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What does brown and yellow make?

What does brown and yellow make?

Mixing colors together can create new and interesting shades. When you combine the colors brown and yellow, the resulting color depends on the exact shades of brown and yellow used. Generally speaking, mixing a brown and yellow together will make an orange-brown or olive shade. The level of brightness or dullness in the final color depends on how light or dark the original colors are. Understanding color theory and the color wheel is helpful when predicting what colors will be produced by mixing.

The Color Wheel

The traditional color wheel shows the primary, secondary and tertiary colors and how they relate to each other. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. These are called primary colors because they cannot be created by mixing other colors. Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors. For example, mixing red and yellow makes orange. Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color next to it on the color wheel. Brown is a tertiary color made by mixing the primary color red with the secondary color orange.

Primary Colors Secondary Colors Tertiary Colors
Red Orange Red-Orange
Yellow Green Yellow-Green
Blue Purple Blue-Purple

Looking at the color wheel, we can see that brown is located between red and orange, while yellow is located between green and orange. This gives us a clue that mixing brown and yellow will create some type of orange shade. The exact hue will depend on how reddish-brown or greenish-yellow the original colors are.

Shades of Brown

Brown is a darker, earthy color that can have red, orange or yellow undertones. Some common shades of brown include:

– Russet – A reddish-brown with a dark orange tint.

– Chocolate – A reddish-dark brown.

– Chestnut – A reddish-brown with more red than chocolate brown.

– Cinnamon – A soft reddish-brown.

– Beige – A very pale brown with yellow undertones.

– Taupe – A grayish-brown or brownish-gray.

– Umber – A yellowish-brown shade.

Shades of Yellow

Yellow is a bright, warm color that ranges from a light pastel lemon to a deep goldenrod. Some common shades of yellow are:

– Lemon – A very light, pale yellow.

– Canary – A light, vibrant yellow.

– Mustard – A dull, brownish yellow.

– Amber – A medium orange-yellow.

– Goldenrod – A darker yellow, close to orange.

– Gold – A rich, deep yellow.

Mixing Brown and Yellow

When you mix together a brown and yellow shade, the resulting color will be somewhere in the orange-brown to olive color range. Here are some examples of mixing different shades of brown and yellow:

– Chestnut brown + Lemon yellow = Tan
– Chocolate brown + Canary yellow = Mustard
– Cinnamon brown + Amber yellow = Peach
– Russet brown + Goldenrod yellow = Rust
– Taupe brown + Lemon yellow = Khaki green
– Umber brown + Gold yellow = Olive

In general, mixing a light or medium yellow with a medium to dark brown will make a muted orange shade. Combining a darker yellow with a medium or dark brown will create more of an olive or greenish-brown. Using a very pale pastel yellow with a soft light brown will make more of a tan or beige.

The level of saturation or dullness depends on how much of each color is mixed together. Adding more brown will mute the orange tone and make it more earthy. Adding more yellow will brighten the shade and accentuate the orange.

Value and Tints

The value, or lightness or darkness, of the colors also impacts the mixing result. Mixing a light brown with a light yellow will create a lighter orange or tan shade. Combining a dark brown with a dark yellow will make a very dark olive or brownish-orange.

Adding white to a color creates a tint which lightens the shade. If you start with a brownish-orange color and add white, you’ll end up with more of a peachy tone. Adding black will create a shade and darken the mixed color. Putting gray into the mix mutes the saturation.

Examples and Uses

Here are some common examples of colors created by mixing brown and yellow along with how they are used:

Color Description Uses
Rust Reddish-orange brown Fall foliage, retro design
Mustard Dull yellow-brown Condiment, paint, fabric dye
Khaki Light yellowish-brown Clothing, uniforms
Desert Sand Pale orange-brown House paint, cosmetics
Olive Grayish-green brown Camouflage, foliage

Mixing Paint Colors

When mixing brown and yellow paint colors, start with small amounts and gradually adjust the proportions until you achieve the desired hue. Here is a simple process:

1. Select the shades of brown and yellow paint. Keep in mind warm vs cool undertones.

2. Start with more brown than yellow.

3. Add small amounts of yellow and mix together.

4. If needed, tone down with a neutral color like white, gray or black.

5. For a brighter, more saturated color, add more yellow.

6. For a muted, earthy olive tone, use more brown.

7. Test your mixed color on a spare canvas or paper.

8. Adjust and remix until you get the perfect balance for the tone you want.

Following the color wheel is a useful guide, but the specific mixing results will always depend on the individual paint shades used. Experiment and practice mixing to gain experience with how the colors interact.

Mixing Dyes and Pigments

The same general color theory applies when mixing brown and yellow dyes or pigments. However, the mixing process is a bit different than with paints. Here are some tips:

– Start with pure concentrated dyes/pigments. Mixing already diluted colors causes more uncertainty.

– Use an inert base material like white cotton when testing.

– Mix small amounts first to test the color.

– Yellow tends to dominate, so start with less yellow dye.

– Brown has stronger staining power than yellow.

– Adjust color balance by adding more pure brown or yellow.

– For pastel tints, dilute with white pigment after mixing the desired hue.

– Record proportions for repeating color mixes.

– Allow test samples to fully dry to ensure final color.

Master dyers understand the intricacies of mixing and combining pigments. Testing and recordkeeping help reproduce color recipes.

Digital Color Mixing

For projects involving digital design, illustration or web work, you can mix colors digitally using color pickers and adjustment tools in software programs.

– Use the color wheel or color picker to select a brown and yellow swatch.

– Add brown into yellow or vice versa to mix.

– Adjust saturation and brightness as needed.

– Tweak hue with color balance controls.

– Use eyedropper tools to sample and match colors.

– Refer to hex or RGB codes when replicating digital colors.

– Test mixes on a digital mockup before finalizing designs.

Digital programs make color mixing easy, but it still helps to understand the fundamentals of how the colors blend. Start with the right base tones and adjust as needed to create the perfect nuanced hues.

The Psychology of Brown and Yellow

Color psychology considers the emotional impact and meanings associated with different colors. Here is a brief look at the symbolic connotations of brown and yellow:

– Earthy, grounded, sturdy
– Rustic, mature, retro
– Natural, organic
– Serious, conservative

– Cheerful, playful, youthful
– Energetic, optimistic
– Attention-grabbing
– Caution, cowardice

When combined, the brown and yellow mix takes on attributes of both colors. Olive and mustard hues retain some vibrancy of yellow but are more subtle and vintage. Tan and beige tones incorporate the dependability of brown in a warmer, more laidback way. The psychology of the mixed color depends on the specific blend.


By looking at the color wheel, we can predict that mixing the tertiary brown with the primary yellow will produce a range of orange-brown shades. The exact hue that results from combining different shades of brown and yellow can vary quite a bit based on the starting tones. Adjusting the proportions and adding tints modulates the color further. With a grasp of color theory, you can confidently mix custom brown-yellow combinations for a wide variety of pigment-based and digital applications. Experiment and have fun seeing what appealing tones you can create!