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What are red orange and yellow called?

The colors red, orange, and yellow all fall under the color family known as the “warm colors.” This group of colors is characterized by evoking feelings of warmth, energy, and excitement. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the specifics of what red, orange, and yellow are each called, some facts about these bright colors, and examples of where you might see them.

What is Red Called?

The color red goes by several names:

  • Scarlet
  • Crimson
  • Ruby
  • Cherry
  • Fire engine red

Scarlet is a bright, rich red color that has a slightly orange tint to it. Crimson is also a strong, deep red that has hints of blue. Ruby is a cooler-toned red that is named after the precious gemstone. Cherry is, not surprisingly, the red color of ripe cherries. Fire engine red is a bright red that is commonly used on fire trucks.

The color red sits at the end of the visible color spectrum. It has the longest wavelength and the lowest frequency of all the visible colors.

Red Color Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the color red:

  • Red light has the longest wavelength of visible light – around 700 nanometers.
  • The human eye is most sensitive to wavelengths of light around 555 nanometers, which is in the green part of the spectrum. This means we can distinguish more shades of red than other colors.
  • Red is a primary color in both the RYB (red, yellow, blue) and RGB (red, green, blue) color models.
  • In color psychology, red is associated with heat, energy, passion, desire, love, aggression, and war.
  • Red is used ubiquitously as a symbol of warning and danger. Think stop signs, stop lights, and red alerts.
  • In many cultures, red symbolizes good luck, success, joy, and celebration.
  • Red is a popular color for national flags. Some examples are China, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, and Japan.

Where Do We See the Color Red?

Here are some common places, objects, and occurrences where the color red makes an appearance:

  • Stop signs and stop lights
  • Fire engines and fire hydrants
  • Emergency vehicles like ambulances and police cars
  • Traffic cones and safety barriers
  • Warning signs and labels
  • The Red Cross humanitarian organization
  • Santa Claus’s suit
  • Valentine’s Day hearts and decorations
  • Apples, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers, etc.
  • Red flowers like roses, tulips, poinsettias, and carnations
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • The red carpet at celebrity events
  • Lipstick and rouge makeup
  • Blood

The prevalence of red in nature and culture shows how visually striking and stimulating this color is for the human eye.

What is Orange Called?

The color orange is simply called orange. Unlike red or blue, it does not have alternate names or shades. However, there are descriptive phrases that help identify different hues and tones of orange:

  • Bright orange
  • Burnt orange
  • Peach
  • Coral
  • Pumpkin orange
  • Tangerine
  • Amber

Bright orange is a pure, intense orange tone. Burnt orange has hints of brown and feels more earthy. Peach and coral contain pink undertones. Pumpkin orange is the distinctive hue of pumpkins and fall leaves. Tangerine is a reddish-orange that is named after the citrus fruit. Amber is a golden-orange color.

Orange Color Facts

Fun facts about the color orange:

  • Orange is a secondary color, created by mixing red and yellow.
  • In the traditional RYB color model, orange sits between red and yellow.
  • The human eye sees orange wavelengths around 610 nanometers.
  • Orange has very high visibility, second only to yellow in the spectrum.
  • In design and publishing, orange grabs attention without being as overpowering as red.
  • Orange conveys energy, warmth, enthusiasm, creativity, success, and balance.
  • Too much orange can feel overwhelming or abrasive.
  • Orange is sometimes used to warn of dangerous conditions, although less aggressively than red.
  • Orange is named after the fruit, which came first.

Where Do We See the Color Orange?

Some prominent uses and associations with the color orange:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins, grapefruit
  • Carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots
  • Monarch butterflies
  • The visible part of fire
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Autumn leaves
  • Life jackets, safety vests
  • Traffic cones
  • Warning signs
  • Halloween decorations like jack-o-lanterns
  • Thanksgiving decor featuring pumpkins and autumn colors

Orange is a bright, energetic color that evokes warmth, nostalgia, and vibrancy.

What is Yellow Called?

Some common names for shades and tints of yellow include:

  • Lemon
  • Canary
  • Butter
  • Gold
  • Amber
  • Sunflower
  • Banana
  • Blonde

Lemon and canary yellow have a sour, citrus flavor. Butter and banana yellow are mellower, warmer tones. Gold and amber yellow have hints of orange. Sunflower yellow is bright and a little greenish. Blonde describes pale, desaturated shades of yellow.

