Circle + Co.

Yellow colour theory and its use in branding

Yellow colour theory is associated with being happy and cheerful. Considered "energising," yellow is a warm colour that captures attention in branding and is often used when a brand wants to show creativity and optimism.

However, before you decide to begin using this colour in your branding, let’s learn a bit more about the feeling yellow invokes, brands that use yellow and what meanings different shades provide.

Yellow colour theory and feelings it invokes.

Colours are used in branding due to the psychological feelings that they invoke. However, you won’t find as many brands using yellow as you do with other colours, such as red or blue. Depending on the hue, the colour yellow can invoke the following feelings:

However, yellow has also been used in society for traffic lights as a way to tell a person to be cautious. Negative feelings that can be associated with the colour, such as:


As you can imagine, you must be careful when adding yellow to your branding because most brands try to solve problems rather than make a customer feel frustrated or fearful.

What companies use yellow in their branding?

Yellow, when added properly to branding, can have a positive impact on a brand. For example, McDonald’s golden arches invoke the feeling of happiness and excitement, and you’ll often find the colour used in supermarket branding.

Multiple other companies inside and outside of the UK use yellow in their logo or branding, including but certainly not limited to: Veuve Clicquot, Caterpillar, Snapchat, Hertz, Kingsmill, Shell and Opel.

For most of these brands, the use of yellow is meant to drive optimism and happiness.

Industries where yellow works best for branding.

Yellow is used in many industries, but the following tend to be the most common:

Snapchat uses yellow for 95% of its logo because it helps make people excited to share moments with their friends and family.

Different shades of yellow and what they mean for your branding.

Bright yellow has the power of invoking different feelings than a dark yellow. When choosing the right yellow for your brand, you must consider the following:

Bright yellows offer a sense of cheerfulness and happiness.

Softer yellows are a good option for baby items and kid’s clothing because they’re calming yet cheerful.

Light yellows work very well when you want to convey a sense of calmness and happiness at the same time.

Dark yellows are often used for upscale and antique designs because they catch the eye and are bold, yet they’re a timeless colour option.

When choosing yellow for your branding, be sure to consider the points above so that you can get into the psychology of the potential customer or user.