This is the final part of my colour psychology series in which I’ll be focusing on the colour yellow. Yellow is actually my favourite colour, it’s just a colour that I really associate with warmth, happiness and joy. It reminds me of vibrant flowers and long lazy days in the sun. I was really interested to see what studies have been done on the effects of the colour yellow and whether it might actually make you feel happier.
How does Yellow Effect our Mood?
One of the most interesting studies that I found was one that looked at how colouring the same tablets differently showed different psychological effects. Patients suffering from anxiety were given the same tablet but in three different colours: yellow, green and red. The patients given the yellow coloured tablets showed a decrease in their depressive symptoms associated with anxiety (The British Medical Journal) So maybe seeing yellow does make us happier?
As fascinating as this study is, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that it is necessarily exposure to yellow that makes us feel happier. It could simply be that seeing the colour triggers the positive associations that we have with colour and that in turn makes us feel happier.
Yellow is one of the most luminous colours and in nature is perhaps best associated with the sun. Sunlight has actually been found to makes us feel happier. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and its levels in the brain are increased on days there is more sunlight (Lambert, Reid & Kaye, 2002). As we naturally associate yellow with the sun, seeing yellow could actually have the same effects on the brain that the sun does. This is just my own idea and I couldn’t actually find any evidence to confirm this but though it’s an interesting point to consider.
How is Yellow Utilised?
One of the biggest ways in which colour psychology is applied is branding. As we associate yellow with joy and happiness it is not surprising that yellow is often used in the marketing of toys. The best example of this is Lego. Lego’s iconic yellow boxes and figures just give off this lovely glow of fun and interest, which perfectly fits with the brand’s aims.
Yellow in art often represents light and it is often atmospheric. In art, it is often used to portray calmness, happiness and optimism. Very bright yellow may be used to instantly draw attention to an aspect of a drawing. Shades of yellow really vary and changing the shade often has the ability to portray different moods or atmospheres.
Yellow’s warm and bright properties are often used in interior to brighten a space. It is often recommended for hallways or entrances as it is welcoming and bright. Yellow can also bring warmth to dark coloured or dim rooms. As yellow naturally draws attention it can be perfect for creating a focal point in a room.
As this is my final part to my psychology of colour series I thought I’d share some final points that I’ve learnt from the little bit of research I’ve done on the psychology of colour.
- It’s hard to find psychological research related to the psychology of colour. Most websites list off a huge amount of claims about the effects of colour, with no evidence to back the claims. The truth is colour psychology hasn’t really been heavily researched.
- It’s hard to tell if exposure to certain colours affects our mood or if it is our associations with certain colours that affect our mood.
- It’s a super interesting topic! I’ve always loved the colour and been fascinated with how it affects us and it’s been interesting to research and share on my blog.
I hope you have enjoyed my first ever blog series, I’d love to do more research based posts in the future.
Thanks for reading!