The Meaning of Orange

By CRAIG KUNCE

Orange symbolizes friendliness, outgoing personalities, cheerfulness, freshness, health, energy, youth, happiness, and adventure. Orange is associated with nature and the heat of the sun. Being a warm, bright color, orange grabs a viewer’s attention and is used as a warning color. Neon, blaze, or bright orange are used on products targeting the outdoor person. Hunters rely on orange clothing to make them visible to other hunters from great distances. Dangerous parts of heavy equipment and machinery are often painted bright orange to warn operators or workers to be cautious. Emergency and safety workers choose orange clothing and vests to make other motorists aware of their presence.

Orange is often used on packaging to represent a flavor or a food product. Reeses peanut butter cups use orange to represent the peanut butter used in their product. They have brightened the amber-brown color of peanut butter to make it more appetizing. Orange juice, which is actually yellowish-orange, uses orange packaging to convey the color of the bright, ripe, juicy orange fruit found naturally in nature. Marketers also use orange to help sell raw carrots. Raw carrots are packaged in clear plastic bags printed with thin orange lines to enhance their fresh, healthy appearance. The thin orange lines on the packaging also help hide carrots that may have dried out or discolored.

Orange represents people who are supposed to be creative, playful, humorous, and fun. Orange encourages the flow of oxygen intake to the brain and stimulates creativity. Because of these qualities, orange is the favorite color of many children, teenagers, and athletes (Sutton & Whelan, 2004). The playful, energetic qualities also make it an excellent choice for children’s games and toys, and inexpensive novelty products (Eiseman, 2000).

Orange can be seen as a value-priced color, so marketers must be cautious not to use too much of it on products that are meant for an upscale, more status-oriented target market. In a warmer tone, orange becomes amber or brown. These colors remind consumers of autumn, and the changing of the seasons. Pumpkins and Thanksgiving also come to mind. Burnt orange has a more sophisticated appeal to consumers because it is associated with the coziness of a country farm’s harvest, or the warm, earthy feel of southwestern, sun-baked ceramic pots, bowls, and vases. Burnt orange, or terra-cotta colors, are used effectively in packaging for gourmet or ethnic foods. Consumers associate foreign travel and indigenous ethnic culture to the use of these colors in packaging (Sutton & Whelan, 2004).