The meaning of the color Bright Yellow and color combinations to inspire your next design.
Bright yellow is a bold, vivid shade of yellow. The bright yellow hex code is #FFFF00.
What two colors make bright yellow? Well, yellow is a primary color, which means you can’t mix any two paint colors to create it. But in the RGB color model used to create colors on television and computer screens, yellow is made by combining red and green at equal intensity.
Along with neon yellow, bright yellow is one of the most vivid shades of yellow. If you’re looking for a shade with a less intense appearance, you might try pastel yellow or warm, cheerful hues like amber, gold, and freesia. For a shade of yellow with a green tinge, try yellow-green. Even cream might be considered a shade of a yellow, as it contains a very pale tint of the color.
The word “yellow” was first used in the year AD700, but its use as a color stretches back even further—yellow ochre pigment was one of the first colors used in cave paintings during the Stone Age. In Ancient Egypt, the hue was treasured for its likeness to the color of gold. It is also highly prized in China, where historically only the Emperor was allowed to dress in the bold hue.
In the 20th century, bright yellow became associated with safety and visibility. Its vivid appearance means it can be seen even from a distance and by cars traveling at a fast speed. For this reason, bright yellow is commonly used in traffic signs and by vehicles that want to attract attention—such as school buses and taxis. Its eye-catching appearance means it is also commonly used in neon signs and in the high-visibility clothing worn by workers on construction sites.
Bright yellow can also be used to signal caution. In soccer, a yellow penalty card means a player has been given a warning, while yellow traffic lights indicate that a driver should wait.
Bright yellow is a bold, commanding color. Because it is the color of the sun, bright yellow is commonly associated with warmth and energy. Other positive associations with the hue include happiness, hope and fun.
In color psychology, yellow is thought to encourage optimism and be uplifting. However, too much yellow can cause aggression or frustration—it’s certainly not a calming hue. Its modern-day association with hazards and safety also mean bright yellow can make a startling impression.
Yellow is not a particularly popular color. A survey conducted in Europe and North America in the year 2000 found only six percent of respondents named it their favorite color, compared to 45 percent for blue.
Bright yellow’s vivid appearance means it’s best used when you want to command attention. It works well as an accent color, where it can bring energy and cheerfulness to a design. It’s favored by brands who want to stick out—McDonalds, IKEA, Best Buy and Subway all use yellow in their logos.
But bright yellow’s intensity means it’s not suited to use in large amounts, as it can easily overwhelm. You should also avoid using bright yellow as text color, where it can be hard to read.
Bright yellow can be matched with a range of colors. Yellow has long been used with shades of purple—artist Vincent Van Gogh paired yellow with purple in many of his paintings. Bright yellow is also commanding next to blue, which is its complementary color on the color wheel. It pops next to pure white and black, or can be softened when used alongside gray. The colors that pair well with bright yellow include:
Looking for a different hue? The following colors are related to bright yellow.
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