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As a vibrant shade of light yellow-green, it is often not too difficult to find the chartreuse color throughout our everyday world. Named after the French liqueur of the same name, it has been rumored that the color was first created using a secret recipe by the Carthusian Monks in the 18th century. Depending on the source, the exact shade of chartreuse varies slightly, but is generally considered to be a bright green color with hints of yellow and gold. Join us as we take a closer look at everything to do with chartreuse, including its history, uses in modern times, the chartreuse hex code, how to make the chartreuse color yourself, and more!
Table of Contents
- 1 Chartreuse in History and Modern Times
- 2 What Color Is Chartreuse?
- 3 How to Make the Chartreuse Color
- 4 What Colors Go With Chartreuse?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Chartreuse in History and Modern Times
In addition to chartreuse green being present throughout our natural world, it has a rich and interesting history that dates back to the 18th century, involving French liqueur and Carthusian Monks. Here, we will be taking a deeper dive into the origins of chartreuse and how its uses have evolved into our modern day.
History of the Chartreuse Color
The word chartreuse was originally derived from the French word of the same pronunciation and spelling, which directly translates to “charterhouse”. This is in reference to the monasteries used by the monks of the Carthusian order, the first of which was established by Saint Bruno in 1082. These monasteries were called “charterhouses” because they were, in fact, chartered, and were given generous support in the form of materials by Philip the Bold, otherwise known as the Duke of Burgundy, once he had taken over in 1378.
Upon his death in 1404, the Duke’s lavishly decorated tomb was originally installed at one of these Carthusian charterhouses.
Centuries later, however, the reclusive monks that were housed in these charterhouses began to produce an alcoholic beverage they would soon call Chartreuse liqueur in 1764. This liqueur was produced with the aid of a secret recipe that included a combination of as many as 130 different herbs and spices, which resulted in a unique and complex flavor that slowly grew in popularity. As similarly unique and complex as this drink’s flavor, however, we have its color, which gave off a bright yellow-green hue that would later be referred to as the same name as the drink itself.
Wheat Field with Cypress (1889) by Vincent van Gogh; Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Despite its introduction and appearance, chartreuse green would only begin to gain widespread popularity during the early 19th century. During this time, chartreuse would be embraced by the design and art industries, and would often be used in paintings and other art pieces to add vibrancy and eccentric flourishes where needed. Some of these paintings included a few of the works by none other than Vincent van Gogh, namely Wheat Field with Cypress, Bedroom in Arles, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, and many others.
Despite chartreuse being fairly bright and neon-like, Van Gogh was able to subdue these hues to use them in more naturalistic ways to match tones found on skin, cloth, trees, and so on.
Not long after in the 20th century, this yellow-green shade would gain further popularity through its widespread use in an ever-increasing number of industries. Due to its engaging appearance, it was not uncommon to find chartreuse being used in fashion, advertising, and even marketing. Chartreuse even made its on-screen debut in the 1939 musical fantasy classic, The Wizard of Oz, which portrayed a variety of interesting and vibrant characters and locales!
The Chartreuse Color in Modern Times
Our modern era has adopted the color chartreuse in a more methodical and cautious approach. While its use is still prevalent in art and entertainment industries, chartreuse has become a crucial point of focus in traffic safety and firefighting industries. Since roughly 1973, a fluorescent variation of chartreuse green has been chosen as the official color of fire engines in certain parts of the United States.
This adoption was the result of Stephen Solomon, an ophthalmologist from New York that conducted research claiming that the vibrancy of chartreuse would boost the visibility of emergency vehicles in darker environments.
Solomon would reference the Purkinje Effect, which states that red traffic cones are not able to function in dim lighting as a result of their red tone appearing black. Australia and New Zealand would begin to adopt chartreuse soon after, labeling the color as “ACT yellow”, after the color used on fire engines used in the Australian Capital Territory. Today, chartreuse has been recognized as a color that is as bold as it is attention-grabbing, and is widely used to make a statement or to draw one’s attention to a particular element. Whether used in sparing amounts as an accent color or used as the main focus of your upcoming designs, chartreuse is bound to add a great deal of energy and excitement.
What Color Is Chartreuse?
When observing this color for yourself, it can often be difficult to decide: “Is chartreuse green or yellow?”. Unsurprisingly, it is both! Chartreuse color is a radiant and lively shade of yellow-green that is as bold as it is attention-grabbing. This bright, somewhat neon-like color is widely described as being a combination of yellow and green. The vibrancy that chartreuse possesses is often associated with feelings of cheerfulness and energy, while also giving off a sense of caution. These associations lend themselves to chartreuse being used to create a lively and energetic atmosphere when used in home design and decor, as well as a sign of warning and vigilance in the form of safety vehicles and uniforms.
