“In my world, yellow lives its best life in the company of neutrals”. Z. Edwards
Every colour has meaning that we either inherently sense or have learned about by association or conditioning. Yellow is the colour most often attached to the warmth and joyfulness of sun. It is the most visible colour on the spectrum and it captures our attention more than any other colour.
In the natural world, yellow is the colour of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees. In our contemporary human-made world, yellow is the colour of Sponge Bob, the Tour de France winner’s jersey, emojis that reflect growing smorgasbord of emotions, post its, and signs that alert us to danger or caution.
In modern times, the colour yellow was used as a way to treat depression and boost moods as early as 1917. During World War I, a colour researcher Howard Kemp Prossor designed hospital rooms meant to calm the nerves of shell-shocked troops. No surprise then that the vibrant sunflower has become a symbol for depression-successfully treated.
Though there are countless positive associations, yellow has had a bumpy ride in history. If you’re tickled to know why yellow is the colour of controversy and what’s a Ketchup and Mustard Theory, pop over to 6 interesting facts about the colour yellow.
As for our perception of the spectrum – lighter pastel yellows are seen as childlike and immature while canary yellow is feathery and soft to the touch. Slightly greenish Dijons and curries lean more to the exotic side of the yellow family, while ambers and topaz are viewed as more ‘upscale’ and luxurious. The closer to orange it moves, the more garrulous and outgoing yellow becomes.