In RGB system of colors, yellow is made from an equal mixture of red and green. Yellow is the personal color of the Dutch painter Van Gough who showed the world what yellow means through his paintings. It represents joy, happiness, glory, sunshine and other feelings. It also signifies enlightenment and communication.
It is very difficult to imagine a gloomy figure in yellow dress. Anyone in yellow dress can be immediately associated with being happy and bringing sunshine wherever they go. As yellow is a bright color, it is associated with brisk, active and energetic personality. When your spirits are down, you need a bit of yellow to bring in enthusiasm.
In nature the color yellow can be found in:
- Egg yolk, bananas, daffodils, sunflowers.
- Sun and the gold are yellow.
Symbolism of yellow color
Since it is very light in color and does not have a serious tone to it, yellow is often assumed to lack depth in it. This manifests as lack of character or inferiority. This can be further extended to sickness or not being good for health. It is also associated with envy, cowardice, jealousy and duplicity.
In post classical period it became associated with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ. From there it passed on to be associated with Jews. Since the Jews were mostly money lenders the color got a historical association with finance and money lenders.
But in reality it has to be noted that there are several positive symbolism of yellow color. The positivity in yellow comes from the cheerful happiness, youth, fun and joy it is associated with. For this children’s toys are often yellow colored. It also represents the creativity.
The negativity comes from its lack of depth and hence its association with inferiority, sickness, jealousy. Yellow suits are not preferred by businessmen as it looks very childish. And for the same reason, clowns wear them.
Remember the phrase yellow journalism.
Shades of yellow and their symbolism
Yellow mixed with a small amount of white (represents purity) reduce the yellowness (lack of substance/ the feeling of not good). It gets associated with Intellect, freshness, and joy. This shade of yellow is the most used among the shades of yellow. Most of the famous brands intentionally uses Light yellow as it enhances the presentation of the brand.
Dull (dingy) yellow
Yellow (Representing sickness) mixed with a dark shade like black (representing death) gets associated with caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.
The wrong shade of yellow can change the meaning from fun to decaying sickness and needs to be handled properly.
Remember the yellow kid which represented the decaying media ethics? The sick felling is actually associated with yellow fever which was the first life-threatening disease and it had no cure for many centuries.
Bright yellow is associated with happiness, positivity and clarify. Even though the symbolism of bright yellow fall on the positive scale, the use of bright yellow is actually limited as it gives a darker impression to the viewer and also there are many alternatives for the same.
These slight variations and its respective symbolism would have showed you that the color yellow is very sensitive. It is preferable to use the yellow color carefully and appropriately.
Cultural usage of Yellow color
In Japan, yellow is associated with bravery and financially doing well. In many cultures especially African nations, yellow because of its close resemblance to gold is associated with wealth, money, success and high quality.
The doors of traitors and criminals were painted yellow in France where it signifies jealously, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction.
In China yellow color is associated with pornography and yellow book is referred to books on similar materials.
Impact of yellow on you
As previously discussed, Yellow brings out the emotion of happiness in you and at the same time can also create a sensation of something not being well or general sickness. Food brands try to avoid yellow and instead opt for red as it brings in warmth and also depicts a sense of seriousness. Yellow may be used in food that needs to bring out fun in eating like omelet’s yolk.
Most of the toys are thus kept bright shiny and not dull yellow to make children happy and inspire creativity. Yellow will be the favorite color to most of the kids as in general kids love pleasant and calm color. Red will not be that much attractive for kids as it depicts anger and a unpleasant feeling. But when we consider adults the reverse will be true. Most of the adults are not that much attractive towards yellow as it is related to childishness.
The color yellow brings out the creativity in you but at the same time warns you of inferiority in the design. Posters in yellow will look creative enough and viewers may try to fill the space in them. On the same hand the information provided with yellow in it will not look reliable and trustworthy. So finally, yellow is a kind of color that plays its role in both the negative and positive poles. It all comes to the context ti understand what the color symbolizes. Use of yellow can represent life and at the same time also represent death. It can represent hindrance and at the same time can also represent creativity. Take a look at these brands so that you can understand the usage of yellow color in branding much easily.