I was standing next to my grandpa, probably twelve or thirteen at the time. Side by side, we looked at a series of paintings Grandpa recently finished, all hung up on the wall for him and my grandma -his partner in business and life- to evaluate.
He leaned over to me and nodded towards the paintings. “People like orange,” he said. “They’re drawn to it. But it’s important-” and when he said this, he tilted his head towards me and looked at me from the corner of his glasses, “-not to use too much.”
I took it all in, nodding in agreement.
In reality I was a sponge in his presence, taking in every word and thinking he was the most amazing artist ever. Now, many years later as I look at the collection of his work, I noticed he incorporated orange in many of his city and landscape paintings.
Never a lot of orange, but enough to give the scenes in his paintings a vivaciousness and life they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Add Orange to Infuse an Energetic Feel to Your Brand, Business and Life
Orange is a warm color, fueled by a merge of passionate powerful red and happy, glowing orange. Orange has its own fire.
Orange symbolize wealth, again, not necessarily money (as we pointed out in the color purple), but a wealth of harvest, or rich relationships, a productive season. Orange is an energetic color, more in the vein of rich relationships or industry than sensual energy.
In the autumn-linked archetype, orange shows up as a warm, productive energy as the days are getting colder. I love this picture of a woman running on an autumn day; it speaks of productivity, energy, getting-stuff-done in the beauty of the cool weather.
This pop of orange in the spring-linked archetype picture adds a warm, light energy of getting stuff done in a picture. It has the sense of productivity (especially with the computer and her look of focus), but there’s is also a lightness in it. It’s not a forced work or a sweaty work, but joyous work on a gorgeous day in a relaxed setting.
Remember the yellow-orange windows in nearly every one of Thomas Kinkaid’s paintings? People connected his work to a strong sense of family and security. Those fiery orange filled windows, often set in a scene of dark colors (like the night time paintings or the many cold winter paintings), gave an overall feeling of warmth, family, security and even a bit of opulence.
There can also be a sensual side to orange, but it’s not as universal as passionate red or feminine powered pink. More people can work with red or pink and it works! But orange is a bit harder to blend with.
Recently I saw a fashion spread featuring women in all orange cocktail dresses, jumpsuits and full length orange jackets. It was a lot of orange, a bit too much for most of us to wear.
One rarely sees a room in complete orange or the exterior of a home or building. The intensity of the color can be a bit much; it might be hard to settle down comfortably in a room with a bright orange wall. More likely we see orange flowers or an orange rug.
When one thinks of orange in architecture, the Southwest (in the United states) comes to mind with the more warm, colorful exteriors against the desert background. I tagged a few pictures on the orange board in Pinterest.
This much orange would look off in the Pacific Northwest or New England, but in New Mexico the bright colors go right in hand with the desert.
When I think about New Mexico I think about not only the colors, but the spicy food, the beautiful starry nights and my bright and vivacious friend Melodie who lives in NM and writes a warm and invigorating food blog. The warmth and spice of orange fits in well in the Southwest.
How to Use Orange in Your Business, Style and Exteriors – Be Careful!
As always, look at the overall context of what you are doing, whether in developing a look for your business or your home.
For many of the colors, we can find them in every seasonal archetype: spring, summer, autumn and winter. But orange is a warm color through and through, a combination of yellow and red. Regardless of whether more yellow is added to the hue or more red, the different colors will primarily fall into the spring and autumn-linked palettes.
It would be rare to find a delicate, cool orange in the summer archetypes; the closest we come to is a soft Georgia peach color.
One might find a bright, almost neon tangerine in the winter archetype, but it’s rare and more difficult to get this to fit.
BUT, if you are a spring or autumn-linked business archetype, orange may be just the color to add in a warmth that’s quite different than the other colors you have chosen.
Consider using a splash of orange if the majority of your colors are blues, greens, purples, browns and other neutrals. Orange contrasts the other colors, lifting the mood of the entire brand style and drawing people in. Orange has a drawing energy and when used well, draws people in.
Think about the plethora of pumpkins and orange fused autumn leaves we are all drawn to in the fall. The weather cools, we’re starting to get quite busy in the September and October months and the gorgeous warmth of pumpkins, gourds, leaves and a night time fire warm us up and fuel us with energy in the season where much of nature is given hints of returning to the earth for a season.
To use orange well, go back to the dominant seasonal archetype your business is in. Autumn-linked brands should use an orange that is muted with some density to it. Think of the leaves changing color in the fall, the range of orange hues varies from tree to tree, but they each have the sense of depth and richness.
In the spring, orange will be much lighter with a bounce to it. Think of the classic Crayola orange crayon or lively tulips in a bouncing orange color.
Oranges in winter are going to be very bright. I’d almost put this color scheme in a winter-linked palette. Note how bright everything is and how well it goes against a stark white or dark background. The pink in-between the fruit is warm, but the pink in the grapefruit is a bright pink. The tangerine is a bright orange and even the lemon is almost a shocking yellow color. It’s definitely an eye-catching makeup case!
Always, always consider why you are adding in a color to your palette. Are you wanting to add a bit of energy and vivaciousness to your palette? Orange can help you do that.
Find Orange Around You
As you go about your normal activities this week: shopping, errands, work, walking in nature, look how orange is used.
What works? What doesn’t?
Remove the guessing game! Here's the best foundation colors for each seasonal-archetype.
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