What do you think of when you see the colour yellow? Sunshine, sunflowers, and cheerfulness? These are only half of the yellow equation. Brand designers are familiar with the other, more cheerless, side of yellow and we’re here today to warn you of the negative connotations you may be passing along by using the wrong shade.

What Brand Designers Know about Yellow

Before you delved into the world of logo and brand design with brand designers, you may have paid little or no attention to the power of colour – nevertheless, you have been affected by it…we all are.

What you may just be realising is that colour has the power to change moods, create memories, and influence decisions…and that’s why it’s crucial that you choose not only the right colours, but the appropriate shades of those colours, for your brand.

The colours you choose will send subconscious messages to consumers about the mission and values of your brand. If you’re hoping to send messages of optimism, confidence, friendliness, and creative energy, yellow should be included in your brand design. Likewise, if your brand’s core values involve effectiveness, freedom, helpfulness, meaningfulness, and cooperation, yellow is for you…

however, before you settle for just any yellow, consider what brand designers have to say about its many shades:

  • Very Pale Yellow is indicative of a clear mind and an attentive worldview.
  • Lemon Yellow is attractive to hard workers who are deep, complex thinkers.
  • Brilliant Yellow suggests high velocity, amusement, excitement, and attention-getting. It will be attractive to high-energy, flashy types who are in a hurry.
  • Gold lends feelings of lonesomeness and hesitant curiosity.
  • Chartreuse, or Greenish Yellow, speaks of self-centredness, uncertainty, and shallowness.
  • Dark Yellow and Dark Chartreuse are even darker in character. They hint at a cynical, depressive nature.


As most good brand designers will tell you, colours hold cultural meanings – some positive and some negative; therefore, it is imperative that you consider your audience’s geographical location when choosing colours for your brand design.

In China, yellow is a hallowed colour, with implications of royal manliness. Similarly, India views yellow as the colour of sacred favour and providence. Thailand cherishes yellow as the colour of Mondays, royalty, and Buddhism. Throughout Europe and the Middle East, it is symbolic of joy and success. Egyptians and Latin Americans use yellow whilst in mourning.

The wide-ranging effects of yellow largely depend upon the mentality and emotional state of your ideal client. If she is prone to stress or depression, darker shades of yellow will more profoundly (and negatively) affect her. She might see it and start to experience feelings of impatience, criticism, deceit, spite…even feelings of inferiority – and if you know that your target audience members are bogged down by these emotions, or if these feelings are prone to pushing them away from brands like yours, keep your shade of yellow light. If your ideal client is energetic, fast-moving, and prone to positive thoughts, then the effects of those darker shades will be subdued.

The psychology of colour is something that professional brand designers, like the ones at How to Build a Brand, have formally studied and experientially tested. They understand the power of colour and know how to harness it for the building of your brand. Learn more about colour and brand building by visiting our website or subscribing to Brand Brain Magazine.

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