What Color Do Orange and Blue Make When Mixed?

Mixed orange and blue smoke

Blue and orange are complementary colors, which means they sit on opposite sides of the color wheel. If you remember elementary school art class, it’s safe to assume that these two colors won’t make the most pleasing outcome when mixed.

However, the results of this mixture may vary based on what medium you’re using. So, let’s explore what a mix of blue and orange could look like.

What Color Do Orange and Blue Make in Painting?

Blue and orange paint mix together to create brown. That’s because all three primary colors in paint (red, yellow, and blue) make brown when combined together. Orange is made of yellow and red, so mixing it with blue is like mixing all three at once. Thus, it’s rare that you’ll need to combine these two colors when painting.

Understanding the RYB Color Model

Visual representation of the RYB color wheel

The color wheel using the RYB color model is the one that most kids learn in elementary school art classes. The three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. By mixing different combinations of these colors, you can make secondary colors, which are green, orange, and purple. By mixing a secondary color with a primary color, you’ll get a tertiary color.

In painting, you can make any color by only using primary colors. However, if you want to make those colors lighter or darker, you’ll need to use white and black to create tints and shades.

Is There an Easier Way to Make Brown Paint?

Instead of mixing orange and blue, you can also mix an equal amount of the three primary colors to make brown. Use one-third of blue, one-third of red, and one-third of yellow. It will likely give you a perfect brown color while the mixture between orange and blue could be murky. Plus, you have to use red and yellow to make orange anyway, so this method will save you an extra step.

Mixing Tints and Shades of Brown

Various shades of brown paint

Even though some people see brown as an unappealing paint color, it’s still very useful for making artworks, especially those with nature themes. So, here are a few tips on how to mix colors to create the perfect type of brown.

Lighter Brown

Tints refer to lighter versions of a color. So, to make a brown tint, you can add white paint to the mix. However, white can easily be overpowered by other colors, so you may need to use a lot to notice a difference.

Darker Brown

Shades are the opposite of tints, so they’re darker versions of a color. Adding a hint of black can create a darker shade of brown, but only use black sparingly since it can easily take over the mixture. Adding more blue than orange will also give you a darker result.

Brown Color Meaning

Brown is the color of the dirt beneath us, so it’s a sign of stability and reliability. It can also portray comfort and honesty. When people see the color brown, they may feel protected, grounded, or stabilized. That’s why this relaxing color is often used for furniture and home decor.

While this color can give off positive effects like appreciation, support, and wisdom, it can also have negative meanings. Some people see it as dull, boring, and timid. Yet, it’s usually a calming color that reminds us to appreciate the simple things in life.

Can You Mix Other Colors to Create Blue and Orange?

Orange and dark blue paint

If you’re out of blue and orange paint, there’s no need to fear. The great thing about using paint is that you can mix the colors you have to create other colors. Orange is easy to make because it’s a secondary color and a 50/50 mix of yellow and red.

However, being a primary color, blue is a bit trickier to make. Your early art classes might’ve made it seem like you can’t make primary colors from scratch, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you look at the CMYK color model, which is usually used for ink and printing, you’ll see that magenta and cyan can mix together to create blue.

Even so, magenta and cyan aren’t common paint colors, so you might be better off buying more blue paint.

What Color Do Orange and Blue Make in Lighting?

Mixing with lights is a little different because it uses another color model. In lights, the primary colors are red, green, and blue (RGB). Red and green mix to create yellow, and then yellow and red make orange. So, in this scenario, orange is a tertiary color instead of a secondary color.

On the RGB color model, blue and orange aren’t directly across each other, but they almost are. Thus, it’s similar to mixing blue and orange on the RYB color model.

Mixing blue and orange is still like mixing all three primary colors together, but in lights, the primary colors together make white instead of brown. So, blue and orange lights will make a color that’s close to pure white.

Understanding the RGB Color Model

The RGB color model with red, green, and blue primary colors and yellow, cyan, and magenta secondaries

The RGB color model is regularly used for mixing colors in lights and electronic displays like TVs and computers. On this color wheel, the primary colors are red, green, and blue.

Mixing primary colors can create the secondary colors yellow, magenta, and cyan, and combining a primary color with a secondary color will give you tertiary colors like orange, violet, and bright pink. When all the primary colors are mixed together at full brightness, they create white.

White Color Meaning

White might seem like a plain color since it’s the color of a blank canvas, but it also has a lot of positive meanings. It’s known as a sign of purity, innocence, and perfection. People who admire it will feel balanced, refreshed, and clear of mind.

Many people see white as a symbol of goodness, hope, and clarity, but like all colors, it has its downsides. It can be seen as boring, cold, and distant, depending on the context. Luckily, it’s usually associated with positive aspects and seen as a sign of self-reflection and open-mindedness.

What Color Do Orange and Blue Make in Printing?

Close-up of CMYK printer ink cartridges

When mixing ink for printing, the color wheel is the opposite of the RGB color model. It uses cyan, magenta, and yellow as the primary colors, which can mix to make red, green, and blue. Yet, orange is still a tertiary color in this example.

Even though blue is now a secondary color, it’s still on the opposite side of the color wheel. So, like the other mediums, this mixture is like combining all three primary colors. However, with this color model, all three colors mixed together make black. So, blue and orange together create black.

Understanding the CMYK Color Model

You might recognize the CMYK color model from the colors you use for printer ink. Magenta, cyan, and yellow are the CMYK primary colors used for ink, and they can combine to create all other colors. This model is the opposite of RGB because red, green, and blue are now secondary colors instead of primary colors.

If all the primary colors mix together, they can make black. However, black ink is usually provided with printer ink because it’s more efficient than combining all the colors every time you print.

Black Color Meaning

Black has very different meanings than brown and white, both positive and negative. It’s seen as a symbol of power, protection, and elegance. It can make people feel secure but also intimidated or seduced, depending on the context.

The color black is often displayed at formal events, and it gives off feelings of mystery and wonder. However, it has also been linked to negative feelings, like depression, sadness, and pessimism. It can provoke strong emotions when used in art and design, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Do Orange and Blue Work Well Together in Designs?

Colorful orange butterfly among blue butterflies

Brown, black, and white are all neutral colors that go well with most other colors. Yet, orange and blue are much more bright and vibrant, so designing with them takes a little more consideration. Orange and blue are complementary colors that sometimes clash in designs, which is why you’ll rarely see them used together.

However, they can work together in logos and advertisements. Using two very different colors in designs can make certain icons and words stand out more. That’s why you might see these colors used together on logos for restaurants, sports teams, or other businesses.

For the most part, orange and blue don’t make pleasant designs. Yet, in the right situation, you can make them work. You’ll just need to be very careful with how you lay out your design.

How Can Two Colors Have Several Results?

Some colors create the same result no matter what medium they’re mixed in, such as red and purple. However, blue and orange are one of many color combinations that can have varying results depending on what kind of colors you’re mixing.

The reason blue and orange have a different mixture in lighting, painting, and printing is because the methods for mixing these colors are different, and so are the color models used. When you’re mixing lights, you’re adding one colored light on top of another one, but when you mix paints, you’re swirling two colors together. So, different mediums will often result in different color mixtures.

Mixing colors is a great way to understand color theory and design. Sometimes the mixes will turn out just as you expect, but other times they’re a little more surprising.