What is Gen Z Yellow? Fine Art Collector investigates

Mellow Yellow

Tim Cotterill: Frogman

Karen Haller high Res image

Meet the expert



Dubbed ‘the new Millennial Pink’, Gen Z Yellow stormed catwalks in 2018. The hue takes its name from the generation born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s who are confident with technology and social media. But how can an entire generation be defined by one colour?

We spoke to applied colour psychology expert Karen Haller to find out. 

Boost your mood with yellow art!

Where did the idea of ‘generational colour’ come from?

The first hint we got of this was when Pantone identified ‘a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged’ with an ‘increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression’. It wasn’t long before the idea of Millennial Pink took off and a colour was used to define an entire generation. Given its phenomenal success, it was only a matter of time before the next colour was sought out that captured the mood and essence of the next generation: Gen Z Yellow.

What does Gen Z Yellow represent?

The first Gen Z Yellow that came out was a strong, bright yellow and if I was to pick one word to summarise this hue, it would be ‘optimism’. In society today, there’s a lot of uncertainty and when this happens people typically choose to go in one of two directions: they either choose ‘safe’ colours that allow them to hibernate and hunker down, or they decide they want change and to see a bright, positive future ahead. That is exactly what Gen Z Yellow is. We’re not talking about a muted yellow – this is a warm and happy yellow that is full of positivity.

How does the colour yellow affect human behaviour?

Think about how you feel when you see the sun shining – it lifts our spirits and we feel optimistic and have a brighter outlook on life. When thinking about the ways in which colour affects human behaviour, we have to consider colour combinations and not just colours in isolation. For example, if you put yellow with black, straight away you’ve got a danger sign just like we see in nature, and this will impact human behaviour differently than yellow on its own.

How can people incorporate yellow into their lives and homes?

The advice I give my clients when they’re looking to incorporate yellow is to pick the tint, tone or shade that resonates with their personality. Whether that’s a lemon yellow, buttercup, sunflower or a saffron, there’s a huge range to consider. You don’t have to go all out - just a little bit of yellow, like a bunch of flowers or a splash in a painting, can bring a sense of brightness and happiness without being overwhelming.

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