The meaning behind oatmeal

Oatmeal is a pale or medium-light shade of brown named for the dish.

About the color

The color name of oatmeal is based on a dish of the same name. It’s a preparation of oats that have been removed from their husk and then steamed and flattened. Oatmeal may also refer to a coarse flour of hulled oat groats that are either steel-cut or ground. Uncooked oats usually have a very light, wheat-colored appearance. Cooked oatmeal is a type of porridge that has a similar color, depending on what it’s cooked with. The oatmeal hex code is #D0C4AB.

Based on its RGB composition, the previous oatmeal color code can also be considered a type of yellow. Depending on the source of the hue, oatmeal is similar to other shades such as tan, manila, and wheat. Oatmeal is pale enough that you can use it as a neutral shade. In this way, it works with most other colors. This is analogous to the many ways people enjoy oatmeal as a dish. People eat it alone or with butter, spices, and various fruits. Oatmeal is often an ingredient in muesli cereal and granola.

As far as the color meaning of oatmeal goes, you can use this color to convey various themes and feelings. We associate the dish with home, warmth, and comfort. Similarly, the color also shares those meanings. Because it’s a pale brown, we connect oatmeal to earthiness, security, and stability. Oatmeal is often used to relieve itching and other skin issues. Use the color oatmeal to reinforce feelings of soothing and relief.

Type Value
HEX #D0C4AB
RGB 208, 196, 171
CMYK 0, 0.06, 0.18, 0.18

Application in design

The Pantone Institute has identified a specific shade for oatmeal that has more grey in it than the hexadecimal code indicated above. Oatmeal is a light color. If using it as a background shade, use darker shades for text. Lighter colors will not work for text, but certain greys, creams, and light oranges may work for subtle detailing. As a neutral, oatmeal works with nearly any other color, but the particular combination you use will impact the theme or mood you’re evoking.

Use oatmeal with darker browns, oranges, golds, and reddish-browns for a project based on autumn. This color palette is also effective for food-based projects, especially ones based on nostalgia or childhood comforts. Oatmeal is a solid base color for graphics inspired by harvest or cultivation of grains. Consider it for web graphics or presentations based on healthy, natural, and wellness products.

Pair oatmeal with white and off-whites for a vintage effect. Lighter, cooler pastels move oatmeal from an autumnal motif to something that works better for spring. Explore swatches of oatmeal, lavender, mint, and coral for projects associated with childhood, baby showers, and Easter. For something more mature and feminine, use oatmeal with medium browns, taupe, greys, and roses. Oatmeal also works as a skin tone.

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