Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Am I the only one who already thought brown just _was_ dark orange? Like, if you google 'dark orange', you get shown a bunch of brown swatches as the top results. Isn't that... just what brown has always been?





I think one of the points he is making is not that it's just dark orange, it's that we have a label for dark orange, but not a label for dark other colors on the same level of use as brown.

We call dark orange brown. Sure dark red could be called burgundy but it's not a word used as much as brown. So we use the word brown as much as the words 'dark red'.


Eh, I could argue that "purple" is just dark magenta, or "teal" is just dark cyan.

And the difference between "pink" and "brick red" is that both are just desaturated reds at different levels of lightness.


He kept tslking about context etc so I was hoping there was more to it than brown just being dark orange. That’s about as exciting as pink being bright red.

The context is basically the need for something bright to create the context required for the dark orange to be brown -- because otherwise it isnt dark.

Yes, that’s exactly his point. Brown is dark orange, and you can’t make a light that’s the dark version of any colour, you can just have less of that colour. We only think of brown as a colour because we decided to give dark orange a name.

I guess I'm just confused as to why this video needed making. I didn't think the brown/dark orange equivalence was surprising, or a revelation. In the same way that I'd be confused if someone made a video saying, "Guys! Guess what! Pink is just light red!"

For one, because you can make pink by mixing light, but you cannnot make brown by mixing light. The fact that brown only exists when you get dark orange but situation in an otherwise light surrounding means that if your color rendering is based on mixing light, brown is literally impossible to make on its own. You cannot, inherently, get any light system to make brown on its own. It either has to frame it with a much lighter color in the screen, or it needs to be situated in a much lighter surrounding.

That's why this video is good educational material: it covers the contextual aspect of color that a lot of folks will have never even thought of. After all, pink is just red that you added white to, why not just add black to orange to get brown ("because that works for paint, but is literally impossible when your medium is light").


Well, among other things, English had a word for "brown" long before it had a word for "orange," which as the video described was previously seen just as a shade of red or yellow. Brown is just a more prominent color in nature.

The important insight was that dark orange/brown only exists in a context. There has to be something lighter visible for it to be perceived as dark. Whereas pink is a different mix of light than red. You can't make a red light bulb pink no matter how bright you make it. And you can't make an orange light bulb brown without putting a different brighter light alongside it.

Well pink actually is not just light red but mixed with blue, as mentioned in the OP video as well, a mix of two ends of the visible spectrum.

> a mix of two ends of the visible spectrum

Wasn't that about magenta/fuchsia? ( #FF00FF )


You can make a pink light though, but not a brown one.

Maroon is dark red/purple. Indigo is dark blue/purple. Olive is dark green.

Yet I bet brown has dramatically more hits in the English corpus than maroon, indigo or olive (colour).

fur-poo-bark color was probably more useful to name.

Q: What's brown and sticky?

A: A stick!


Yes, but if you're trying to rebut me then you're mixing up the causality. "Brown" has more hits because people think about it differently (e.g., it's very frequently in their environment). The existence/prevalence of the name "brown" didn't cause people to think about it differently.

Yes, and you also can’t get an olive-coloured light, which is the whole point of the video.

My point was that we gave names to these other colors, so that doesn't seem to be the reason people think brown is a "real" color more than maroon and olive.

> Like, if you google 'dark orange', you get shown a bunch of brown swatches as the top results.

...unless you've got a universal web dark-mode extension. Then they're orange swatches. The swatches are visually brown by default, because the page they're shown on is white by default.

The video said "brown is orange with context", but I'd say it's more like "brown is orange with contrast."


But there are light browns that are not orange, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaki

It is because brown really isn't just dark orange. There are oranges that are both dark and not brown - these usually are on the redder side of orange, like dark orange clouds in the sky at sunset.

Brown is, in general, a muted orange. Take the red and yellow, add a hint of green (or purple, honestly) - and you have browns.


Khaki (this one specifically: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaki#Khaki) is like a desaturated orange. If you go in to the devtools and mess with the colour's HSL you can see how much more orange it looks just when increasing the saturation, and just how more brown it looks when lowering the darkness.

We've affixed a lot of specific names to colours around orange and brown, but they're basically variations of saturation and lightness on a certain range of hues (between yellow and red). The distinction between brown and orange is mostly subjective.

Which is what I like about this video. It gives a good sense of how much of the difference between two 'colours' is just naming and perception of a hue.


Technically, it's not supposed to be orange but a light orange. I think the less green-heavy hues of khaki are definitely light oranges.

Playing with some of the colors in Photoshop, I used an eyedropper to sample the khaki color. I get 169, 161, 150, RGB or 23,24,150 HSL. After playing around a bit, it seems that khaki is "dark orange", with equal amounts of RGB added to make it lighter. Or, "orange" desaturated and lightened.

When I was a kid, my computer could only display 8 colors, as it had 1 bit each if R,G,B. I used to wonder about brown and orange in particular as colors that were not available. I figured orange must just be an unequal mix or red and green, but I couldn't even speculate about brown. Today when you mention it, it makes sense to me that these 2 colors are related.

I've never considered a tree, dead leaves, dirt, etc to be anything near the color of orange.



Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: