Colors that go with yellow: Your guide to colors that complement yellow
What colors go with yellow? It’s a question countless artists, creatives, and graphic designers have asked over the years – not to mention the odd DIY enthusiast. Which is why we’ve created this essential guide to colors that go with yellow.
Bright and beautiful, yellow is a shade capable of blending well with a wide variety of different hues. As a light color on the higher end of the visual spectrum, yellow can be an excellent hue for creating contrast when paired with darker, more sophisticated shades.
Yellow in softer tones also works well for a more subdued aesthetic, ideal for bringing charm to a kitchen or a bright living room.
Yellow has a unique ability to enhance the existing warmth and brightness in a space, and it’s ideal at drawing attention to the lighter parts of a design. For many creative professionals, yellow is easily one of the most versatile pigments around.
Today, we’re going to be looking at the colors that pair with yellow effectively, whether you’re interested in color combinations for interior design, logo creation, or even making your own brand palette.
Let’s get started!
Why use yellow? The power of the color yellow
Before we answer the question “what color goes well with yellow?”, it’s worth taking a closer look at the benefits of yellow as an artistic shade. Yellow is a diverse, engaging, and vivid color, capable of capturing attention rapidly as part of any visual identity, or artistic effort.
The color yellow is often bright and intense, capable of evoking strong feelings in the people who see it. Used in your home as a part of your interior design strategy, yellow can be an attention-grabbing choice for statement wall, pulling attention to a specific space in a room.
Yellow is also excellent for infusing us with a sense of energy and motivation, which could mean it’s not always the best choice for bedrooms and bathrooms (associated with relaxation).
Bold yellow is warm and cheery, often associated with feelings of happiness and creativity. However, it can also be overwhelming in large doses, which is why it’s often used as a complementary color in brighter shades, rather than a primary colour.
Softer shades of yellow can work well in a variety of environments, from the background of a cheery website to an alternative to white on a color palette. With a gentle tone of yellow, you can add a creamy and luxurious effect to an image or evoke ideas of springtime and flowers.
Some of the best ways to use yellow include:
- To create vibrant contrast when mixed with dark colors.
- As a focal point, statement color, or highlight in an art piece.
- To soften an aesthetic with paler shades.
- As a method of inspiring happiness and motivation.
- To highlight creativity and warmth.
Colors that go with yellow
As a relatively versatile color, yellow can work well with a wide range of shades. Tones of yellow can range from majestic, luxurious golds, to almost neon bright hues.
When you’re experimenting with which colors to use alongside yellow, the main decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to build on the warm elements in the shade or contrast them.
Technically, complementary colors on the color wheel are two colors which oppose each other. This means the most obvious complementary colors for yellow are blue and purple.
Blues and purples work well with yellow because they sit on the cooler part of the color spectrum, creating a direct contrast to the extremely bright and warm shades of yellow.
Purple and yellow
The exact impact you get when using purple and yellow together will depend on the tones you choose. Mixed together, purple, and yellow can create a vibrant, creative, and compelling aesthetic.
While bright shades of yellow with deep purples can create a summery vibe, the most common combination for most people is a deeper gold and purple.
Gold and purple work well together because they’re both shades often associated with luxury and indulgence. Purple has a long history of being a hard-to-obtain color reserved for the wealthy. Gold, of course, is something we link to precious metals and elegance.
Soft shades of yellow mixed with pastel purples create a spring-time aesthetic, reminding most people of the gentler colors appearing in newly budding flowers.
Blue and yellow
Blue and yellow is another interesting color combination. Rich shades of blue with a green hue can give an almost tropical vibe to an aesthetic when mixed with yellow.
Alternatively, brighter shades of blue are often associated with stability and trustworthiness, while yellow is linked to concepts of motivation and creativity. This means a “DIY” company or design brand can definitely benefit from using both blue and yellow at the same time.
Deep shades of blue matched with yellow can have a natural vibe, as they remind us of the sun in the sky, or the stars dotted through the night.
Alternatively, pastel yellows and blues mixed together can create a charming and welcoming feel, similar to something you might expect to see in a cottage chic kitchen.
Combination colors that go with yellow
While the colors complementing yellow on the color wheel are technically blue and purple, this doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of additional shades that work well with yellow.
If you take a closer look at the color wheel, you’ll often notice that most shades often work well placed next to the colors they’re closest to. Blue mixes well with purple and green, while red goes well with orange and purple.
