Yellow has a positive, happy-go-lucky image for many people. It is associated with optimism and happiness. It has been said if you want to feel happier you should wear bright yellow underwear. A new year's eve tradition in traditional Latin American culture is to wear yellow underwear to ensure a year of happiness and financial success. However, a survey found this isn't a popular hue for underwear with only 9% of people favouring it.
Yellow is also believed to encourage creativity, clear thinking and decision making. It encourages laughter and sometimes helps ease Depression.
Why can yellow do these things? Research shows yellow encourages the production of the feel good chemical, serotonin.
Yellow stands out and so can be used to make people aware of a danger. Steps may be marked with yellow non slip paint. Roadworks signs are usually yellow because the colour attracts attention. Speed limit signs may be yellow.
Speed limit reminder sign Image by Marie Vonow
Yellow is often used in advertising to attract attention. It is a natural choice for any product associated with happiness or playfulness. Yellow is quite often chosen for leisure items and children's products.
It is easy to see in daylight and yellow is one of the safest colours for a car as it shows up well on a bitumen road.
As yellow, along with red, tends to stimulate appetite it is also used by some fast food outlets. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spot the iconic yellow M of a McDonalds store?
Yellow is not used to sell expensive and prestigious products. It is associated with cheaper items and doesn't make people take it seriously. Think about it, would you buy a bright yellow computer?
Part of Happy Herbs advertising with lots of yellow to promote idea of happiness Image by Marie Vonow
Flowers in yellow tend to be chosen to show friendship rather than passion. Yellow blooms are seen as representing trust, sympathy and companionship and are regarded as a suitable choice to present to a colleague for a job well done.
Yellow flowers are useful in the garden as bees are attracted to them. Having lots of yellow flowers, (as well as blue and purple flowers) helps with pollination.
Image by Marie Vonow
Although yellow seems to have a positive influence with its connection with happiness and energy, too much can be a bad thing. It has been found deep intense shades of yellow are not a good choice for rooms as this can make people angry. Research has noted babies are more likely to cry in yellow rooms. It is generally recommended that yellow is used with caution, with careful thought about the depth of shade and the amount.
Different cultures view the symbolism of yellow in different ways. Whilst many cultures associate yellow with happiness, some link it to sadness and mourning. Yellow is sometimes seen as the colour of wisdom, high rank and refinement. It can be seen as a masculine colour and represents Buddhism. In Thailand it is the royal colour.
Associations with the colour yellow vary between cultures. Yellow will also have a different effect on an individual's mood depending on the exact shade, the amount and what other colours are in the vicinity and let's not forget the importance of an individual's personality.