Umber is the color of Serengeti sunsets as the sky turns from brilliant gold yellow to maple, then to tangerine and copper, until the color of Umber touches the land. Umber is intensely warm and can dominate a space or design if used in excess. It is best used as an accent or enhancing color with hues that are cooler in nature.
How the color is made: To make Umber mix pure orange with very dark red to make a hue more intense than terracotta but less fierce than chestnut.
History: Umber’s relative closeness to the color orange made it a color that was associated with creativity and activity. It was also a color that was linked to holy rituals and was worn by many priests in various cultures. Though too much Umber in a portrait could make it feel trendy or crass.
Color in Action
Umber is a brownish color which can cause it to be classified as a neutral hue, and this is why it is often used for accessories and shoes in fashion design. But in 2019, Margot Robbie wore an Umber Oscar de la Renta gown to the premiere of “Once upon a time… in Hollywood,” which was a crowd-pleaser. Margot’s fair skin and blond hair where complemented by the rich orange-brown hue of the dress.
Use Umber as an accent color in the kitchen by covering the seats of barstools with Umber-colored fabric, or hanging Umber-colored pots and pans from the cooker hood for an interesting farm-style look.
Colors that go with Umber
Match Umber with dark red and olive yellow for an analogous color scheme that increases the fiery heat in a design.
Umber Color Palettes and Schemes
Pair Umber with dark pink, dark blue, and lime green for a carnivalesque aesthetic that feels energetic and festive.
Backgrounds and Seamless Patterns
Umber works well in an ogee pattern with gold and cream because the warm tones balance well with each other