Most colors also work well alongside contrasting or highlighting shades like black and white.
Here are some more combination colors that go with yellow…
Yellow and green
Yellow and green sit right next to eachother on the color wheel, making them a natural fit for working together in a host of artistic creations and designs. The tones you use when mixing yellow and green will have a direct impact on the kind of vibe you create.
A bright yellow and dark green creates a luxurious, mysterious, and elegant aesthetic. You can also use spots of yellow among dark green to highlight parts of a painting, or brand palette. In some cases, yellow and dark green can also create a kind of jungle image.
Bright green and yellow together are motivational and brimming with creativity. These shades remind us of sunshine and green grass, which could make them an ideal color combination if you’re looking to create a more natural aesthetic.
Pastel yellows and greens are soft and appealing. They can make a room look fresh and welcoming, particularly when added as accents to a white background. Softer yellows and green have a springtime vibe, often linked to visuals of flower-covered fields.
Faded colors of yellow mixed with green can also bring out some of the warmer and brighter elements of a somewhat cooler shade. Gentler shades of yellow are often a popular choice for many design strategies, as too much bright yellow can often be overwhelming.
Yellow, orange, and red
On the color wheel, yellow, orange, and red almost bleed together naturally. These are the warmest colors on the visual spectrum, so they’re a great combination if you want to create an air of vibrant warmth and engaging energy.
If you’re looking for a color that goes well with yellow in branding, brighter yellows and oranges can often work to create a vibrant and energetic design. However, because yellows, oranges and reds all have a similar energy, they can also be quite overwhelming in some cases.
Yellow, orange, and red can work together to create a beautiful sunset design. These hues are also a great combination if you’re trying to convey the energy and passion of fire.
Often, this combination of colors will appear alongside other, more contrasting colors in interior design and aesthetics, to help subdue some of their overwhelming warmth.
Pastel shades of orange and yellow can often work well to create a vibrant and fun image. These colors can work well in kitchen designs, or as the branding for a company focused on food.
Speaking of food, yellow and red often work together to create a sense of hunger, which is why it’s so common to see the combination in the fast-food industry. Red triggers excitement and desire, and can even speed up the body’s metabolism according to some studies.
Alternatively, yellow is something we often associate with positive experiences and happiness. This makes red and yellow together an excellent way to get stomachs rumbling.
Yellow and pink
Though a little more unorthodox than the color combinations we’ve covered so far, pink is one of the best choices if you’re looking for colors that complement yellow. In color combinations with yellow, pink is often used to convey a sense of femininity and nurturing.
The two shades are often associated with blossoming flowers in the spring and summer.
Soft shades of yellow and pink together have a wonderfully romantic vibe to them. We often associate pink with romance and affection, while yellow is a color typically associated with joy. Together, the colors can create an aesthetic perfect for conveying friendship and caring.
Bright pinks and yellows together are a lot more aggressive. The two colors are extremely vivid, which leads to a fusion of confident and eye-catching shades. Bright pink and yellow used together in large doses can look garish and overwhelming.
However, in small doses, they’re perfect for creating a sense of fun.
Usually, to keep the impact of brighter yellows and pinks from being too much, designers will combine one bright color with something softer. For instance, it’s more common to see hot pink with a gentle, subdued shade of yellow, or a neon yellow with a pastel pink.
Two vibrant colors in combination can quickly cause visual fatigue.
Yellow and brown
Yellow and brown are both relatively warm colors. It’s common to see shades of yellow and gold shining through in certain kinds of brown, particularly if you’re using wood-effect elements in your design.
As such, yellow can be a perfect way to highlight the warmer elements of a brown shade.
When it comes to choosing color combinations with yellow, brown is often a good choice when trying to convey a sense of sophistication and elegance. Brown and gold work beautifully together in a range of settings, from interior design, to branding.
Bright yellows and dark stained woods also have an excellent level of contrast, without the same negative connotations of black and yellow.
Alternatively, pastel yellows and browns can create a beachy vibe, ideal for drawing the mind to memories of sunny moments spent lazing on the sand. These colors are also ideal for creating other kinds of natural, earthy effects.
Yellow and beige are a good color combination, because beige shades already have a lot of yellow hues in them. Yellow and beige shades matched with off-white creamy colors are often a good choice when you want to create a relaxing and neutral vibe in a space.
