Emma Gannon loves yellow. The writer, broadcaster, podcaster and lecturer chose a neon lemon shade for the cover of her bestselling second book, The Multi-Hyphen Method, which extols the empowering nature of a ‘hyphenate’ career. She regularly dons a vivid suit the colour of posh butter at live events and photoshoots, and when she met the Queen in June she wore a ruffled ASOS bumblebee-toned dress. Even her bedroom is bedecked in her favourite colour: her friends, she says, thought she was “weird” when she bought yellow bed linen by eve Sleep, but it “makes [her] happy”.
Gannon has always liked wearing bright colours, but since the publication of The Multi-Hyphen Method in May, yellow has become something close to her signature shade. She wore that sunshiney suit and other yellow outfits on her book tour, after realising that it matched the book’s jacket.
“I was just so drawn to having a yellow book,” she says. “I really wanted something you couldn’t miss in the bookshop, and that’s true of yellow. I don’t think any other colour does that. You notice it straight away; it really pops.”
Yellow book, yellow clothes, yellow social media imagery: Gannon stresses that she didn’t “shamelessly” set out to make the colour her trademark, but there’s no denying that it all ties together to create a vibrant, distinctive personal brand. The idea of the ‘personal brand’ makes some people feel queasy, but it’s a key part of Gannon’s career philosophy.
In The Multi-Hyphen Method, which is all about building a career that works for you as an individual (rather than one that feels inextricably tied to one company or pathway), she writes that building a personal brand allows people to “attract consistent work” on their own terms.
“Sometimes when you’re launching something, it’s not enough anymore to ‘just’ be an author,” she says, of her decision to wear yellow on her book tour. “You have to be quite self-promotional actually, and I was basically promoting the book by dressing up as the book.”
An entire chapter in The Multi-Hyphen Method is dedicated to the art of self-promotion, something Gannon is aware that many people – especially women – struggle with. “I don’t think people should be embarrassed about [self-promotion], but some people really hate it,” she says.
She thinks our reluctance to push ourselves into the limelight professionally is partly a “British thing”. “You know, we’re obsessed with queuing. You can’t jump to the front of the queue, and people will be annoyed if you push in.
“And it’s like that with careers: we feel like we have to wait our turn, and do 10 years here and five years there.
“But actually, we live in a world now where you can take shortcuts, and you can jump the queue a bit if you take on the right side projects and set yourself the right goals. The message of the book is stand out from the crowd, be different and promote yourself, so I’m there in this bright yellow suit, doing that.”
Even if you don’t have a project or side hustle to promote, Gannon recommends wearing yellow for its spirit-lifting properties.
“It just cheers you up a bit,” she says. “I don’t necessarily think everyone needs to go to work in a yellow suit, but even wearing yellow socks or a yellow bag or yellow earrings can genuinely make you feel a bit brighter if you’re having a bad day. It sounds shallow, but yellow really does do that.”
stylist.co.uk has had a yellow makeover on 15 August, to celebrate our Yellow Issue and pay homage to the colour of the season. Read more about the most playful shade of all here.
Images: Tom Barnes / Emma Gannon