ColorFULL of Meaning: ORANGE

ColorFULL of Meaning: ORANGE

Color Wheel

This series of posts delves into the meanings, associations, and symbolism of color…starting with the color wheel above.  We have explored the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors…let’s go deeper with those now, and learn a bit about color psychology.  Now that’s a horse of a different color…but not necessarily a dark horse. Off to the colorFULL races. Today let’s jump into a color that can be both juicy and burnt…can it transcend its own contradictions? Here we go with ORANGE!

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The primary associations of ORANGE are stimulating, happiness, joviality, warmth, sociability, and pleasure. It is lively,  outgoing and energetic. According to Max Lüscher /the  Lüscher color test, ORANGE can also express  competition, excitability, and excitability. Bright ORANGE excites and stimulates,  while light ORANGE cheers. When it is highly saturated, ORANGE can feel intrusive, brash, or aggressive. Next to red, it is the colour most popular for extroverts, and is a symbol of activity

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ORANGE also associates with nature in a way very different than green:  Fall foliage…Autumn leaves,  harvest, (think Halloween pumpkins, Thanksgiving centerpieces replete with brilliant leaves and Indian corn), sunsets, the canyons of the Southwest. Although ORANGE closer to the actual color of fire…red is fire’s symbol (“fiery red”).

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On an energetic level, ORANGE corresponds to the spleen  Chakra, symbolizing energy,  and influencing the heart and the spleen and pancreas.

ORANGE may be used as a color of warning, or caution in temporary and construction signage  specified by the US Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices  A skull with an ORANGE background indicates a toxic substance or poison, possibly also hearkening back to the scary aspect of Halloween. Level ORANGE is second only to level red in the US Department of Homeland Security‘s color system indicating  the threat of terrorist attack.

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ORANGE can stimulate the appetite, and is often seen in the cheerful decor of casual dining establishments. It is the color of a wealth of fruits, vegetables and spices; from oranges (of course)  to carrots to pumpkins to salmon to paprika, and can be a great choice of hue for a variety of eating environments.

In fact, the “…colour orange is named after the appearance of the ripe orange fruit.[2] The word comes from the Old French orenge, from the old term for the fruit, pomme d’orenge. That name comes from the Arabic naranj, through the Persian naranj, derived from the sanskrit naranga.[3] The first recorded use of orange as a colour name in English was in 1512,[4][5] in a will now filed with the Public Record Office. Before this word was introduced to the English-speaking world, the colour was referred to as ġeolurēad (yellow-red)….” the parent colors of ORANGE!

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ORANGE is the hue most visible in dim light, or against the water.  It is  the color of life rafts, life jackets or buoys. It is worn by people wanting to be seen, including highway workers and lifeguards, and people who others want to keep track of, like prisoners (“Orange is the New Black“).  San Francisco’s  Golden Gate Bridge  is painted international orange to make it more visible in the fog that often shrouds the San Francisco Bay.

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As regards to Synesthesia, or  associations with other senses, ORANGE associates this way: Sound: loud, major key. Temperature: warm, flame-like. Taste/Odor: strong. Tactile: dry

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Born of red and yellow, ORANGE enlivens and cheers us, cautions us, encourages us to eat and warns us not to,  illuminates both what we want to see, and wish we didn’t have to. Always warm, and often inviting, ORANGE encourages, expresses, beckons, halts and screams both yes and no.

What does ORANGE mean to YOU?


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