Straight Forward Design Journeys in Colour, A brief history of Yellow
12th February 2019


Yellow is the colour of the sun, new beginnings, life even. It represents happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, knowledge, honour, loyalty, joy, and warmth. It is associated with deity in many religions and represents courage in Japan. However, in contrast, it can stand for cowardice and deceit, indicates caution through warning sign and traffic lights, and is even associated with death in Mexico.

The word yellow comes from the Old English geolu. The yellow sun was one of humanity’s most important symbols and worshipped as God in many cultures. According to Greek mythology, the sun-god Helios wore a yellow robe and rode in a golden chariot drawn by four fiery horses across the heavenly firmament. The radiant yellow light of the sun personified divine wisdom.

In 1895 Oscar Wilde was arrested for carrying a yellow book and found guilty of gross indecency. What decent man would be seen openly walking the streets with a yellow book?

Yellow is the world until it is night.

Photography by friend and long time collaborator, Andy Grimshaw.