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What is natural orange Colour?

What is natural orange Colour?

Orange is a colour that is associated with warmth, vibrancy, and energy. It occupies a special place in the colour spectrum, bridging the gap between red and yellow. But what exactly makes orange, orange? Where does this bright, joyful hue come from in nature? In this article, we’ll explore the origins, meanings, and uses of the colour orange.

What Makes Orange Orange?

In technical terms, orange is a secondary colour made by combining red and yellow. The specific shade of orange depends on the proportion of red to yellow used. More red gives a reddish orange while more yellow results in a yellowish orange.

On the light spectrum, orange has a dominant wavelength of around 610 nanometres. This wavelength stimulates our retina’s L-cones and M-cones but not S-cones, resulting in the perception of orange.

So in summary, orange is the colour the human eye sees when it looks at light with a wavelength of roughly 610nm. This light stimulates the red and green colour receptors in our retinas, mixing to form the orange sensation.

The Origins of the Colour Name

The word “orange” originated in the early 16th century, derived from the Sanskrit word naranga, which referred to the orange tree. This became naranj in Persian and Arabic, eventually becoming orange in English.

Before this, there was no specific name for the colour in English. Reddish yellow was just called “yellow-red”. The introduction of the orange fruit led to the distinct colour term we know today.

Natural Sources of Orange

Orange rarely occurs in nature as a pure spectral colour. But there are many natural objects and phenomena that display vivid orange hues, like:

Natural Source What Causes the Orange Colour
Carrots Carotenoids like beta-carotene
Pumpkins Carotenoid pigments
Oranges Carotenoids
Autumn leaves Carotenoids revealed as chlorophyll breaks down
Sunrise/sunset skies Light scattering causing predominance of red/yellow wavelengths
Some flowers like marigolds Carotenoid pigments
Monarch butterflies Pigments called pteridines

As you can see, orange in nature generally comes from pigments called carotenoids. These are organic compounds produced by plants, algae, bacteria and fungi. Chemically they are made of chains of isoprene molecules that can absorb certain wavelengths of light.

The most common orange carotenoids are beta-carotene found in carrots and alpha-carotene found in pumpkins. These molecules absorb bluer and shorter wavelengths of light, leaving behind the longer orange/red wavelengths to be reflected and seen.

Other pigments like pteridines can also produce orange shades in animals and insects like butterflies. So in summary, plant chemicals, light scattering, and animal pigments all contribute to orange colours in the natural world.

The Psychology and Symbolism of Orange

Orange is a bold, energetic colour that carries multiple symbolic meanings:

Psychological Associations
– Energy, vitality, cheerfulness
– Friendliness, social communication
– Youth, freshness, creativity
– Balance, harmony
– Adventure, risk-taking
Symbolic Meanings
– Enthusiasm, fascination
– Sunshine, tropics
– Autumn harvest
– Halloween
– Monarch butterflies

In colour psychology, orange combines the energy of red with the optimism of yellow. It stimulates physical and mental activity, appetite and socialisation. It also represents endurance and affordability.

In marketing, orange promotes impulse buying and bargains. It’s an attention-grabbing, youthful hue.

Orange is the national colour of the Netherlands and represents the Dutch royal family. It’s also associated with Buddhism, Hinduism and the saffron spice.

So whether it’s the colour of a glowing sunset or a fresh, juicy orange, this vivid shade certainly makes its presence felt.

Uses of the Colour Orange

With its upbeat, energetic vibe, orange is utilized in many commercial and creative applications:

Industry Use of Orange
Food & hospitality Fast food brands like McDonald’s, Burger King
Sports NBA basketballs, soccer kits, cycling jerseys
Fashion & beauty Clothing accents, nail polish, makeup
Technology Orange logo and branding of Netflix, Mozilla, Instagram
Automotive Safety features like traffic cones, high visibility vests
Advertising Attention-grabbing button calls-to-action

Orange commands attention without being as overpowering as red. It’s energetic and friendly, striking a balance between the warmth of red and the cheer of yellow.

Brands leverage orange to stand out, evoke appetite, inspire action, and convey accessibility. It’s also a fundamental colour for safety applications thanks to its high visibility.

In interior design, orange can create cozy, inviting spaces when used in moderation. Accent walls, pillows, furniture – orange jazzes up a room with a tropical flair.

Overall, this vibrant secondary colour brings positivity, youth and energy across many realms of life.

Shades of Orange

The orange colour spectrum encompasses a wide range of shades:

Shade Description
Peach Soft, pale orange with pink undertones
Coral Vibrant reddish-orange
Amber Golden-orange, like resin
Tangerine Luminous reddish orange
Pumpkin Deep golden orange
Rust Reddish, oxidized orange
Bronze Metallic, shimmery orange

Ranging from peachy pastels to burnt earth tones, the orange family accommodates various aesthetics. But all its shades share that upbeat, energetic essence.

Complementary Colours for Orange

Complementary colours are those located opposite each other on the colour wheel. Orange’s complements are blue and azure:

– Navy blue – Royal blue
– Cyan – Turquoise
– Indigo – Teal

These cool blue tones contrast beautifully with warm orange. Used together in design, orange and blue create vibrant focal points that attract attention.

Blue also draws out the undertones in different orange shades: cyan intensifies tangerine, while indigo deepens pumpkin hues gorgeously.


Orange is a dynamic colour that truly bridges the spectrum between red and yellow. Derived from the orange fruit, its name reflects the vivid sensory impression this hue makes.

In nature, orange originates from light scattering and pigments like carotenoids and pteridines. It carries meanings of energy, positivity, adventure and enthusiasm.

Orange stands out in branding, food, sports and safety applications. It also complements rich blues for eye-catching palettes.

So the next time you see a radiant orange sunset, garment, or graphic, appreciate the natural beauty and human passion that gave rise to this colour. Orange truly encompasses the warmth, joy and vitality of nature and mankind.