Red Color Psychology, Symbolism and Meaning

Red is one of the fascinating colors that uncover various symbolisms, meanings, and associations. It is usually linked with our strong emotions, such as love, desire, and anger. From red hair to the red carpet in events, it is a color that’s regarded as a head-turner due to its warm, bright hues.

Red is a primary color. It represents passion, warmth, and sexuality, but it is also known as a color that stands for danger, violence, and aggression. Red sits between violet and orange on the color wheel. Colors that are similar to red are rose red and red-orange. The hex code for the color red is #FF0000.

The history of red

Red is the first color that humans mastered, fabricated, reproduced, and broke down into different shades. It is also one of the earliest colors used by artists during the prehistoric period.

Throughout the Middle Ages, red had a religious significance. It was the color of the blood of Christ and the fires of Hell. In the Renaissance period, red colors were supposed to draw the viewer’s attention to the most influential figures in a painting.

In the 19th century, red became the color of a new political and social movement such as socialism. So it was also when the color red was used to create specific emotions in art and not just for imitating nature.

Red meaning and psychology

Red is known to have both physiological and psychological impacts on people, thus producing positive and negative effects on us. Studies show that its warm and vibrant hue gives us more energy to take action. Below are some concepts that are linked to the color red.

Love
We may all agree that red is the color of love, which involves passion, sexuality, romance, and lust. Whether we are infatuated, in love, or even broken-hearted, we immediately think of the color red. It communicates strong feelings of attraction that can energize and increase a person’s heart rate.

Since red is associated with romance, it is the chosen color for romantic gifts such as red roses, red balloons, and even chocolates paired with red ribbons. Showering such gifts to the one you love is fluttering!

Power
Compared to the rest of the colors, red provokes the most potent emotions, both healthy and unhealthy. It makes people feel dominant and powerful by boosting their self-esteem. In addition, red is a bold color, which makes one stand out from the crowd and influences the way others see them.

For example, the fastest and most luxurious cars in the world are most often painted in red; famous people are usually given the red carpet treatment, and women that wear red are considered more attractive. Therefore, owning a red car, receiving a red carpet treatment, and wearing red clothing give so much more power than everyone else that doesn’t favor this shade.

Passion
Red gives us the motivation to do our best in doing the things we love. It involves the expression of intense interest and enthusiasm about something. Red excites our emotions, which is why we exert effort to finish a task or achieve a particular goal, especially if it’s something that interests us.

Confidence
Red also conveys confidence, the state of believing in one’s abilities and qualities. Wearing a red dress, red coat, or red lipstick shows that a person is ready to take on the world and make a big difference. Red is an essential color to show people what you’re capable of doing.

Danger
When we look around us, red is found on several road signs. Why? Because red is often seen as a ‘danger cue’. It demands to be noticed, which is why we have red traffic lights and red stop signs. In addition, red is proven to increase our adrenaline rush and helps us act fast.

There are more than 50 shades of red out there that are widely used for many purposes. Let’s take a look at some of its popular variations.

Maroon 
It is described as a dark variation of red. Maroon came from the French word ‘Marron’ which translates to ‘brown’. The shade represents attention and many other things and is often the chosen color of most universities and colleges.

Scarlet
Scarlet red is a shade best described as a very bright red with a hint of orange. Its appearance is like the color of flames, and it embodies authority and strength.

Blood Red
It is an intense hue of red similar to the actual color of blood. Blood red is associated with either positive or negative concepts. For example, it symbolizes life, but it is often associated with death, violence, rage, and the like because of its appearance.

Imperial Red 
This kind of shade is a beautiful hue of red, like the inside of a watermelon. It is often used for culinary advertisements and the choice of color for some graphic design projects. Imperial red is seen as a warm and bright red color.

The Red Personality Type

People who favor the color red are generally observed to be extroverts, outgoing, and enjoy spending time with people and living life to the fullest. However, they can also be seen as competitive and unapologetic individuals. Is red your favorite color?

Positive Traits

  • Enthusiastic
    You vibrate a high level of energy, especially in doing the things you love, so you do your best to succeed in pursuing your interests.
  • Confident
    You are optimistic, firm, and not afraid to stand up for yourself. Because you believe in yourself, you are not easily scared of the negative things you hear, like criticisms and bashful comments.
  • Passionate
    Due to your passionate nature, you take things personally and rarely back down. As a result, you have strong emotions about many things and know precisely how to defend your beliefs.
  • Charismatic
    Others quickly notice as you enter the room because of your charming and radiant characteristics. You leave a good first impression that leaves your audience in awe.
  • Natural Leader
    You gain the respect of others by knowing how to recognize the essential things in both your personal and professional life, which makes you a natural leader. With this, you serve as an inspiration to everyone around you.

Negative Traits

  • Impulsive
    Too much passion often leads to impulsivity. Sometimes, you overlook the possible consequences of your action because of your intense urge to just do the things you like.
  • Unapologetic
    Because of your strong emotions, it is hard for you to apologize in a conflict and admit that you’re wrong.
  • Aggressive
    When you don’t get what you want, you can be aggressive and exhibit a violent temper. Although you may calm down pretty quickly, it’s not always easy to be around you.
  • Overly competitive
    Since you strongly believe in never giving up, you like to be in charge all the time, which often leads to disregarding other people’s feelings just to get on top.

