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  • Writer's pictureJamie Bass

An Ode to the Color Orange

What an interesting mix of symbolism you are, Orange! You are situated at the midpoint between Yellow and Red and incorporate the characteristics of both. At one extreme, you represent the fusion of life with life: you mingle internal energy (blood, represented by Red) with external energy (the sun, represented by Yellow), implying our human life is as important as the life of the Universe, which can be, frankly, kind of intense. For this reason, you are often not popular with interiors - places that focus on human beings and our accomplishments, goals, and dreams. At your other extreme, you represent detachment and, like monks who wear your colored robes and devote their lives to service, a focus on others rather than on oneself.

You experienced a heyday in the 1960s, a time that was marked by disconnection from and disaffection with traditional institutions. And you don’t mix well with cultures or places that place a heavy emphasis on the human being as a powerful initiator.

Since you are a good color for socialization, you can be used (sparingly) in any space to emphasize a fusion of person to place, to sustain conversations, in eating areas and kitchens, and to strengthen an attachment to life, like in a hospital or nursing home. You also do well in children’s rooms, studies, and libraries.

You don’t belong in offices and workrooms where people need to be independent and quiet; in airplane, train, or bus interiors; or in overcrowded or small public spaces like an elevator. And although you are the opposite of what is needed when privacy is required in a public setting, people tend to feel more comfortable and engaged when buildings use materials, like brick, stucco, or certain stones, that have a touch of you in their materials or finishes.

Orange, what a truly interesting and unique color you are. So multi-faceted, and you really have heart. As Kandinsky once said, “orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”

Curious about other colors? Check out the Odes to Yellow, Blue, Red, Green, White, Black, and Bubble Gum Pink & Purple.


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