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What is the CMYK code for blaze orange?

What is the CMYK code for blaze orange?

Blaze orange, also known as safety orange, is a bright orange color used for high visibility applications. It is commonly used for safety equipment, clothing, and signs to make the wearer or object easily seen. Determining the exact CMYK code for blaze orange can be helpful for design and printing applications where accurate color reproduction is necessary. In this article, we will examine the CMYK values that make up blaze orange and how they can be used.

Defining Blaze Orange

Blaze orange gets its name from its intense, neon orange appearance. It was first formulated in the 1960s to help hunters stand out against natural backgrounds and avoid accidental shootings. Since then, it has become ubiquitous as a safety color for construction crews, road workers, athletes, and more.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standardized specifications for blaze orange to ensure consistency. OSHA defines it as “a fluorescent orange color with a dominant wavelength between 595 and 605 nanometers, excitation purity not less than 85 percent, and luminance factor of not less than 40 percent.” This establishes blaze orange as being within a certain color range for high visibility.

The CMYK Color Model

To reproduce blaze orange accurately, we need to translate its properties into a compatible color system. The CMYK or cyan, magenta, yellow, black model is a subtractive color model used in printing. It represents colors through varying mixtures of these four ink colors:

Color Description
Cyan A light blue hue
Magenta A reddish purple hue
Yellow A bright golden hue
Black Pure black ink

By mixing ink of these colors on paper in different percentages, a wide range of colors can be created. The percentage of each color is represented by a number from 0-100%. For example, a CMYK code of 15, 94, 76, 3 indicates 15% cyan ink, 94% magenta ink, 76% yellow ink, and 3% black ink.

Determining the Blaze Orange CMYK Values

To find the right CMYK combination for blaze orange, we need to match its defined properties and wavelength range. This typically involves:

– Using a spectrophotometer to measure the exact color properties and light wavelength of blaze orange samples. This gives the precise chromaticity coordinates and nanometer values.

– Referencing these measurements against CMYK conversion charts to find the closest equivalent mix of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black values. Multiple ink combinations may produce similar results.

– Test printing CMYK swatches to empirically determine the formula that most accurately matches blaze orange visually. Fine tuning may be required.

– Consulting Pantone guides which provide industry standard CMYK conversions for many colors including blaze orange.

Following this process results in some commonly cited CMYK values reproducing blaze orange:

Source CMYK Code
OSHA 0, 65, 100, 0
Pantone 0, 69, 91, 0
Digital Color Meter 0, 70, 90, 0
Adobe Color Wheel 0, 70, 90, 0

As shown, most industry sources reference a CMYK code for blaze orange of 0% cyan, 65-70% magenta, 90-100% yellow, and 0% black. Slight variations may occur based on specific ink, paper, and printing factors.

Using Blaze Orange CMYK in Design

When working in applications such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop, having the CMYK definition for blaze orange enables accurate color specification. This ensures the bright orange tone is preserved when documents containing the color are commercially printed.

Specifying blaze orange CMYK values rather than RGB codes avoids possible color shifts from an RGB color mode. It also allows proper separation into the 4 print ink channels.

To utilize the CMYK blaze orange colors in documents and designs:

– Define blaze orange as a swatch in programs like InDesign and Illustrator using the 0, 70, 90, 0 CMYK values. This creates a reusable color to apply.

– Use the color picker tool to sample blaze orange and specify CMYK as the color mode. The closest match will populate the CMYK fields.

– For photography work in Photoshop, add a new channel and fill with the yellow and magenta values to overprint blaze orange.

– Always double check proofs and adjustments may be necessary so blaze orange prints accurately. Calibrating monitors helps match on-screen colors.

– Consult with commercial print providers to ensure the CMYK blaze orange used is compatible with their equipment, ink, and paper stock.

Following these tips will help integrate blaze orange into designs while maintaining consistency across applications and printing. This allows its high visibility qualities to be utilized.

Alternative Colors and Color Spaces

While CMYK is preferred for commercial printing, blaze orange can also be defined in other color spaces:

– In RGB, it is around R=255, G=102, B=0. This is appropriate for digital and screen applications.

– The closest matching Pantone color is PMS 803 C, 804 C, or 805 C. These proprietary spot colors can be used alongside CMYK for extra vividness.

– In HTML and CSS, blaze orange is #FF6600. This web hex code can be used for online display.

– The Lab color values are L* = 50, a* = 60, b* = 90. Lab defines color by luminosity and chromaticity coordinates.

Converting between these color models is possible using conversion calculators and charts. While these alternatives exist, CMYK remains the optimal choice for commercial printing.

Use Cases for Blaze Orange

Blaze orange’s high visibility makes it ideal for prominent applications where standing out and being spotted quickly are essential:

Safety Vests Road Signs
Warning Labels Traffic Cones
Hunting Gear Safety Flags
Life Jackets Construction Barricades

It continues to evolve as a safety color beyond these traditional uses as well. New blaze orange applications include sports uniforms, helmets, footwear, drones, and automotive accents.

Regulations for Blaze Orange

Strict requirements govern the use of blaze orange for safety applications:

– OSHA stipulates technical specifications for the color and luminance. Safety garments must utilize fabric that meets these standards.

– Blaze orange for traffic control follows regulations in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

– State hunting laws dictate the required amount of blaze orange clothing during open seasons. For example, New York requires at least 400 square inches visible.

– Using blaze orange improperly or outside sanctioned uses may violate protected trademarks and regulations.


Blaze orange has become an instantly recognizable color thanks to its optimized hue for visibility. Defining this color accurately in the CMYK color space is key for design and printing uses where maintaining its vivid appearance is essential. The proper CMYK values allow blaze orange to stand out whether printed on paper, fabric, plastic, or other surfaces. With the combination of 0% cyan, 65-70% magenta, 90-100% yellow, and 0% black, blaze orange comes through vividly, improving safety and recognition wherever applied.