour to represent a youthful, optimistic and fun company whilst also being relevant to their product of communication.

Other companies that use the colour are Nickelodeon & Comedy Club representing their happy side and blogger, empowering people to create their own identity online.

 The colour orange in nature

the colour orange and its meaning

The colour orange in nature is most familiar with the autumn leaves and beautiful sunsets. How do these two scenarios make you feel? Content, even happy? Trees start losing their green pigment when they are getting ready for change and starting afresh the following spring.

During this period of time we also have Halloween which is meant to be a ‘scary’ occasion but what do you think of when you think of that particular season? Ghosts, ghouls and evil spirits? Or do you think of pumpkins, happy faces, sweets and the laughter of children? Interesting how the colour orange has been used to depict this time of supposed evil.

But of course, we can also not forget the fruit that shares the same name. An orange ( if it is a good orange ) is full of juice, flavour, satisfaction and vitamin C, a vitamin that is known to alleviate or reduce the feelings of depression which relates back to the whole idea of the colour representing happiness.

Misconceptions about orange

Jail uniforms in the U.S. are orange and some may think of inmates when they think of the vivid orange but have you thought, maybe there is a decisive design decision behind the clothing? If orange is meant to make people feel happy maybe it is a way of increasing the moods of the prisoners to keep them less aggravated but it also could simply be because the uniform stands out more than most other colours so are easy to spot.

 The colour orange and its cultural representation in different countries

colour orange on a monk
Not every country in the world sees orange the same way. India, Orange (saffron) is a sacred and auspicious color in Hinduism. In Buddhism (non-Tibetan) in the likes of Thailand and  Malaysia the monks wear Saffron Orange robes a religion that strongly promotes peace, well-being of the mind, happiness and kindness. To native Americans, it can represent kinship amongst their tribes.

How orange can affect our mood

Orange as already discussed, is a happy colour but also an energetic and ‘get things done’ colour. Simply viewing this colour can lift our mood from one of sadness, lack of motivation to one of motivation and a feeling of contentment.

If you are feeling worse for wear eating an orange a day should begin to see your mood alleviate to a more positive sense of being.

Shades of orange

Although all that I have spoken about here is a vibrant orange, orange has many different variants of its colour combining it with the pigments of other colours. This website by aboutech explains some of the oranges and their psychological meaning in more depth.

With the colour orange, you should use this for a brand that is either happy, a place of adventure, or a sociable product. The colour fundamentally is about these three characteristics but in a negative connotation it can mean overconfidence, flamboyance, not very serious so it is unlikely you will ever see a lawyer with an orange logo!

It is a colour that must be used carefully rather than sparingly. If your product is all about having fun then this could be the colour to use as the dominant colour in your branding but if not then just a touch combined with another colour could bring a sense of fun but with another message combined ( of which, I will be discussing once I have discussed each colour in the spectrum.)

I hope this brief article about the colour orange has been useful, do you have any other points that you think may be useful to someone thinking about using orange in their design work? Please comment below.