While red is a vibrant color, it is also linked to revenge and anger. People often get red in the face when they are angry, which is why red is associated with rage across many cultures. In addition, red color stands for violence and danger because it resembles the color of human blood.

Red is also associated with warning signs. Due to its high visibility, it quickly attracts people’s attention to warning signs. For example, red flags indicate that something terrible may occur, and so they are used to warn people of impending danger.

Too much red can provoke aggression and irritation. It is found that red can cause an increased heart and respiration rate. For this reason, people can feel alert and stressed out when seeing red for a long time.

Color red in business

In reality, the color red is not liked by everyone. Red is a great way to express their sexuality, passion, and lust for life for some people. On the other hand, others see it as too much as it can appear sleazy and overwhelming.

Choosing the color red to represent your business is a risky path. Therefore, it is recommended for use only by the already successful companies or by those who feel sure about their business strategies.

Red stands for motivation that encourages clients to take action, but it doesn’t guarantee a positive response. The best way would be to use it in small doses as a sign of passion and energy for the business.

Color red in branding and marketing

Due to its warm and bright hues, red cannot go unnoticed. It is the most intense color on the color wheel, and it evokes strong emotions. So far, brands have been using it to build excitement and encourage customers to take action.

When targeting bigger crowds, lighter tones of red should do a better job. Softer shades will make a point, and it also helps brands not appear too aggressive and desperate. So instead, already successful brands use darker shades of red to create a more fiery and authoritative effect.

Random Facts about Red

  • Red is an exciting color with deep meanings and broad characteristics. Although intimidating as it may seem, red has more interesting facts to offer!
  • Red is the first color a baby sees.
  • In the Russian language, red translates to ‘beautiful.’
  • Red doesn’t make the bulls angry because they can’t see the color red.
  • The planet Mars is also called ‘The Red Planet.’
  • Red light is often used to help adapt to night vision, such as nighttime and other low-light situations.
  • Seeing the color red stimulates the human heart.
  • The color red is considered to have the longest wavelength of colors in the color spectrum.
  • Red candies taste the sweetest.
  • According to studies, men in red are more attractive and sexually desirable than women in red.
  • Red is one of the most common colors used on national flags.

Information about Red / #FF0000

In a RGB color space (made from three colored lights for red, green, and blue), hex #FF0000 is made of 100% red, 0% green and 0% blue. In a CMYK color space (also known as process color, or four colors, used in color printing), hex #FF0000 is made of 0% cyan, 100% magenta, 100% yellow, and 0% black. Red has a hue angle of 0 degrees, a saturation of 100%, and a lightness of 50%.

Color conversion

The hexadecimal color #FF0000 has RGB values of R: 100, G: 0, B: 0 and CMYK values of C: 0, M: 1, Y: 1, K:0.

 VALUECSS
HEX

 

ff0000

 

#ff0000

 

RGB DECIMAL

 

255, 0, 0

 

rgb(255, 0, 0)

 

RGB PERCENTAGE

 

100, 0, 0

 

rgb(100%, 0%, 0%)

 

CMYK

 

0, 100, 100, 0

 

 
HSL

 

0°, 100, 50

 

hsl(0°, 100%, 50%)

 

HSV (OR HSB)

 

0°, 100, 100

 

 
WEB SAFE

 

ff0000

 

#ff0000

 

CIE-LAB

 

53.241, 80.092, 67.203

 

 
XYZ

 

41.246, 21.267, 1.933

 

 
XYY

 

0.64, 0.33, 21.267

 

 
CIE-LCH

 

53.241, 104.552, 39.999

 

 
CIE-LUV

 

53.241, 175.015, 37.756

 

 
HUNTER-LAB

 

46.116, 82.7, 28.335

 

 
BINARY

 

11111111, 00000000, 00000000

 

 

 

34 comments
  1. Paint it Red ! I like Red hints of red in different places in the home & garden , signifying , I can do 😎

  2. Good afternoon,

    My name is Christian, I am a first year high school student. We are preparing to do research work, in which I have decided to investigate color blindness, since I suffer from this defect. I would like to be able to contact a specialist in this field, to do an interview, and also to be able to expand my information.

    Thank you, I’m looking forward for your answer.

    1. i am not very impressed with some of your comments. Have a better attitude and be grateful for the information we are given. Red is a good color and symbolizes a lot of things.

  3. I find that when I wear maroon shades,colors within/etween the red/violet spectrum, people will approach me and ask me where certain addresses are.
    This seems to happen more often than when I’ve worn my typical rowns, greys and darkest hues.
    This is just an o-servation that I’ve tested within the past month.
    Perhaps people are conditioned in Toronto to the maroon, reddish colors worn y the TTC operators.
    Anyway, interesting article and thank you for posting.

  4. Your work would be more credible if you actually included concrete research and reasoning as to why and how the color red can psychologically affect us. Red does this and that, but how? We understand the meaning of the color red, but what gave it meaning in the first place? What is the science behind it? If you’re going to write about the psychology of red or colors in general, you should include the psychology part. Otherwise, you’ll leave your audience asking “what’s the point of this text?'” why am I reading this?”

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