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What does the color orange mean in psychology?

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The color orange is one of the secondary colors that is associated with the exotic, fun and excitement. But not only this; the psychology of colors has proposed different meanings and effects depending on the specific hue of orange, as well as different uses.

In this article we will see what it is and what does the color orange mean according to color psychology, as well as some uses in consumer psychology.

  • Related article: "Color psychology: meaning and curiosities of colors"

The psychology of color

The relationship between colors and our mental and subjective processes has been extensively studied, not only by psychology, but also by philosophy, physics and other areas of knowledge.

Among the proposals that have emerged from these studies is the idea that colors are an active part of our environment, with which they are endowed with a series of meanings. The latter give shape and at the same time are a reflection of our perceptions and emotions.

Furthermore, they are meanings that have emerged from our cultural interaction with colors. That is, according to the colors

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were defined by different human societies, in relation to the phenomena of nature, each one was acquiring a special meaning, as well as the possibility of activating emotions, thoughts and psychophysical effects.

Pioneers in this field are the studies carried out in the early 1800s by the German novelist and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who took up Newton's theories on the decomposition of light, to analyze the moral effects of colors, as well as the intellectual, traditional and status characteristics according to the context.

In contemporary times the studies of Eva Heller are recognized, who tells us, for example, that the Orange color became popular in Europe until migration and wars brought the fruit from East. She in the same way she proposes that all colors they have a meaning not only cultural but psychological, and it is also a meaning that can vary if the colors are combined with each other.

How do you get orange?

By decomposing sunlight into a glass prism different wavelengths are generated which in turn produce a range of colors: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. From these three combinations of colored lights are derived that can recreate white light. These lights are green, blue-purple and red-orange, which are considered primary colors. This is known as the Law of mixing the colors of light, or also as the RGB System (Red, Green, Blue), Additive Synthesis, or the Trichromy Process.

However, there is another way to analyze colors. This is the Material Law of Color, also called the CMYK System (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) or Process of four-color printing, which is the law that has allowed the generation of inks and the reproduction of color images, making it the most used.

The primary colors red, yellow, and blue are derived from this law. The latter are the only ones that are not produced from the mixture of others, but that do can be mixed together to produce all shades that the human eye can appreciate.

On the other hand, the violet, green and orange colors are known as secondary colors, since they are obtained from the mixture of the primary colors. As with other colors, orange has a wide chromatic range, that is, it is made up of different shades, and each of them can represent different elements.

What does the color orange mean?

The different shades of orange have been linked to personality traits, attitudes, motivations and emotions. It mainly represents joy, enthusiasm and fun. It has also been related to the exotic, which does not generate pleasure for all people.

It is related to sociability, originality, extraversion, activity or enthusiasm and closeness. On the other hand, some shades of orange represent the excessively showy, a frivolous and conventional attitude; and other shades also represent inappropriateness and danger.

Likewise, orange has been associated with lust and sensuality. Its combination with gray evokes discretion and extroversion at the same time.; and the mix between orange and white evokes the striking and at the same time the moderate. This last part of Heller's theory that says that there is a specific combination of colors that has opposite and contradictory effects on a psychological level. In cultural terms it has been used frequently in Buddhism and in connection with Protestantism.

  • You may be interested: "What does the color black mean in psychology?"

In consumer psychology

Something that psychology has studied is how different brands base their communication with the consumer through a symbology of shapes and colors. They start from the idea that the use made of colors largely determines the success of the message; since the colors evoke different emotions according to the characteristics of the public to whom they are directed. In other words, color even influences our decisions, which is why it has had important implications in consumer psychology.

Specifically, in consumer psychology, orange, as well as red and yellow, have been associated with stimulation of appetite and flavors, so they have been used to advertise different food and restaurant chains.

Related to this, the psychophysical psychology of color has found the relationship between the intense orange color and the sweet taste experience. Warm colors such as yellow, red and orange elicit a positive purchase response by its association with optimism.

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