Colour Of The Month: Orange Colour Palette
If I say “orange” what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
The zesty fruit? Pumpkins? Sunsets? Autumn leaves? Cozy Campfires? - Or is it more along the lines of Caution signs? Traffic cones? Tow truck lights and construction zone markers? Regardless of what it was that you first thought of, even this glimpse into associations with orange shows how divisive the colour orange can be. That might be why most people refer to either liking or completely hating it!
Funnily enough its divisiveness is one of the reasons we deemed it colour of the month in October. Not only does it represent the beginning of autumn: the weather getting colder, but you can still enjoy the last rays of sun outside while the leaves start turning orange it is also associated with bright Pumpkin-faces leading us up to Halloween!
Or course different tones of orange have slightly different meanings and general perceptions. General guidelines are:
Lighter Oranges like Peach are associated with pastel-sunsets and flowers
They create more of a cheerful, inspiring and creative vibe.
Bright Oranges like Golden-Orange are associated with oranges and caution signs
They signal adventure, warning, attention or confidence.
Darker Oranges like Amber are associated with autumn and camp fires
They signify change, (over-)confidence or warmth.
So what does that mean in relation to branding of your company?
Use of orange in branding
Orange naturally catches your attention, especially for kids, who according to psychological studies are naturally drawn to vibrant, bright colours. Some brands shamelessly use that to their advantage to get parents to buy their products to kids who demands them: Just think about the logo of Fanta or Starburst. But it’s not just kids brands tho!
As some of you might have noticed, the shop Sainsbury’s also uses orange as a major part of their palette. If you are thinking about doing that I’d advise you to be careful though! Due to the controversial and bright nature of the colour, having big spaces filled with it might lead to some people being put off by your logo immediately, just due to its colour. Then again, colour preferences are individual to every person, so as long as you have a clear idea of your ideal customer, their preferences and what you want to represent with your brand you should be good to go!
If using orange as a background colour does not sound like your cup of tea, it could always be used as an accent colour. Take a moment to think about it: do any logos with orange accents come to mind? Even if not, I’m sure the name “Amazon” rings a bell! Amazon uses an orange arrow under their name, not only representing the delivery aspect of their service, but also indicating that they offer every product imaginable – from a to z! “Why orange?” you might ask! For Amazon it’s most likely that they wanted to convey youthfulness, vibrancy and warmth. It’s also sometimes considered as a call-to-action-colour which is another example for its versatility and why you should not necessarily be afraid of using it to your advantages.
Here’s one example how we used orange as a accent in the logo of one of our clients: Brain Train Me.
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Use of orange in websites
Just like with the general branding, having big blocks of orange on your website might quickly become overwhelming due to its brightness, especially on screens! Using orange as an accent colour is a great opportunity though! It gives off an energetic and joyful vibe and works especially well with its complementary colour blue, often described as giving the impression of warm, active summer days and the contrast of refreshing bodies of water. (By the way: This combination is also seen in the logo of the internet browser Firefox!)
Using orange as an accent in your brand palette will give you an opportunity to highlight certain parts of text or make noticeable buttons that draw attention of your website visitors and in turn bring more clicks! Orange can then also be used in your brand photos, creating a cohesive scheme to run throughout your brand and website (again, as seen on Brain Train Me’s website).
Use of orange in photos
If orange is used in your overall branding colours, having it come up as a supporting colour in your brand photos is a great idea. There are of course a million different ways to integrate different shades of orange and convey a slightly different vibe with each one of them, but here are some easy and effective ways to incorporate orange highlights into your shoot:
Like I said before, for a warm, sunset, comfort vibe, toned down orange hues are the best as opposed to brighter oranges, which are better at conveying a more vibrant, energetic vibe.
There are different ways to incorporate those into shoots like using flowers (set up either in the background or get the person to hold them), within outfits as accessories or main pieces of garment, jewellery or even nail polish colours as you can see in the images of the photoshoot with our client Nadine Siedbrat!
So what’s the takeaway
Orange is an incredibly versatile colour. It can move people to action, warn you, but also make you fell all warm and happy inside. The key is to figure out what message you want to convey, and once you do that, orange might actually become a key colour in helping you achieve your goals of creating an expressive and joyful brand you want to have!
Feel like you need to breathe some fresh air into your brand?
Or maybe you just realised that you need to update your palette and bring some orange tones into it?
Take a look at our Brand Design Package!