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RED COLOR: Psychology, Meaning and Types

Meaning of the Color Red

Red, the color of blood and fire, is associated with the meanings of love, passion, desire, heat, longing, lust, sexuality, sensitivity, romance, joy, strength, leadership, courage, willpower, rage, anger, danger. Malice, anger, stress, action, vibrancy, luminosity and determination.

Red is assertive, bold, decisive, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting and aggressive. Red represents physical energy, lust, passion and desire. It symbolizes action, confidence and courage. Red is linked to the more primal physical, emotional and financial needs of survival and self-preservation. Red is an intense color that is full of emotions ranging from passionate and intense love to anger and violence, representing both Cupid and the devil. It is a hot, strong and stimulating color that represents excitement and energy. Studies show that the color red can create physical effects, such as elevated blood pressure, enhanced libido, increased respiratory rate, improved metabolism, increased enthusiasm, higher energy levels and increased confidence.

Red represents power and courage. Red is the basis for the traditional red tie or red suit in business, and the red carpet for celebrities and VIPs. Red’s association with courage and bravery makes it a color often used on national flags, shields and achievement patches.

Too much red causes loss of temper, agitation, anger, and domineering, demanding and oppressive behaviors. Too little red causes lethargic, cautious, tearful, and manipulative feelings. To get out of control, emotions under control add green, the opposite of red. To get rid of exhaustion, add more red.

In different cultures red has different meanings. In some cultures, red represents purity, joy and celebration, and is a traditional color used by brides. In China, red is used for good luck and represents happiness and prosperity.

In South Africa, red is the color of mourning and in Russia red is associated with communism because, in history, it used a red flag when they overthrew the czar. In the United States, red, when combined with white and blue, represents patriotism and pride of country.

Psychology of the Color Red

Color psychology has discovered that we perceive colors differently, as each has its own unique message. Red is one of the basic colors, and it is one that immediately catches our attention. Here are some of the associations that red has.

Energy and aggression

It is the color associated with energy and aggression. Red has an effect on our physiological state, as it increases our heart rate and makes us breathe faster. Red is very noticeable, so excessive use can be irritating or provoke aggression. A red accent on a neutral background can help draw attention to a single element.


Athletes who wear red kit in combat sports have been found to be more likely to win than those who wore blue kit. Red makes a person feel more aggressive and more powerful, increasing testosterone, but it also changes the perception that others have.


Red is also the color linked to sexuality and desire. People who wear red are rated as more attractive by others. For example, waitresses in red generally receive higher tips than those wearing a different color uniform.


Considering that it draws attention, it’s easy to see why it is used so often in warning signs. Red has to do with the body’s fight or flight response, so too much red leaves a person feeling not only alert, but stressed.

Life and love

Symbolically, red can be linked to life and passion, as well as the bonds of romantic and familial love. It is often used in romantic gifts, such as Valentine’s Day, and to express love, for example, by giving red roses.

Types or Varieties of Red

  • Scarlet: this is a bright red shade with a slightly orange tinge. Surveys conducted in Europe and the United States show that scarlet and other shades of bright red are the colors most associated with courage, strength, passion, warmth and joy.
  • Imperial Red: is a representation of the color red from Napoleon I’s Imperial Standard. Its first recorded use of Imperial Red as a color name in English was in 1914.
  • Indian Red: this Indian red name is derived from the red laterite soil seen in India, which is composed of natural iron oxides. The first recorded use of “Indian red” as a color term in English was in 1792.
  • Carmine: the color carmine is characterized as a saturated red. In its pigment form, it contains mainly red light with wavelengths longer than 600 nm, i.e., it resembles extreme spectral red. This leaves it beyond the standard ranges (both RGB and CMYK).
  • Ruby: named after this monkey because it is a representation of the color of the cut and polished ruby gemstone.
  • Crimson: this is an intense, bright and strong red color, which is linked with a little blue or violet, which produces a small degree of purple.
  • Rusty Red: this is a color formulated by Crayola in 1990 as one of the colors in their special “Silver Swirls” box of their metallic color line.
  • Fire Engine Red: fire engine red is an intense, bright red color which is commonly used on emergency vehicles or transports; mostly fire engines or other associated fire vehicles and ambulances.
  • Cardinal Red: also known as cardinal, it is a bright red, its name comes from the cassocks worn by cardinals.
  • Blood Red: The color of blood usually ranges from crimson red to dark brown and may also have a slightly orange hue. In the RGB color spectrum, it often consists only of red, with no green or blue component; in the CYMK color model, blood red has no cyan, and consists only of magenta and yellow with a small amount of black. Normally this color is darker than brown and dark red.

Red Color Number or Code

  • Hexagonal triplet: # FF0000
  • RGB code: (r, g, b) (255, 0, 0, 0)
  • HSV Code: (h, s, v) (0 °, 100%, 100%)

Red Objects or Things

The color of blood, a bird, a fabric, a fish, a shirt, a lighter, a button, a car, a window, a disc, a flash drive, a marble, a crayon, and many more.

Other Colors in ALPHAPEDIA

Other Topics of Interest in ALPHAPEDIA

Images and Drawings with the Color Red