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What is dark yellow in numbers?

What is dark yellow in numbers?

Dark yellow is a color that sits between yellow and orange on the color spectrum. In the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, dark yellow can be created by mixing higher amounts of red and green light compared to regular yellow. In the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model used for print, dark yellow contains less yellow ink and more black ink compared to regular yellow.

Defining Dark Yellow

Colors can be defined numerically using different color models that assign numeric values to different aspects of a color. Two common color models are RGB and CMYK.

RGB Model

In the RGB model, colors are defined by the intensity of the red, green, and blue components that make up the color. RGB values range from 0 to 255 for each component. Regular yellow has high red and green values with little to no blue. Dark yellow has slightly lower red and green values compared to regular yellow.

Here are some example RGB values for dark yellow colors:

Dark Goldenrod 184, 134, 11
Dark Khaki 189, 183, 107
Dark Olive Green 85, 107, 47

As you can see, dark yellow RGB values tend to have moderately high red and green levels between 85-189, with very little blue contribution.

CMYK Model

In the CMYK model used for print, colors are defined by the amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink used. Regular yellow contains high levels of yellow ink with little to no other colors. Dark yellow contains less yellow ink and higher amounts of black ink compared to regular yellow.

Here are some example CMYK values for dark yellow colors:

Dark Goldenrod 0, 28, 91, 28
Dark Khaki 17, 15, 55, 22
Dark Olive Green 58, 25, 63, 60

As you can see, dark yellow CMYK values tend to have lower yellow ink levels between 15-91%, higher black ink levels between 22-60%, and some addition of cyan and magenta inks.

Perception of Dark Yellow

When we perceive a color as being dark yellow, this is happening in our visual system and brain. Our eyes contain color photoreceptor cells called cones. There are cones tuned for red, green, and blue light. When a dark yellow wavelength of light enters our eye, it stimulates the red and green cones moderately while minimally activating the blue cones.

This cone cell response pattern is transmitted to the brain, which interprets it as being dark yellow based on prior color experiences stored in memory. So dark yellow is ultimately a perceptual phenomenon taking place in the brain, even though we can assign numeric values to represent it.

Use of Dark Yellow

Dark yellow has some unique aesthetic qualities that make it useful in certain design and artistic contexts. Some examples include:

  • Conveying autumn – Dark yellow evokes the turning leaves of fall.
  • Warm accent color – Dark yellow provides a rich, warm accent when combined with neutral backgrounds.
  • Vintage style – Dark yellow gives a vintage, antique style when used in furnishings or graphic design.
  • Caution signage – Dark yellow attracts attention while being less intense than brighter yellow.

Dark yellow brings many of the optimistic, cheerful qualities of yellow while toning down the brightness. This allows it to be used in more versatile, subtle ways compared to regular yellow.

Dark Yellow in Nature

Dark yellow occurs naturally in many plants, animals, and minerals. Here are a few examples:

  • Marigolds – Marigold flowers exhibit a range of yellows from pale to deep orange-yellow.
  • Bananas – Ripe bananas are a vivid dark yellow.
  • Yellow butterflies – Some species have dark yellow wings.
  • Amber – Fossilized tree resin that ranges from golden yellow to dark brownish-orange.
  • Sulfur – The mineral sulfur is a bright yellow in its natural form.

Dark yellow pigments are common in nature since they are produced through mixtures of red and green pigments. The natural occurrences remind us of the warm, earthy attributes of this color.

Psychology of Dark Yellow

Dark yellow evokes some of the same psychological responses as lighter yellows, but in a more subdued way. Some psychological associations with dark yellow include:

  • Warmth – Dark yellow gives a comforting, cozy feeling like sitting near a fireplace.
  • Energy – While not as energetic as bright yellow, dark yellow promotes upbeat feelings.
  • Optimism – Dark yellow continues yellow’s link with hope and positivity.
  • Attention-grabbing – Dark yellow attracts attention without feeling jarring or obnoxious.
  • Vintage/nostalgic – Darker yellows give an old-fashioned, historical impression.

Dark yellow stimulates many of the same parts of the brain as yellow, including areas linked to emotion and memory. Seeing dark yellow may remind us of nostalgic things like antique furnishings, fall leaves, or classic books.

Dark Yellow in Culture

Dark yellow has symbolic meanings in many cultures and traditions. A few examples include:

  • In China, dark yellow symbolizes royalty and power due to its association with the legendary Yellow Emperor.
  • In Egypt, dark yellow represents mourning when used in clothing.
  • In Mesoamerican art, deities were sometimes depicted with dark yellow skin.
  • In Western culture, dark yellow can symbolize deceit or cowardice in some contexts.
  • In Hindu tradition, dark yellow is associated with the third eye chakra and mental focus.

Different shades of dark yellow take on more culture-specific meanings. More golden dark yellows are linked with wealth and prestige, while more orange or brownish dark yellows symbolize autumn and melancholy.


Dark yellow is an evocative, rich color straddling the boundary between yellow and orange. It has unique numerical definitions in color systems like RGB and CMYK. We perceive it through a mixture of red and green visual stimulation. Dark yellow has many warm, nostalgic properties that make it useful artistically and aesthetically. It also carries diverse cultural symbolism across human societies.