Thursday, 20 December 2012

Farewell Tangerine Tango - Welcome Emerald Green!

As the year draws to a close, the 2012 Pantone Colour of the Year, Tangerine Tango, has finally fallen from grace to be replaced in 2013 by Emerald Green.

And I for one am heartily glad to see the back of orange - it’s one of my least favourite colours!

It is known to be an attention-grabbing colour, it's used in Dayglo and advertising, generally at the cheaper end of the market and I was surprised when Sainsbury’s abandoned their nicely restrained blue, green and white carrier bags in favour of orange ones. I’ve also been somewhat aghast that orange has crept into some otherwise quite classy websites recently!

It's not helped by the fact that I also associate orange with some of the worst aspects of the Seventies’ interiors, with their furry nylon orange cushions brightening up their (furry) brown suites of furniture or orange shag-pile rugs on their brown carpets! I never did like that colour combination!

And yet . . .

I love orange Icelandic Poppies, Pot Margigolds and Nasturtiums. I’ve often painted them and used the paintings to create greeting cards and products on Zazzle. And I am happy for the orange Californian Poppies to seed themselves all over my garden, including in the gravel paths!



And the orange colours of the trees in Autumn and orange pumpkins for Halloween - I have no problem at all with them!

I often include bright orange in my pattern designs, such as the one above, usually in conjunction with bright pink; and a glowing orange highlight is often just what I feel is needed to balance a chilly blue/green/white colour palette -


 - and I've even used a soft orange - rather like the colour of the flesh of a delicious ripe mango! - as an accent colour in my predominantly blue/green/white guest bedroom! (maybe difficult to see on the photo but the curtain is dark blue and the wallpaper is green)

So what is going on with me?

I found a clue in one of my books on 'Colour'. It said that orange is a ‘somewhat shallow colour, lacking in character.’ It went on to point out that there are no sayings associated with orange, such as ‘feeling blue’, ‘seeing red’, ‘green with envy’ etc. And I think it’s interesting that we don’t talk about ‘orange’ hair, an 'orange brick wall', an ‘orange’ cat or an ‘orangefish’; we substitute red, ginger and gold for the word ‘orange’.

As a dye, orange arrived relatively late in the day, there being no natural plant pigment for orange dyes. And it is arguably the only colour that can only be a warm colour; for instance, red can be warm or cool, as can yellow, blue, purple and green but not so orange. It’s always immutably warm.

I think what it boils down to for me is that while plain orange looks brash and ‘lacking in character’, Mother Nature rarely uses plain orange. 

The oranges of the trees, the pumpkins and the flowers that I love are a mixture of hues within the orange spectrum, ranging from a glowing, golden orange to the more muted earthy ‘terra cotta’ and ‘brick’ which, although they may be man-made, consist of essentially natural ingredients.

I’ve tried to achieve that more muted version of orange in some of my patterns, such as the dog-tooth check below, rather than use the plain, unadulterated orange of the solid colour.

So maybe I don't dislike orange as much as my first reaction to it suggests. 

But even so, as we say farewell to Tangerine Tango, I’m looking forward to welcoming Emerald Green and exploring its possibilities.

How about you?


Kitty as a Picture Illustration and Surface Design Blog said...

I like it but after seeing Orla Kiely's new designs I was hoping for something crazy like Lemon Zest!

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Brenda - thank you for your comment.

As it happens, Lemon is a colour that I like even less than orange and I usually avoid it - though I love primroses and pale daffodils. But I recently created some Lemon products on Zazzle and I actually quite like them :D

gooseberrymoon said...

Really interesting post Judy. It is funny how we substitute the word orange for many things. Even Pantone called it Tangerine rather than orange. I like all colours, depending on the shade. Burnt orange - lovely, neon orange - not so keen! Green is one of my favourites but I think there are many nicer shades than Emerald.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Nicky.

I agree with you about burnt orange/neon orange. And I have to admit that when someone asked me recently what my favourite colour was, I could only say that I like all colours, depending on the context. How indecisive is that!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post Judy! I found it interesting and informative. It made me chuckle. I'm a big fan of orange - I think the only colour I find difficult is brown, so thuddy and dense. Orange and brown of the 70s - yuk!

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jannie - glad you enjoyed my post!

I used to feel the same about brown, but, as I get older, I find myself wearing more and more brown as an alternative to black or navy. It has to be a certain shade of brown - definitely not 'thuddy' :)

Di said...

Yes it is curious that we rarely refer to orange things as orange. Right now I'm wearing a rust or pumpkin (orange) colored tee. I am a fan of green myself. Although I really like all colors depending on the context -even orange if it's on a fox or pumpkin.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Di - I agree, whether or not I like a colour depends on the context! And I suppose that just highlights what a complex subject this is!