Yellow is abundant in nature and is appealing as a food color. For a subtle effect, yellow works well with white and nearby colors in the color spectrum, such as green and orange. For a stark contrast, pair yellow with black or primary colors, red and blue.
Visible true-yellow light's wavelength is approximately 570 nanometers. Yellow is considered a warm color, compared to other colors in the visible electromagnetic spectrum. To achieve the desired effect, both hue and shade must be considered when combining colors. Butter-yellow may combine well with pastel chartreuse, while egg yolk-yellow may be more appealing if combined with a warmer color, such as persimmon-orange.
Pairing yellow with opposite colors on the color spectrum results in a high-contrast effect, visually intensifying both colors. Violet, with a wavelength of approximately 400 nanometers, is a cool color, directly opposite yellow. Yellow can pair with violet, blue or teal for stark contrast.
Combining yellow with colors close to the wavelength of yellow produces a less-contrasting, calming effect. Colors nearest to yellow on the color spectrum are orange and green. Look to the colors of nature, such as autumn leaves and ripening bananas, for examples of colors that combine well with yellow.