The Meaning of Yellow

By CRAIG KUNCE

Yellow is most frequently associated with the warmth of the sun, bright light, imagination, youthfulness, happiness, joy, optimism, enlightenment, and intelligence. Yellow is the most easily recognized color. It pops out of a sea of other colors and is easily contrasted from competitor packaging. Taxicabs use yellow to help customers identify them among the congestion of traffic. One of the most endearing popular culture icons, the smiley face, is a lively, bright, uplifting yellow. This symbol is used successfully in Walmart stores as a mascot and ambassador of friendly smiles. In a successful attempt to break the monotony of the telephone operator’s job, yellow was added to the phone book to create the Yellow Pages. Research has proven that type is most legible and most memorable when it is printed with black ink on yellow (Sutton & Whelan, 2004). Yellow is also a nice complement to other colors. Yellow is used extensively in packaging to make other colors appear brighter and more active.

Yellow also commands attention when it is used with black. Yellow and black tape cordon off dangerous areas of a construction site, or outline the perimeter of heavy equipment in a factory. To utilize the industrial association consumers have with yellow and black, the DeWalt tool company uses yellow and black as their brand colors on all of the tools and equipment they sell.