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What is the color between yellow and red?

What is the color between yellow and red?

The color between yellow and red on the visible spectrum is orange. Orange is a secondary color that is made by mixing the primary colors yellow and red. When light waves of these two colors combine, the resulting wavelength is what we perceive as orange. Understanding where orange fits on the color spectrum helps explain why it has the characteristics it does.

The Visible Color Spectrum

The visible spectrum of light that humans can see ranges from violet at the short wavelength end through red at the long wavelength end. The sequence of colors from shortest to longest wavelength is:

Violet Indigo Blue Green Yellow Orange Red

Yellow has a wavelength of 570-590 nanometers, while red is 620-750 nm. Orange falls between them at 590-620 nm. When yellow and red light mix together, the resulting color our eyes see is orange.

Primary and Secondary Colors

There are three primary colors – red, yellow and blue. These cannot be created by mixing other colors. Secondary colors are formed by combining two primary colors. For example:

Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red = Violet

So orange is the secondary color between the primary colors yellow and red. When paint pigments or lighting filters mix, the resulting color that emerges is orange.

Properties of Orange

Orange has qualities of both its parent colors, yellow and red. Like red, it is a warm, energetic color associated with heat and fire. Like yellow, it is bright and lively. Some key properties of orange include:

– Warmth – Orange conveys warmth, vitality and fun. It reminds people of things like fire, sunsets, citrus fruits.

– Energy – As a combination of energetic red and joyful yellow, orange has an intense spirit. It stimulates activity and appetite.

– Friendliness – Orange has a pleasant, inviting quality. It is playful without being as overwhelming as red.

– Accessibility – Orange commands attention without being as overpowering as red. It is friendly and approachable.

So orange combines the vitality of red and the cheerfulness of yellow for a color that is warm, energetic and friendly. It straddles the boundary between the two in hue and characteristics.

Uses of Orange

Some common uses and associations of the color orange are:

– Food – Oranges, carrots, pumpkins, peaches are orange fruits and vegetables. It stimulates appetite.

– Nature – Orange is associated with autumn leaves, sunsets, flowers.

– Warning Signs – Orange grabs attention, so is used for high visibility safety equipment.

– Enthusiasm – Orange conveys excitement for sports teams, energetic brands.

Food Oranges, carrots, pumpkin, peaches
Nature Sunsets, fall leaves, flowers
Warning signs Safety equipment, traffic cones
Enthusiasm Sports teams, energetic brands

Orange is often used to showcase fun, adventure and creativity. It blends red’s power with yellow’s friendliness for vibrant applications.

Shades of Orange

There are a wide variety of shades of orange spanning the spectrum between yellow and red. Different shades have their own names and characteristics:

– Red-orange – Closer to red, conveys strength and intensity.

– Amber – Closer to yellow, warm and inviting.

– Peach – Soft, friendly tone named after the fruit.

– Coral – Pinkish-orange, tropical and energetic.

– Tangerine – Vibrant, reddish-orange like the fruit.

Red-orange Intense, bold
Amber Warm, welcoming
Peach Soft, gentle
Coral Energetic, tropical
Tangerine Vibrant, Citrusy

Even within the bounds of orange there is diversity in tones and what they communicate. Lighter peach shades seem friendly, while deep oranges grab more attention.

Orange in Culture and History

Orange has symbolic meaning in many cultures and histories:

– Buddhism – In Buddhism orange (saffron) represents the spirit of renunciation.

– Hinduism – Orange is closely associated with Hinduism and is worn by holy men.

– Ancient Egypt – Orange was the color of mourning and the afterlife in Egyptian art.

– Europe – In the Middle Ages, orange was seen as the color of pride and vanity in Europe.

– Netherlands – Orange is the national color of the Netherlands, representing the Dutch Royal Family.

Buddhism Renunciation
Hinduism Holy men
Ancient Egypt Mourning, afterlife
Middle Ages Europe Pride, vanity
Netherlands Dutch Royal Family

Orange took on both positive and negative symbolic meanings across different cultures over time. Today it is largely associated with positive qualities like energy, creativity and enthusiasm in Western culture.

Pop Culture and Orange

Orange appears in popular media and culture in many forms:

– Food Mascots – Many food mascots are orange such as the Nickelodeon orange, Cheetos cheetah

– Movies – Orange seems to dominate movie posters and promotional material quite often

– Books – Novel covers often utilize orange shades to stand out

– Fashion – Orange has become a trendy fashion color associated with vibrancy

Food mascots Nickelodeon, Cheetos
Movies Promotional posters
Books Novel covers
Fashion Trendy, vibrant

Pop culture uses orange liberally to grab attention and convey energy, fun and youthfulness. Marketers recognize its ability to stand out.


Orange falls neatly between yellow and red on the visible color spectrum. It combines the energy of red and friendliness of yellow for a color that is attention-grabbing yet energetic and fun. Orange is utilized across cultures both for its symbolic meanings and ability to convey certain qualities. Understanding where it lies between yellow and red helps explain why it has such vibrant and energetic associations in design and culture.