Minion Yellow: Energizing Colors for Digital Media

Bold, bright, vibrant, and ‘uplifting’ are the words used to describe Minion Yellow, the Pantone Color Institute’s latest addition to the Pantone Color Library. In a statement, the Institute’s executive director LeatriceEiseman describes Minion Yellow as “the colour of hope, joy and optimism.”While it seems a little excessive to attach such effusive descriptorsto a color, consistent research has shown that there is no gimmick in how colors can leave a lasting emotional impact.

In fact, the Pantone Color Institute, a global authority on color standardization, releases reports annually on color trends and examines how different colors incite different emotional responses.Added in April of this year, Minion Yellow reflects what graphic and web designers have been describing as a movement towards brighter, boldercolors. Developed by the Institute, Illumination Entertainment, and Pharell Williams, this color was created to satisfy “the desire of the consumer to add more energizing color into their lives.”

Minion Yellow

Now, as more ‘vibrant’ and ‘energizing’ colors are coming into vogue across digital media, which ones are going to take the lead? Which colors will take the lead across the board and which ones will become associated with specific industries? Most importantly, how do brands use these colors on digital platforms to best communicate their own brand values? 

Let’s take a look at the vibrant colors that we have loved seeing online over the past year, and how they have worked for different brands.



This pink (and others just a shade off) has made its way to the logos and websites of many different companies looking to associate their brand with distinctive and unconventional flair. The bright hue dominates a page, so it is often paired with an unobtrusive black, white, and/or gray. Some of the more daring brands also pair the color with other bright hues, like blues, greens and purples, as seenon the website for design legend Karim Rashid. For brands like Karim Rashid’s that are built on a reputation of audacious and unapologetic pizzazz, a pairing of colors this bright is appropriate. For brands appealing to more conventional consumer needs or to conservative clients, including two or more extremely loud, bright colors would be a bit too bold.




In print, this color would never come out quite right – it would be subdued and heavy. On the web, however, this color is vibrant and eye-catching, and still connotes the dependability that is typically associated with blues. Brazen Blue brings the electric creativity of the aforementioned pink without all the flamboyance, making it a choice for leading creative engineering brands like Google, Adobe’s Behance, and the rising startup, BlueBite. A word of caution – this blue is loud and can dominatea page. To maximize impact without compromising readability, designers often use this blue in small quantities against a neutral backdrop of black, white, and/or grays.




In McDonald’s massive rebranding efforts that began late last year, the company left behind its more abrasive red (FD0A2A) and opted for this softer red.The change is clearly for the best. The previous color is reminiscent of the ‘olden days’ of digital design, when brands did not stray past the original 16-color palettes installed in the first Apple and Microsoft personal computers. The softer red is more welcoming than the original, but does not sacrifice the energy and impact of the brightest red. An optimum choice for designers looking for a red in the digital age.

Softer, more pastel reds are being adopted by companies like Airbnb



This color is seen all across the web, from website layouts toMcDonald’s latest stream of Instagram posts. This color in particular, a shade of cyan, is summery and light. With a red value of 80, a green value of 185 and a blue value of 188, this color has a considerable percentage of warm red to subdue its cool hue.Still, the color is cool enough to exude a degree of sophistication when set against dark grays or pale silver tones. This color is extremely adaptable, making it one of the more popular of the cyan swatches on the web.



Leafy greens bring suggestions of the natural into digital world. This green in particular not only brings a bit of the natural, but also has an element of fun. It is bright and positive, but is a shade dark enough to ground the visuals on a web page. Seen in the recently updated Spotify logo, this green has a delightful whimsicality that energizes and excites. The color is most vivid (and most appealing) against a white background – a black background draws attention to the tinge of darkness in the hue and makes it appear dull.




Though not ‘energizing’ in the same way as the bright pink and blue, this color has a vivid quality that makes it unique in the neutral palette. The pale beige colorexudes the elegance of black and white, but with a mild chroma that offers a playful twist. This color is favored by brands exploring the more lighthearted sides of art and luxury, and the color even plays into the aesthetics of the ‘hipster’ subculture. On the AIGA’s Eye on Design blog, this color is paired with salmon-colored graphics and flat, sans serif curvilinear font, heightening the ‘playful elegance’ feel.Unlike the more conventionally-used neutral colors (black, white, grays), this pale beige offers a versatile combination of gentle appearance and elegant, artistic connotation, making it a leading choice for web designers today.