What Colors Represent Happiness? (Yellow and Orange)

The most dominant shades used to represent joy and happiness are the colors yellow and orange. These are both warm shades, which generally evoke pleasant, comfortable, and optimistic feelings. 

Visually, they appear closer than they really are, which is why they are often used in warning signs. Warm colors can also make overly large spaces look more cozy and less intimidating. 

As warm colors, yellow and orange influence emotions and visual perception positively.  When people see these shades, they are reminded of sunshine, flowers, joy, and optimism. These colors can lift their mood and make them feel better.

However, not all meanings attached to these colors are good.

There are also some negative associations depending on the context in which they are used. For example, yellow can sometimes represent jealousy, while orange can stand for frivolity.

Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.

What Colors Symbolize Happiness?

Yellow as a Color of Happiness

yellow color meaning

Yellow is often described as a bright, happy color. It is the color of sunshine and daylight, which brings to mind the happy and fun memories of times spent outside, playing with friends and loved ones under the sun.

When looking at this color, people feel happier, livelier, and more hopeful.

While winter is characterized by longer nights and darker, gloomy days, spring and summer signify the warming of the earth.

It is also the time when the sun stays up for more lengthy periods. The world looks brighter and sunnier, and the reappearance of flowers brings back a smile to people’s faces. 

This is also another reason why yellow is associated with happiness. 

Read More: Symbolism of Colors Explained

1. Psychological Effects of the Color Yellow 

According to research, yellow is a top choice when people are asked to select colors that indicate happiness. It also stimulates the left side of the brain, and thus enhances the memory, logic, and communication skills of an individual.

This is why materials used in note-taking, such as post-its and legal pads, are often produced in yellow. 

It is the lightest shade in the color spectrum, which is why it affects emotions and psychological responses.

If used moderately, it triggers positive reactions such as playfulness and fun. But when used heavily, it can trigger dislike and anxiety, especially when presented to people who are already feeling tired or tense.

2. How the Color Yellow is Used in Different Cultures 

The color is used to convey other meanings in different cultures. In Africa, yellow is a symbol of power and is designated for influential people.

In ancient Egypt, the color yellow was a sign of grief for the loss of a loved one. 

For the Japanese, yellow has a more noble meaning as it stood for valor and was used by ancient Japanese warriors as a show of loyalty and bravery during wars.

Thais consider yellow as a sign of good fortune and has a special significance on Mondays. Wearing yellow on a Monday is a tribute to a well-loved king, King Bhumibol.

Since it is the color of corn, a staple food for many Native American tribes, yellow is also associated with abundance and success. This is particularly significant for the Navajo, Apache, and Iowa tribes,

3. Using the Color Yellow in Public Signs

Yellow is very effective in grabbing attention, especially when combined with black. That is why this color combination is often used for road signs, taxi cabs, and school buses. 

However, varying levels of brightness used when applying the color yellow can have a different effect, so be careful when making use of it.

For example, while a light yellow signifies freshness and joy, a duller shade can indicate illness or jealousy instead.

Too much yellow can also be blinding and make a person turn away instead of reading the information that you are trying to share. 

Orange as a Color of Happiness

orange color meaning

As a combination of the colors red and yellow, orange carries a few of the meanings associated with both colors.

From its red component, orange takes on the symbolism of energy and confidence. While from its yellow component, orange carries with it the symbolism for fun, happiness, and excitement.

Orange brings out the best of both colors as the calming yellow shade calms down the forcefulness and ferocity that dominant red usually brings.

This combination promotes a warm and cozy atmosphere and triggers feelings of joy, contentment, and a sense of well-being.

1. Psychological Effects Of The Color Orange

According to studies, exposure to the orange color has both mental, emotional, and physiological effects. A downcast person who looks at orange will feel an improvement in mood and disposition.

The color can trigger creativity, boost confidence, and help in decision-making. Some people also believe that the color orange can increase appetite.

Because of these attributes, businesses have used the orange color to influence consumer behavior.

For example, many restaurants use orange either as the main color or an accent color in their dining area to stimulate hunger and make the customers subconsciously want to order more. 

2. How the Color Orange is Used in Different Cultures 

Aside from its association with the flaming sun, orange is also closely related to flame and autumn leaves.

Because of this, the color is also often used in depicting heat or warmth, as well as the changing of the seasons. Other meanings are applied to the orange color, depending on the culture and beliefs of the community. 

In Europe and North America, orange is the color of autumn as well as harvest. For Latin America, it is the color of the earth.

Some countries see orange as a representation of prestige and affluence, such as the Netherlands where it is used as the national color and is symbolic of the Dutch royalty.

For Asian countries, orange has a more varied symbolism. In the Middle East, it symbolizes death or sorrow, and is also used to express danger, while for the Japanese and Chinese, it is a symbol of courage, joy, and health 

The orange color also has religious and political significance in certain countries and religious groups. For example, it is the color associated with Protestants in Ireland, while it is a sacred color in Hinduism and Buddhism and is used for the robes of monks.

Ukraine, on the other hand, sees the color as a sign of freedom and bravery as it was used in a nationwide civil movement called the “Orange Revolution”, which was a protest against questionable presidential elections in 2004.

3. Uses of the Color Orange in Popular Culture

Perhaps one of the most popular associations for the orange color in popular culture is during Halloween.

Together with black, orange is the most dominant color in Halloween decorations. Famous Halloween items, such as the pumpkin, jack-o-lantern, are orange-colored.

This practice started because Halloween is celebrated in late October, which is the end of autumn and the start of winter, thus the leaves are at the peak of their orange fall colors and the days have become darker.

This was also traditionally the end of harvest season, which is why scarecrows also became part of the Halloween symbols.

How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism

Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.

Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.

This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.


From the name itself, warm colors evoke positive and pleasant emotions in people.  Yellow and orange, in particular, can bring out feelings of joy and happiness, even for individuals who are feeling down or are in difficult situations. 

The two colors can even stimulate the brain to be more creative, decisive, and logical, as well as affect certain functions of the body.

With this, you can use the colors strategically to influence your environment, as well as the people around you in order to create a positive and energetic atmosphere.

You can also use the colors on yourself, to lift up your mood during the times when you are feeling down.