Yellow has come to symbolize a great many things across cultures – meanings that are often conflicting in nature. Across Europe and North America, yellow is associated with amusement, gentleness, and spontaneity in contrast to other popular meanings, including deception, jealousy, greed, and cowardice. In Asia, yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom, and harmony and in Iran, disease, but also connection.
And of caution? Yellow’s use as a prompt for vigilance really has less to do with symbolism and more to do with physics and biology. While most people perceive color along the full spectrum of visible light, green and yellow appear the “brightest” and can be seen from the furthest distance as compared to red or violet.
Indeed, the very word yellow is derived from ancient languages in which the root the modern word is derived from, ghel, means “to yell” or “to shout”.
High visibility is why school buses are yellow, as well as taxi cabs, roadway construction signs and equipment, yield signs, pedestrian crossing designations, and concrete curbs. Even traditionally red fire trucks are beginning to change their hue to leverage the laws of science.
With wavelengths of roughly 570 to 590 nanometers (nm) long, yellow is tucked snug in the middle of the visible light spectrum – that tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (the full spectrum of which includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared and ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma rays) visible to the naked human eye.
To remember the colors in the rainbow that is the visible light spectrum, your childhood teachers may have encouraged you to create an imaginary friend named ROY G BIV, the letters of which stand for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
How the human eye perceives color – in a very tiny nutshell
The human eye has millions of structures lining the retina called rods and cones, so dubbed for their shape. Humans have about 100 million rods, which are stimulated in low-light conditions or at night, and about 7 million cones, which are responsible for detail and color vision.
These cones are covered in light-sensitive pigments that are stimulated by blue, green, and red light (or short, medium, and long wavelengths, respectively). Because the human eye has more medium and long wavelength pigments or receptors, humans are most sensitive to yellowish-green light.
Why should, you, a commercial parking property manager or lot owner care about all this?
Relating the science behind the color yellow is really just a longwinded – though quite amusing – way to say yellow is the color most likely to grab the attention of pedestrians navigating a concrete wilderness full of curbs and uneven landscapes.
Painting curbs yellow as a reminder to watch your step is a simple measure that can help prevent accidents – and even premise liability lawsuits.
Need more than just your parking lot curbs painted?
If this is the case, feel free to contact Curcio Enterprises, the one-stop shop for all your parking facility needs. From painting existing striping or adding new striping to your parking lot to creating original layout designs tailored to your needs, we offer a complete range of parking lot and parking garage painting services.
Check out our portfolio to see the results for yourself.