1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Yellow Retro Kitchen Table
Lori Lee Miller/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Yellow colors

Some of the many faces of the color yellow.

Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Shades of chartreuse

Left to Right: chartreuse green; chartreuse yellow; pear; green-yellow over yellow-green.

Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Yellow is for happy people and cowards. Mostly warm and friendly, yellow usually works best as a companion to other colors.

Shades of Yellow These words are synonymous with or represent various shades of the color yellow: banana, cadmium yellow, chartreuse, chiffon, cream, golden, goldenrod, khaki, lemon, mellow yellow, saffron, topaz, yellow ocher.

Nature and Culture:

Yellow is sunshine. It is a warm color that, like red, has conflicting symbolism. On the one hand it denotes happiness and joy but on the other hand yellow is the color of cowardice and deceit.

Yellow is one of the energetic, warm colors. Because of the high visibility of bright yellow, it is often used for hazard signs and some emergency vehicles. Yellow is cheerful.

For years yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope as women waited from their men to come marching home from war. Today, they are still used to welcome home loved ones. Its use for hazard signs creates an association between yellow and danger, although not quite as dangerous as red.

If someone is yellow it means they are a coward so yellow can have a negative meaning in some cultures.

Yellow is for mourning in Egypt and actors of the Middle Ages wore yellow to signify the dead. Yet yellow has also represented courage (Japan), merchants (India), and peace.

Awareness ribbons that use yellow include:

  • Various diseases and conditions such as:Spina Biffida, Endometriosis, Sarcoma, Myxoid Liposarcoma, Bladder cancer, Liver Disease, Liver Cancer, Cholangiocarcinomas, Hydrocephalus or Hydrocephaly, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Psteosarcoma, Ewing's Sarcoma, Chondrosarcoma
  • Support our Troops
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Missing Children or Amber Alert
  • Genocide Awareness
  • Victorian Bushfire Disaster 09

Other Awareness Ribbon Colors.

Using Yellow:

Although it can work as the primary color, yellow often works best when paired as an accent to other colors.

  • Use bright yellow to create excitement when red or orange may be too strong or too dark.
  • Yellow can be perky.
  • Use yellow to suggest freshness and citrus fruitiness.
  • Golden yellows can stand in for gold.


With Other Colors:


  • Use yellow to perk up a more subdued cool palette of blues and grays.
  • Use lemon yellow with orange to carry out a healthy, summery, citrus theme.
  • Very pale yellows can work as neutrals alongside darker or richer colors.
  • Yellow and blue are a high contrast, eye-popping combination.
  • Mix yellow with neutral gray and a dash of black for a high-tech look.
  • Try a hot, exciting mix of red and yellow.
  • For an earthy palette, especially for fall, mix yellow, olive green, and brown.
  • While yellows and bright or light greens can be part of a natural, fruity color palette, be careful not to use colors too close in value or they will appear washed out.


Color Palettes:

These color palettes feature shades of yellow mixing it up with reds, blues, greens, browns, and other neutrals for earthy, sophisticated, and psychedelic looks.


In Other Design Fields:



Language of Yellow:

Familiar phrases can help a designer see how their color of choice might be perceived by others, both the positive and negative aspects.

Good yellow

  • Yellow ribbon - hope, support, remembrance
  • Mellow yellow - laid back, relaxation
Bad yellow
  • Yellow or Yellow streak or Yellow-bellied - cowardice or coward
  • Yellow journalism - irresponsible reporting; sensationalist writing

Is Yellow Your Favorite Color?

See how many others share the same color favorites.
View Results for Your Favorite Color Poll


Related Video
Create a Color Sketch From a Photo in Photoshop Elements
Convert Color Photos to Black and White in Photoshop

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.