Shades of Chartreuse
To truly know what color is chartreuse, you first need to come to grips with the various shades that make up the chartreuse color palette. As an artist, it is important to ask yourself, “Is chartreuse green or yellow?” as the uses thereof can lead to drastic changes in emotion and meaning when viewed by the public. Here we will be going over how these shades can be used in your own designs, while also providing each chartreuse color code for all our digital artists out there. As a mix of yellow and green, chartreuse comes in a variety of different shades.
These shades can each range from a light and pale yellow-green tinge to a more intense and energetic green-yellow glow. Here are only a few of the most popular choices of chartreuse:
|Chartreuse Hex Code
|CMYK Color Code (%)
|Shade of Chartreuse
|235, 234, 112
|10, 0, 70, 0
|102, 255, 0
|60, 0, 100, 0
|107, 199, 29
|13, 0, 100, 0
|32, 0, 100, 35
|67, 141, 128
|10, 0, 41, 40
|75, 109, 65
|3 0 12 41
|154, 205, 50
|25, 0, 76, 20
|173, 255, 47
|32, 0, 82, 0
|83, 130, 3
|34, 0, 90, 49
|108, 124, 89
|13, 0, 28, 51
How to Make the Chartreuse Color
For those looking to find out about how to make chartreuse color for your own personal or professional DIY projects, we have got you covered. While it may not be necessary to mix one chartreuse color code with another when working in a digital setting, it is important to know how to create this color yourself when standing in front of your empty canvas. To know how to create your own chartreuse mixture, and know how to use it in your projects successfully, you first need to know which two colors are needed most.
Chartreuse is made up of yellow and green, with a higher proportion mixed with the former than the latter. On one hand, we have the bright and cheerful yellow, the color of lemons, daffodils, and gold. It is most closely related to feelings of hope, fun, and cheerfulness that can leave some people feeling energized and invigorated while leaving others feeling overwhelmed and disorientated.
On the other hand, we have the calm and refreshing color green, which is closely associated with nature, new beginnings, and growth. Green can be found throughout nature in the form of grass and jewels such as emeralds, and is often used to represent feelings of peace and tranquility. Although some people may consider green to be a soothing and relaxing color, others may instead consider it boring or dull.
|CMYK Color Code (%)
|Shade of Color
|255, 255, 0
|0, 0, 100, 0
|0, 255, 0
|100, 0, 100, 0
When these two colors are combined, it creates a shade that is bold and vibrant, one that is closely related to energy, creativity, and playfulness. While this color may be exciting and invigorating to some artists, others may find it difficult and overwhelming to work with. Regardless, you cannot deny that chartreuse is a color capable of making statements. To create this color on your own, we advise that you start by placing only a small amount of yellow paint onto your palette. Then, add a small amount of green paint to your yellow and mix them together thoroughly.
Following this, you can adjust the proportions until you attain your desired shade by adding more of one color than the other and vice versa.
If your paint comes out lighter than you would like, simply add a tiny amount of black paint to your mixture. However, if it is too dark, then you can add some white paint to lighten it. Simply continue adjusting the color until you reach a color you are satisfied with. However, it is crucial to mention that the specific shade of green or yellow that you choose to use can greatly affect the final result of your chartreuse color mixture. So, simply experiment with different shades to see which combination works best!
What Colors Go With Chartreuse?
Whether you are simply looking to implement it into your wardrobe, or if you are trying to incorporate the color into your home decor and style, it is important to know what colors go with chartreuse. As a very bold color, chartreuse pairs well with a variety of colors that either complement or contrast with it. If you are looking to achieve a more cohesive look, try pairing chartreuse with colors that are nearby on the color wheel. For instance, this could include green, yellow, and blue-green. This will create a harmonious look that is both energizing and calming.
However, if you are wanting to make a statement with your color scheme, you should then consider pairing your chartreuse with colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. In fact, chartreuse could provide a stunning flair when paired with colors such as pink, purple, and red. This will create a vibrant look that is sure to keep heads turning.
|CMYK Color Code (%)
|Shade of Color
|255, 87, 51
|94, 0, 0, 44
|255, 192, 203
|0, 25, 20, 0
|128, 0, 128
|0, 50, 0, 50
|255, 00, 00
|0, 100, 100, 0
Simply put, we are provided with a captivating chartreuse color palette that is filled with a variety of vibrant and energetic hues. From the pale, almost lemon-like shade of green-yellow, to the much deeper, more golden shade of yellow chartreuse, this color has the ability to add some much-needed cheer to practically any space. While softer shades add a subdued and sophisticated look, brighter shades are able to offer a bold look for those looking to make a statement. No matter your needs, chartreuse is bound to please.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Meaning of the Chartreuse Color?
Often associated with feelings of energy, vitality, and freshness, chartreuse is a lively and attention-grabbing color that is widely used to add some extra cheer and excitement to any space.
Can Chartreuse Be Used as a Neutral Color?
Despite its many bright shades, chartreuse can still be used as a neutral color. By focusing on softer shades, such as olive chartreuse, you will find it easy to discover just how many colors you can find pairings for.