The surprising reason why the McDonald's sign is red and yellow

AFP/Getty / Nicolas Asfouri

If you've ever been on a long journey, stomach rumbling in the car, you'll know the pleasure of seeing a red and yellow sign appear over the horizon.

That's because we all know red and yellow likely means fast food.

And it's no coincidence that these colours are the uniform of our fast food restaurants, according to Karen Haller, an expert in applied colour psychology.

She explains in a post on her website that it's believed that these two colours have a psychological effect on customers.

She writes:

The feelings, the mood this combination of colours emits is perfect for their target market.

Looking at the positive psychology qualities of red & yellow in relation to the fast food industry, red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, it attracts attention.  Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness.

When you combine red and yellow it’s about speed, quickness.  In, eat and out again.

Yellow is also the most visible colour in daylight, which is why the McDonald’s M can be seen from a far distance.

And the reason brands choose colour to communicate this?

The language of colour is communicated quicker to the brain than words or shapes as they work directly on our feelings and emotions.

But what about McDonald's green and yellow signs we hear you ask? Well...

Green elicits the feelings of nature, natural and environmentally friendly. It’s no longer about rushing in for a quick bite to eat. You can relax, get comfortable, linger over a coffee (almost dare I say, a bit like Starbucks).

For those in America, yes we have some green and yellow signs over here...

More: This is the worst thing people can find in their food

The Conversation (0)