We Now Know Why So Many Cartoon Characters Are Yellow

by : UNILAD on : 25 Mar 2017 18:29

Have you ever noticed that cartoon characters always seem to be yellow?


If not, now it is all that you will see, and there are some very clever reasons why they use it.

Television and cartoons are actually based on the colour wheel of light (green, blue and red) as oppose to our more familar primary colours.

As explained by ChannelFrederator, using the new colour wheel, a set of new complimentary colours are created, making yellow and blue a perfect pair.


That is why yellow and blue are so often used together in cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants and the Simpsons.

The background on a lot of cartoons tends to be blue because they take place outside with blue sky, so it makes sense for the characters to be yellow.

undefinedParamount Television

Colour psychology is another reason for the choice of yellow for cartoons.

Jacob in the video uses the example of the characters from Pixar’s Inside Out, highlighting that colours like red and blue tend to be negative and stressful colours.

undefinedUniversal Pictures

But the character of Joy is yellow, which is most commonly associated with optimism and playfulness.

Joy also has blue hair! The complementary colour on the light colour wheel.


Yellow is often used for characters who symbolise light-hearted fun…think of the minions.

undefinedWalt Disney

It’s about to get incredibly scientific, but it turns out that yellow is actually the most visible colour on the spectrum because of how the cones in your eyes process light.

Yellow captures our attention first, and the brighter the better, hence why taxis and warning signs tend to be that colour.

undefined20th Television

On top of all this, yellow is colour-blind proof! So only those who are completely blind would miss a yellow cartoon character.

Now I can’t stop noticing yellow everywhere!

Topics: Film and TV


  1. Youtube

    Why Are So Many Popular Cartoon Characters YELLOW? (ToonedUp #276) - ChannelFrederator