The Meaning of the Color Yellow: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Positives: Yellow is an extremely high energy color that is associated with vibrancy and positive feelings. Using hints of yellow can help bring a feeling of friendliness and cheerfulness that no other color can manage to reproduce. Yellow also invokes a feeling of spontaneity, something other colors cannot manage on their own. Yellow also has a natural relaxed feel, great for promoting feelings of leisure. Golden yellows can also produce a surprisingly sophisticated feeling, great for a wide range of projects when paired with other colors.
The Negatives: Yellow is considered a fairly childish and lighthearted color. Don't use it exclusively if you are doing a serious project of any kind. Yellow has also come to be synonymous with cowardice. You've heard people called yellow-bellied, right? It's also known that guys don't like yellow, and if your target audience is male, avoid using too much yellow. That isn't to say that you can't use yellow at all, you just need to creatively pair it with other more masculine colors such as deep charcoals and royal blues.
The Yucks: Dingy, muted yellows such as mustard yellows and yellows with olive tones have their place in design, but it is important that you use them very sparingly. These colors are often considered "yucky," and invoke negative reactions in most people who see them. Even if you do stick to the bright and warm yellow shades, its still important that you avoid using too much yellow. When overused, yellow can invoke a disturbing feeling of nervousness, and even can cause children to feel more fussy. Using yellow sparingly is the key. And no matter what your intuition is telling you, never, ever, ever use yellow text on a white background. This is a terrible faux pas that will leave people squinting to see what you wrote, as well as possibly causing physical discomfort to them.