Think about the orange sun setting over the horizon. Nice, right? It’s true, orange can be a welcoming and mood-lifting color for learners, which in turn promotes comfort and improves neural functioning.
Some theorists argue that an environment rich in the color orange increases the oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity while simultaneously loosening peoples’ inhibitions. An increased oxygen supply also leads to feeling invigorated and getting ready to ‘get things done.' Some have even suggested that test centers be painted orange to stimulate exam-takers.
But this comes at a cost – avoid bolder orange colors if your learners are young and naturally energetic. This isn’t a good color for those prone to overstimulation as well, for instance if your group of learners have attention deficit hyperactive disorder or another health concern which leads to easy overstimulation.
That’s not it on the science for orange, though – many studies have found that when colors are used to emphasize a feature or piece of content on the screen, learners’ attention levels increase. Of course, the best colors for this are warm colors, like orange. So we can say that when you’re looking to highlight certain facts or important information, orange can be a better choice than the traditional red. But, because of its energy and brightness, orange can be an overwhelming choice. Orange is, in other words, best in small doses.
The secrets of orange were known in ancient China too – in Feng Shui, orange is seen as a “yang” color which stimulates focus and promotes organization . Of course, we need to remember that brightness and saturation also come into it, and too bright a color will probably give you a headache! Looking to the experts, color psychologist Angela Wright states that bright orange hues stimulate while low saturation is more soothing. So for boosting energy, go bold, and for relaxing, go mellow. Makes sense, huh?
So to close out orange as a color, in eLearning courses it can be used to highlight key facts and figures, communicate energy, life, and activity. Orange is a vibrant color that demands attention, giving it an edge as a choice for highlighting. But again, use with caution!