The colour that is a mix between orange and yellow is most commonly referred to as “orange-yellow.” This is a tertiary colour that is made by combining the primary colour yellow with the secondary colour orange.
The Origin of the Term “Orange-Yellow”
The first recorded use of the term “orange-yellow” in the English language dates back to the early 19th century. It appears in books from that time period describing colours and pigments. The combination of the colour words “orange” and “yellow” clearly denotes a colour that is somewhere in between the two hues.
While “orange-yellow” has remained the most widely used term for this colour over the past two centuries, some other names have emerged as well. These include “yellow-orange” and “yellowish orange.” However, “orange-yellow” has been the predominant and preferred name.
Defining the Colour Orange-Yellow
Orange-yellow sits between orange and yellow on the colour wheel. It possesses qualities of both colours but also has its own unique identity.
Like orange, orange-yellow elicits feelings of warmth, vibrancy, and energy. From yellow, it takes bright, cheerful qualities. But orange-yellow has a deeper golden tone compared to lemon yellow.
In technical terms, orange-yellow is defined by having higher colour saturation and lightness than pure orange, but lower saturation and lightness than pure yellow. Its hue angle is around 50 degrees.
Uses of the Colour Orange-Yellow
Orange-yellow has many uses due to its warm, energetic personality. Here are some of the most prominent ways this colour is utilized:
- Safety Equipment: Orange-yellow is a highly visible colour, making it ideal for safety vests, caution signs, and traffic cones.
- Fruit: Many tropical fruits have orange-yellow skins, like mangoes, oranges, and pineapples.
- Sunsets: The vivid oranges and yellows in many sunsets create orange-yellow tones.
- Interior Design: Orange-yellow can bring a bright, welcoming feel to rooms as an accent colour.
- Fast Food: Fast food chains often use orange-yellow in signage, decor, and packaging.
Orange-Yellow in Culture
Orange-yellow holds meaning and symbolism in cultures around the world:
- Hinduism: Saffron-coloured robes and flags are important Hindu symbols. Saffron is a variety of orange-yellow.
- Buddhism: In Tibetan Buddhism, orange-yellow is associated with the flame of inner realization.
- Western Culture: Orange-yellow evokes the colours of autumn leaves and harvest in seasonal imagery.
- Mexico: Orange-yellow appears on Mexico’s flag and coat of arms as a sign of Aztec heritage.
Shades and Variations
There are many shades within the range of the orange-yellow colour spectrum. Here are some of the most common variations:
|Shade Name||Hex Code||Description|
|Peach||#FFE5B4||Soft, pale orange-yellow|
|Amber||#FFBF00||Richer, darker orange-yellow|
These represent just a small selection of the many shades in the orange-yellow range that exist.
How to Mix Orange-Yellow
If you want to create the colour orange-yellow, there are a couple of simple ways to mix it:
- Paint: Mix orange and yellow paint colours together. Adjust ratios as needed.
- Light: Blend an orange light source with a yellow light source.
- Digital: Use a colour picker to select the hue between orange and yellow.
- Dye: Dye fabric or other material first yellow, then overdye in orange.
The most vivid orange-yellow tones will result from mixing a deep orange with a bright yellow in even proportions. But subtle variations can be achieved by adjusting the ratios.
If you need to match an existing orange-yellow colour, these tips can help:
- Analyze the hue, saturation, and brightness levels of the colour you want to match.
- Refer to a colour wheel and compare swatch samples to narrow down the exact shade.
- Use a colour matching system like Pantone to find the perfect equivalent colour mixture.
- Test out mixes and make adjustments until you achieve the desired orange-yellow.
Matching colours precisely requires a careful eye, but taking the time to analyze and compare will lead to success.
Orange-yellow occupies a vibrant space between the primary and secondary colours on the wheel. Its energy and golden tones give it a warm, sunny personality. This useful tertiary combines the strengths of orange and yellow for a highly visible hue with cultural symbolism. Whether you seek to use orange-yellow functionally or creatively, understanding its mix, shades, and meaning gives you control of this colour in any setting.