Yellow, black, and grey
Outside of white, yellow is the brightest color on the visual spectrum. If you want to create contrast with a color that goes well with yellow, then you’re going to need a dark shade. Often, designers and creatives will stick with something other than black as a contrast for yellow.
Purples, blues, and dark greens can help to counteract some of the warmth and brightness of yellow, while adding their own rich vibes. However, black can definitely make yellow stand out better than most.
The striking color combination is great for grabbing attention, which is why it’s so common on warning and caution signs.
Of course, the dramatic results of placing yellow and black together, combined with their negative connotations, can make them a little too aggressive for many design requirements. You don’t want your living room or your brand logo to remind you of caution tape.
For a smoother visual transition, it’s more common to experiment with yellow and grey. Yellow and grey together don’t have the same violent visual appeal as yellow and black, particularly when matched with stripes of silver and white.
Grey is often associated with sophistication, so it can create a highly appealing, modern vibe in a room or a branding strategy, while leveraging spots of yellow for a tough of extra brightness.
Yellow and soft greys work together to create a modern alternative to neutral color combinations like yellow and white or yellow and brown.
Alternatively, dark grey and yellow combined will often create a more striking contrast, closer to black and yellow, without the negative associations.
Yellow and white
Finally, yellow, and white make for a fantastic, natural color combination. Yellow and white are the brightest colors on the spectrum, and they’re both excellent for inspiring feelings of joy, elation, motivation, and purity.
Using yellow and white together is a great way to create a sense of happiness and comfort in a space. These colors are also frequently associated with concepts like youth and vitality.
Mixing different tones and shades of yellow and white can create a very smooth transition of colors. For instance, pastel yellow and off white can almost blend seamlessly together, while giving a design more texture and depth.
Alternatively, bright yellows and pure whites have a more significant contrast. However, the light shade of white means you don’t get the same aggressive visual effect of pairing yellow and black.
Golden yellow and white together are also an excellent combination. As mentioned above, golden yellows are usually associated with things like luxury and wealth. At the same time, white is a shade connected to creativity, peacefulness, and purity.
When mixing yellow and white, it’s worth making sure the two colors don’t blend too closely together, as you could lose some of the impact from both shades.
What color goes well with yellow? FAQ
Which colors complement yellow?
There are several fantastic colors you can use alongside yellow. The biggest challenge for most people is deciding whether they want to complement the natural elements of yellow or contrast this bright shade.
Yellow’s official complementary colors are blue and purple, but yellow can work well with a range of other shades, including orange, red, white, pink, green, and brown.
What colors go with yellow to create a warm vibe?
If you want to build on the natural warmth within the color yellow, the best option is to stick with colors close to this shade on the color wheel. Reds and oranges are perfect for highlighting the warmth in yellow. Browns can be extremely effective too.
What colors blend well with yellow?
There are various colors which can blend well with yellow if you’re trying to create a gradient effect. Greens and oranges are the most common choices, but you can also mix yellow with white to create a range of creamy shades.
Which colors don’t go with yellow?
Most colors will go well with yellow when the right tones are chosen. However, certain colors may look too aggressive when used in large quantities. For instance, black and yellow is often associated with caution.
Hot pink and neon yellow can also be overwhelming to look at for too long.
Exploring color combinations with yellow
Yellow is a wonderful color, brimming with potential in the creative world. The colors that go with yellow can range from complementary warm shades like orange and red, to more contrasting, cooler shades like green, blue, and purple.
The most important thing to think about when you’re considering colors that complement yellow is what kind of visual impact you’re trying to create with your color scheme.
Yellow can be a luminous color, or something more subdued and luxurious. Deeper shades of yellow will often blend more easily with darker colors like green and blue.
Alternatively, pastel shades of yellow are perfect for mixing with more vibrant shades, like orange and pink.
Yellow works well as a contrasting shade, to bring light to a deeper color, or it can blend with a multitude of shades, from orange and green, to browns and whites. You can even experiment with more daring color combinations, depending on how bold you want to go.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with a wide range of yellow color combinations to see which ones you like best.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.
Now read these:
—The ultimate guide to the many shades of yellow
—How to make yellow and create the perfect mix
—Your guide to using yellow in packaging design
—The psychology of yellow and what it represents
—What does yellow signify in branding and design?
—Should you choose yellow for logo design?
—Exploring the colors of the rainbow