Yellow Color Facts

Some interesting tidbits about the color yellow:

  • Yellow wavelengths are around 570-590 nanometers.
  • Yellow is the most visible color to the human eye.
  • Pure yellow is the brightest color on the RYB color wheel.
  • Yellow is a primary color in RYB and a secondary color in RGB.
  • Yellow evokes feelings of happiness, hope, optimism, and warmth.
  • Too much yellow can cause eye strain.
  • Yellow is sometimes used cautiously for warnings due to its visibility.
  • Yellow has cultural associations with gold, sunshine, and royalty.
  • Yellow daffodils are a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.

Where Do We See the Color Yellow?

Some prominent uses of the color yellow:

  • Sunflowers and daffodils
  • Lemons, bananas, pineapples
  • Rubber ducks
  • Taxi cabs and school buses
  • Road signs and hazard symbols
  • Construction equipment like bulldozers
  • Smiley faces and happy emojis
  • Caution tape
  • Yellow highlighter pen
  • Minions from Despicable Me

Yellow’s brightness, visibility, and energetic feel make it perfect for grabbing attention. This versatile color ranges from playful and cheerful to warm and welcoming.

Comparison of Red, Orange, and Yellow

Here is a table comparing some attributes of the colors red, orange, and yellow:

Color Hue Family Wavelength RYB Color Model RGB Color Model Associated Feelings
Red Warm ~700nm Primary Primary Passion, love, anger
Orange Warm ~610nm Secondary Secondary Energy, creativity, enthusiasm
Yellow Warm 570-590nm Primary Secondary Happiness, optimism, intellect

This comparison shows that while red, orange, and yellow all belong to the warm color family, they have their own distinct attributes. Red is the longest wavelength, orange is highly visible, and yellow has the highest visibility to humans. All three evoke uplifting, invigorating emotions.

The Use of Red, Orange, and Yellow in Art

The warm colors have been widely used in art throughout history. Here are some examples:

  • Vincent Van Gogh created vibrant oil paintings full of swirling yellow, orange, and red tones.
  • Mark Rothko pioneered enormous fields of color like red, yellow, and orange in his Color Field paintings.
  • Henri Matisse used unapologetic patches of orange, red, and yellow in his cut-out collages.
  • Impressionist painters like Claude Monet captured the warm colors of sunrises and sunsets.
  • Modern graffiti art and murals often incorporate bright reds, oranges, and yellows.
  • In photography, warm color filters are used to enhance red, orange, and yellow hues.

These colors have remarkable power. They grab the viewer’s eye, convey deep emotion, and bring vibrancy to any medium.

The Psychology of Red, Orange, and Yellow

There is an extensive body of research on the psychological impact of various colors. Here is a look at what studies reveal about the warm hues of red, orange, and yellow:

  • Red increases heart rate, respiration, and brain wave activity. It draws attention and conveys importance.
  • Orange promotes creativity, happiness, and success. However, it can also increase anxiety.
  • Yellow boosts metabolism, memory, and alertness. It cultivates positive emotions.
  • Brighter colors tend to elicit stronger psychological and physiological effects.
  • Culture and personal experiences also shape color associations.
  • Too much exposure to warm, bright colors can cause eye strain and visual fatigue.

Overall, these warm hues are stimulating colors that grab attention, raise spirits, boost alertness, and convey passion and enthusiasm. But they are best used in moderation.

Red, Orange, and Yellow in Branding and Marketing

Warm, bright colors are ubiquitous in business branding and marketing. Here are some examples that harness the power of red, orange, and yellow:

  • Fast food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King integrate red prominently in their logos and restaurants.
  • Most major soda brands like Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Crush use red or orange packaging.
  • Children’s brands like Nickelodeon, Lego, and McDonald’s Happy Meals use vibrant yellow, orange, and red.
  • Yellow and orange convey the energy of sports drinks like Gatorade.
  • Bold reds and oranges help make food packaging like tomato sauce, oranges, and Doritos pop on shelves.
  • Yellow commands attention in taxi cabs, school buses, and hazard signs.

Research has consistently shown that people make visual and aesthetic judgments in under 90 seconds. Warm, high contrast colors help brands stand out in those crucial first moments.


Red, orange, and yellow comprise a vibrant color family that ignites passion, happiness, and imagination. By exploring the nuances between scarlet, tangerine, and lemon yellow, weunlock the subtle magic of color theory. Whether in fine art or food packaging, these vivid hues make a visual impact and evoke visceral emotion. So harness the heat and energy of life’s red-orange-yellow fire – but use its power wisely.