Why yellow? As one of the three primary colors, yellow is an incredibly vital hue to get to know. Did you know that yellow is often referred to as the most visible color of the spectrum?
The reason for this is that the human eye is said to process the color yellow first. This has naturally made the color yellow the “go-to” color for all things that need to demand attention quickly, such as road signs, ambulances, taxis, hazard signs, and more.
Color psychology suggests that certain colors are capable of evoking certain moods and may even have an influence over behavior and well-being. While color associations can be influenced by a number of different factors, including past experiences and cultural associations, some colors do tend to evoke certain moods or feelings.
Color Psychology Characteristics of Yellow
Some of the key characteristics that are often associated with the color yellow include:
Attention-grabbing: Since yellow is the most visible color, it is also the most attention-getting color. Yellow can be used in a small amount to draw notice, such as on traffic signs or advertisements.
Difficult to read: Yellow is also the most fatiguing to the eye due to the high amount of light that is reflected. Using yellow as a background on paper or computer monitors can lead to eyestrain or vision loss in extreme cases.
Energetic: Yellow can also increase metabolism.
Frustration: Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.
Warm: Yellow is a bright color that is often described as cheery and warm.
Personality: The Color of Mind and Intellect
How does yellow make you feel? Do you associate yellow with certain qualities or situations? Remember that the associations people have with colors are not necessarily universal. Both cultural differences and individual experiences can shape how people feel in response to certain colors.
The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the color which resonates with the left or logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception.
Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.
Yellow is creative from a mental aspect, the color of new ideas, helping us to find new ways of doing things. It is the practical thinker, not the dreamer.
Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism. The color yellow loves a challenge, particularly a mental challenge.
Within the meaning of colors, yellow is the great communicator and loves to talk. Yellow is the color of the networker and the journalist, all working and communicating on a mental level. Yellow is the scientist, constantly analyzing, looking at both sides before making a decision; methodical and decisive. Yellow is the entertainer, the comic, the clown.
Yellow helps with decision making as it relates to clarity of thought and ideas, although it can often be impulsive. Yellow helps us focus, study and recall information, useful during exam time.
The color yellow can be anxiety producing as it is fast moving and can cause us to feel agitated.
Yellow has a tendency to make you more mentally analytical and critical – this includes being self critical as well as critical of others.
Yellow is non-emotional, coming from the head rather than the heart. Yellow depends on itself, preferring to not get emotionally involved.
Yellow is related to the ego and our sense of self worth, to how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others.
Yellow is the most highly visible of all colors which is why it is used for pedestrian crossings. Take note of the crossings which are marked in white – they are less easy to see than those marked yellow, particularly on wet and cloudy days.
If you are going through a lot of change in your life you may find you can’t tolerate the color yellow very well – this will usually pass. It just means that you are having trouble coping with all the changes at the moment and yellow vibrates too fast for you, making you feel stressed. Introduce green or a soft orange into your life for a while to balance and restore your energies. Many older people don’t respond well to large amounts of yellow because it vibrates too fast for them.
Yellow in Marketing and Business
Given it’s eye popping nature, yellow works well in advertisements. It is important to keep in mind that yellow should be used in moderation with ads, however. Those who drive yellow vehicles are said by experts to be happier people and also like to be noticed by others. Experts also say that those who drive yellow cars tend to have less risk aversion than those who do not. One would also believe that those who wear yellow clothing also like to be noticed by others.
All colors tend to evoke a feeling when perceived, and according to several reports, the color yellow can influence how hungry you are. Because of this, it’s no surprise that this specific color tends to be popular among companies who are selling something to eat (think of McDonald’s, Denny’s, Sonic, Lays).
It’s also a popular color choice for companies or brands who are trying to gain the attention of the masses (think of IKEA, Best Buy, Amazon, National Geographic).
Other companies are drawn to the color yellow because it can capture and convey a sense of friendliness or familiarity that other colors can’t. Take a company like Sprint, their logo is incredibly simple, but it instantly catches your attention with the strategically placed yellow graphic on the right-hand side of their company name, their logo instantly feels bright, inviting, and familiar. If you were to cover up the yellow portion of their logo, it immediately changes the overall mood of the design.
Another example of a logo that successfully utilizes this color is Supergoop. They thoughtfully use the color yellow within their packaging to continuously connect their products to the sun, which is a subtle but effective visual message to potential customers.
Glossier is another example of a company that has utilized the color yellow to echo the sun in their packaging for their widely popular sunscreen, Invisible Sheild. Companies like Ritual and Starface are also brands that are effectively utilizing this hue within their branding and marketing materials.
How to Use Yellow
While the color yellow can evoke a lot of different psychological reactions, it is important to remember that these responses are often unique to the individuals. Some responses, such as the tendency to find yellow difficult to read, are more universal. Other associations are often cultural and even specific to each person thanks to different backgrounds and experiences.
One thing is for sure, yellow is such a versatile color! We hope this breakdown of the color helps with your future marketing and content strategies.
If there’s one lesson to take away, it would be to not be afraid of any colors on the spectrum! Depending on the shade of yellow you use, it could convey energy and excitement or gentleness and sincerity. If you’re currently building your brand, yellow could be the perfect color for you, so experiment with it and try something new!