Last week we spoke about colours in general. In the following weeks we will have a closer look to different shades. Since yellow is my absolute favourite I start with this colour.

Some Facts

  • In Europe about 5% of people name yellow their favourite colour.
  • Physically, the shades we call yellow have wave-lengths between 565 and 575 nm.
  • In feudal China only the emperor was allowed to wear yellow. It was the colour of heavens and stood for eternal live.

We will see how different things are in the Western world.

Properties assigned to Yellow

If it comes to logo design and one reads about the properties of yellow they will find the following:

  • Bright
  • Sunny
  • Strong
  • Warm
  • Rich


But when I look what people normally say about yellow the above description seems rather unbelievable.

In German speaking regions yellow typically stands for jealousy and falsehood.

I also studied some sayings and expression in English.

«Yellow-bellied» for instance is a synonym for cowardice. Also for bananas and lemons that both typically are yellow the English speakers have some very unflattering dictums.

«Do me a lemon» instead of «you must be joking», a «banana republic» is a country with a corrupt government, «banana-oil» stands for nonsense-talk and a «second banana» describes a person who does not have the most regarded position.

Dear native English speakers: If you know a positive example please let me know.


  1. I never knew about the jealousy and falsehood. I know it is your favorite color, but I can’t think of any good expressions about yellow in English. It is pretty maligned.

    • Thank you, Pamela. I think I have to find a reason why yellow has such a bad reputation. Have a great week.

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