Yellow and Red Combination: Does it Work?

yellow and red combination

Red and yellow are two vibrant colors. But does a yellow and red combination work well together? 

If you’re wondering whether to pair red and yellow, you need to read this article. It will guide you through whether red and yellow work well together (and why). 

So, read on to find out when to use a yellow and red color combination! Here’s a hint: It can be effective in artwork, branding, interior design, and clothing. 

But with these tips, you’ll be able to take these colors to the next level. 

The Color Yellow

red and yellow mixed together

Yellow is a bright, cheerful color on the warm end of the color spectrum, along with orange and red. It’s a primary color that’s crucial when mixing other colors.

Many people like the color yellow as it is fun and a little whimsical. It’s the color of sunshine, flowers, and lemons. Yellow is sure to brighten up any scene. 

As it’s such a vivid color, yellow is sometimes used as a warning sign. You can see it on road signs and in nature. For example, bees use yellow and black stripes to warn that they can sting. 

The Color Red

yellow and red combination

Red is another primary color that’s an essential building block for color mixing. You can use red to make orange and purple. But it’s also an important color in its own right.

This vibrant shade is eye-catching and often seen in nature. Everything from flowers to butterflies, birds, and fruit can have this rich color. 

And like the color yellow, red can also be a warning or a sign of danger. We use the color red for stop signs and traffic lights. Likewise, the fly agaric mushroom is red to show it’s poisonous. 

As red is such a bold color, it tends to dominate anywhere you use it. And that can make it tricky to pick colors to go with red. 

So, let’s look at how these two colors work together. 

Color Theory: Complementary Colors

complementary Colors

One rule in color science is that complementary colors work best in a combination. But what are complementary colors, anyway?

On a color wheel, complementary colors are opposite each other. The theory is that these colors are different enough to contrast with each other. So, they create a striking look that just clicks. 

But are red and yellow complementary colors? The answer is no. 


Red is opposite green on the color wheel, while yellow is opposite purple. 

However, complementary colors aren’t the only way to create a cohesive color palette. So, that doesn’t mean you should avoid using yellow and red together. 

Is Red and Yellow a Good Combination?

is red and yellow a good combination

Depending on the look you want to create, red and yellow can work really well together.

As you’ve seen, these colors can both be bright and eye-catching. In that case, they make a striking and bold combination. It’s very attention-grabbing and full of energy. 

So, a yellow and red combination can work well if you want to make a statement. It also looks fresh and modern. 

But yellow isn’t as in your face as the color red. And that means it can play well with red while toning it down slightly. As a result, these colors make an excellent color palette.

However, it’s not ideal if you want to create a calm, soothing atmosphere. These colors are vivid and can provoke strong emotional and physical reactions. 

Of course, you also need to consider which shades of yellow and red you’ll use together. I’ve shared some suggestions further down. 

Why Do Yellow and Red Look Great Together?

what colors do red and yellow make

If you’re still wondering why red and yellow work well together, here’s a quick explanation. 

Yellow and red have some fundamental similarities. For example, they are both warmer shades on the color spectrum. 

But crucially, red and yellow have a high contrast between them. That’s important, as it makes them stand out more against each other. You should always avoid choosing similar shades because they will blend together. 

It’s even more disastrous if you use low-contrast colors for branding or logos. They simply won’t be legible enough. 

But the good news is that red and yellow have high contrast. So, they stand out against each other and are easy to see. Plus, they are bold, bright, and make a big impact.  

Tips for Using a Yellow and Red Combination:

Red and Yellow Work Well as Accent Colors

does red and yellow make orange

If you’re not brave enough to go all out, you could use red or yellow as an accent color. Or you could even sprinkle these two colors throughout your design. 

Red and yellow will work together in small amounts, even if they’re not the focal point. Pair with neutrals, so the brighter colors will stand out and grab your attention.

Experiment with Different Shades and Saturation Levels 

Yellow and red are a fresh and winning combination. But that doesn’t mean you can pair any shade of red and yellow together.

Instead, you need to think carefully about which shades to use. For example, a citrus yellow won’t work well with a warm, deep red. 

So, think about the color temperature when pairing colors. That means a cool yellow will complement a cooler shade of red. 

And equally, a deep mustard yellow pairs well with maroon or scarlet. That’s because these shades are all on the warm end of the spectrum and work well together.

The color saturation level is another vital factor to consider. For example, a saturated, rich red won’t contrast nicely with a pale, washed-out yellow. So, I recommend going for colors with similar saturation levels for a better result. 

FAQ

What Color Looks Good with Red?

Now, you know that yellow and red are a good color combination. But what other colors work well with red?
Black and white are both simple and easy colors to use with red. They are monochromatic and allow the red to stand out. They also work well if you prefer a monochromatic look. 
And following the same reasoning, gray also works well. It is a muted color that makes an excellent backdrop for the color red. You can pick any shade of gray from pale to dark charcoal and know that it will pair well with red. 
As green is a complementary color to red, it’s another excellent option. These colors work well in abstract paintings with bold use of color. 
Other paler colors also make a good color combination with red. For example, beige, sand, and tawny brown are worth considering. If you want a pop of color, pair it with cyan or mint green. 

What Color Looks Good with Yellow?

There are all sorts of possibilities for yellow color palettes. 
Blue is a winning choice, as these colors contrast nicely against each other. You can see this color palette used by Claude Monet in his painting of irises.
A bright yellow shade works well with indigo, violet, and lavender. Likewise, a warm yellow can contrast nicely with a saturated mid-pink shade like rose. 
And if you have a deep yellow, brown, or green can also work well. With this combination, you’ll create an earthy and sensual color palette. 

The Wrap Up 

Now, you know how to use the colors red and yellow confidently. These colors make for an impactful combination. With a strong contrast and vibrant shades, red and yellow are sure to make an impression. 

Let me know if you like the yellow and red color combination in the comments below!

Follow 123inspiration for all the best tips, tutorials, and reviews for creatives. 

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