Buttercup is a bright, vibrant shade of yellow that conjures images of sunshine, daffodils, and fields of buttercups. Determining the exact color number for buttercup can be complicated since there are many different color systems used to classify shades. However, most color experts agree that buttercup falls somewhere within the yellow-orange color spectrum.
The Color Buttercup
The name “buttercup” comes from the bright yellow flower of the same name, which blooms in meadows and fields during springtime. The petals of the buttercup flower contain a yellow pigment called ranunculin, which gives it its distinctive golden color. This cheery shade of yellow has inspired many paint colors and Crayola crayons over the years that aim to capture the color of a buttercup’s petals.
In nature, buttercup yellow can range from a muted pastel yellow to a vivid lemon yellow depending on factors like soil pH, sunlight exposure, and pollination. This variability makes it difficult to pin down an exact universal color number. However, within the constraints of different color systems, there are some representative color codes we can look to.
Buttercup in the RYB Color System
The RYB or red-yellow-blue color model was one of the first ways to categorize color, dating back to the 18th century. In the RYB system, primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. When mixed together, they create secondary and tertiary colors.
In this color model, buttercup would be classified as a primary or secondary yellow. It lacks enough red or green to push it towards orange or chartreuse. The following RYB yellow shades are close approximations of buttercup:
- Primary yellow
- Yellow-orange (a mix of yellow and orange)
- Yellow-green (a mix of yellow and green)
Buttercup in the RGB Color Model
RGB stands for red, green, and blue—the primary colors of light. In the RGB color space, colors are represented by varying intensities of these three colors combined. This is the system used for onscreen colors.
In RGB values, a pure vivid yellow has the following color code:
- R: 255
- G: 255
- B: 0
Adjusting these RGB values to increase green and decrease red shifts the yellow towards a buttercup color:
- R: 227
- G: 233
- B: 0
Hexadecimal values provide another way to quantify RGB colors. The hex code for buttercup yellow is #E3E900.
Buttercup in the CMYK Color System
CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). It represents percentages of these four inks used in color printing. In CMYK, buttercup yellow is made of the following:
- C: 0% cyan
- M: 10% magenta
- Y: 89% yellow
- K: 0% black
By lowering the percentage of yellow and increasing magenta, the shade becomes less saturated and pure. The black ink also darkens the tone.
Buttercup in the HSV/HSB Color Models
HSV and HSB stand for hue, saturation, value and hue, saturation, brightness—two cylindrical models for representing colors. In both systems, the hue 0-60° corresponds to yellow shades.
A pure vivid yellow has these HSV/HSB values:
- H: 60°
- S: 100%
- V/B: 100%
Buttercup would have a slightly lower saturation and value/brightness to be less intense than a pure yellow. An approximate HSV value is:
- H: 56°
- S: 80%
- V: 93%
And an approximate HSB value is:
- H: 56°
- S: 80%
- B: 93%
Buttercup Color Codes
Here is a summary of some common buttercup color codes across different color systems:
|Color System||Buttercup Color Code|
|RGB||R: 227 G: 233 B: 0|
|CMYK||C: 0% M: 10% Y: 89% K: 0%|
|HSV||H: 56° S: 80% V: 93%|
|HSB||H: 56° S: 80% B: 93%|
Buttercup in Named Color Systems
In addition to the numeric color models above, buttercup shades also correspond to specific colors names defined by systems like Pantone, Crayola, and HTML/CSS colors. Some examples include:
- Pantone 1225 C
- Crayola Dandelion
- HTML/CSS color keyword “gold”
These standardized colors allow designers and developers to reference specific shades of yellow across different mediums. While not an exact match, Pantone 1225 C is one of the closest defined colors to a true buttercup yellow.
Buttercup in Culture
Beyond its scientific color codes, buttercup yellow also carries meaning through its use in art, film, marketing, and more.
Some symbolic connections and usages include:
- Cheerfulness, joy, optimism
- Sunshine, springtime
- Cowardice (see buttercups in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
- Wealth, prestige, royalty (gold-colored variation)
- Caution, warning
Brands like McDonald’s, Breyers, Dairy Queen, and Snapple use buttercup yellow in their logos and packaging to invoke feelings of happiness and upbeat energy. It’s a friendly, fun color that stands out against other bold primary shades.
Psychology of Buttercup
Color psychology suggests buttercup yellow promotes optimism, creativity, and confidence:
- Brightens mood and boosts self-esteem
- Stimulates mental clarity, organization
- Encourages imagination, originality
- Evokes friendliness, approachability
- Feels playful, youthful, innocent
At the same time, in large doses it can come across as abrasive or intense for some. Softer shades mix well with other hues in interior design and professional settings.
Using Buttercup in Design
When used strategically, buttercup can be an energetic accent color or statement shade:
- Pops against dark neutrals like black, gray, navy
- Complements blue, violet, pink as a dynamic contrast
- Adds cheer to spring or summer event branding
- Stands out in youth marketing, children’s media
In web design, yellow draws attention, so limit use to avoid overwhelming users. Pair with serif fonts and white space for balancing legibility.
Matching Colors for Buttercup
Certain shades harmonize beautifully with a buttercup yellow base. Some recommended color schemes include:
- Analogous – Buttercup, marigold, amber
- Triadic – Buttercup, violet, sky blue
- Split-Complementary – Buttercup, azure blue, raspberry pink
- Tetradic – Buttercup, periwinkle, burnt sienna, sea green
Adjust saturation and lightness of the accent hues to find the right color balance for your purposes.
With its cheerful disposition and array of symbolic meanings, buttercup yellow brings vibrance and positivity to designs across industries. Use color theory and models like RYB, RGB, CMYK, and HSB to find your ideal buttercup shade. Pair it with soft contrasting hues to let this energizing color shine while maintaining an inviting, balanced palette.
Buttercup’s unique color number may fluctuate across systems, but its uplifting spirit always shines through. Harness the color psychology and visual impact of this yellow hue to boost your next project.