the experience

Colour Psychology Chapter 2 – Yellow

I’m writing this as the sun streams into my office on a bright May morning, I took it as a sign that no other colour but yellow could be the second colour in this collection of posts.

Come and, albeit virtually, basking in the warm glow of yellow with me as we delve into the vibrant spectrum of yellow and uncover its myriad shades, meanings, and applications.

The sunshine hue: A brief history of yellow

Yellow, like the hue itself, has a vibrant history that stretches back through the records of time. Yellow ochre, derived from natural earth pigments, was one of the first colorus used in art, dating back to prehistoric cave paintings. In ancient civilisations, such as Egypt and China, yellow was revered as a symbol of divinity, wealth, and power. The vibrant hue of saffron was used to dye the robes of kings and emperors, while golden artefacts adorned temples and tombs as a tribute to the gods.

Image credits left to right: Horse coloured with yellow ochre from Lascaux cave / Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester / Vincent Van Gogh / Chrome Yellow

Yellow in art and culture: From Van Gogh to Warhol

Throughout art history, yellow has played a prominent role in the work of master painters and visionary artists. Vincent van Gogh famously captured the luminous beauty of sunflowers in his iconic series of paintings, while Andy Warhol embraced the vibrant energy of yellow in his pop art masterpieces. From the golden landscapes of the Impressionists to the abstract expressions of the modernists, yellow continues to inspire and captivate artists and art lovers alike.

In the world of printing, yellow is one of the primary colours used in the CMYK colour model, alongside cyan, magenta, and black. By combining varying percentages of these four colours, printers are able to produce a wide spectrum of hues, including the vibrant yellows that grace the pages of magazines, posters, and advertisements.

The psychology of yellow: joy, creativity, and optimism

Yellow is a colour that radiates joy, creativity, and optimism, evoking feelings of warmth, happiness, and positivity. From the golden glow of a sunrise to the cheerful chirping of Goldfinch in your garden, yellow is associated with all things bright and beautiful.

In the world of psychology, yellow is believed to stimulate the mind, foster creativity, and promote a sense of well-being. It’s no wonder that brands often use yellow to convey a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement.

Now that we’ve explored the rich history and psychology of yellow, let’s dive into the various shades and tones that make up this vibrant hue:


Bright, zesty, and full of zest, lemon yellow exudes a sense of freshness, vitality, and optimism. This invigorating hue is perfect for brands that want to make a bold and memorable statement. My favourite ever use of lemon in a brand is Trinny London.

Feelings lemon yellow evokes: freshness, vitality, and optimism.


Warm, radiant, and full of life, sunshine yellow evokes feelings of happiness, joy, and positivity. This vibrant hue is perfect for brands that want to create a sense of warmth and cheerfulness.

Feelings sunshine yellow evokes: happiness, joy, and positivity.


Soft, creamy, and oh-so-dreamy, buttercream yellow exudes a sense of warmth, comfort, and cosiness. This delicate hue is perfect for brands that want to create a sense of nostalgia and familiarity but it also serves as a great base colour in place of white or grey toned off-whites.

Feelings buttercream yellow evokes: warmth, comfort, and cosiness.

Golden Mustard

Luxurious, elegant, and timeless, golden yellow exudes a sense of richness, opulence, and sophistication. Mustard is having it’s time back in the limelight. This hue is perfect for brands that want to convey a sense of luxury and exclusivity.

Feelings golden yellow evokes: richness, opulence, and sophistication.

To wrap up

Yellow is a colour that radiates warmth, positivity, and optimism, brightening even the darkest of days. So, the next time you need a dose of sunshine in your life, look no further than the radiant glow of yellow.

Stay tuned for our next instalment as we explore another vibrant hue on the colour spectrum! Until then, embrace the sunny disposition of yellow and let your brand shine bright like a golden sunflower.

Becky x
Welcome to the BLD Blog

Hello! I’m Becky. A brand identity & website designer for passionate & ambitious small businesses. This little corner of my website is dedicated to sharing the 15 years of experience I have with brands, websites and of course running a small business.

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