11 Colours: Red

Colour is really really important in design. There are only 11 basic colour terms although there are MILLIONS of colours so it’s essential to spend some time looking at your colours and making sure that they create the right impression for your business. Here is the fourth instalment in the 11 colours series. 

This time it’s all about red.

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Red has never really been one of my favourite colours. I don’t mind it in moderation, but I’m just not a big fan. I would never buy a red car. I would never paint my front door red. I would paint over a red wall.

However, it’s a GREAT colour!

Red is a very strong colour because it’s the longest wavelength in the spectrum. We see red as being nearer than it is, which is why it’s used to represent STOP on traffic lights. Because it grabs our attention and we notice it. How good is that?

When you see red, epinephrine is released into your body which causes your blood pressure to rise, as well as your heartbeat and your pulse and you breathe more rapidly.  This makes is a very exciting, passionate and impulsive colour that really encourages you to take action – maybe you buy something impulsively or make a quick decision? It’s great for grabbing your attention and making you take note of important points. Maybe this is why teachers mark in red?

Red is a very positive colour, it’s happy and enthusiastic, warm and passionate, strong and friendly – and conversely, also associated with war, anger and danger! It’s about cravings – lust or just being hungry! It’s an impulsive colour – great for sports brands, competitions, fast food outlets and enterprise. Red is a great colour to give you confidence in situations where you really need it! You wouldn’t use much red in places where you need people to stay calm – waiting rooms, therapy rooms or spas for example, but if there’s no red at all then people can become afraid, manipulative and nervous.

Red can be associated with wealth and luxury – for example, “receiving the red carpet treatment” it’s a very powerful colour. Deeper burgundy reds would be best suited to this, being more authoritative and refined.

Lighter reds – almost pink (another colour we’ll be covering) are more youthful and feminine. You could use these in your business to attract more women to interact with you.

You could consider using red in your business to attract attention to the key things you want people to notice and encourage them to be decisive and buy now. You’ll need a nice bright attention-grabbing notice-me shade of red for this.

There are so many shades of red that if you are thinking of using it you definitely need to spend time selecting the right shade – and the right colours to go with it. For example, mixing it with a bit of orange makes a brighter more lively shade of red, some blue creates determination, more purple and it’s about power, ambition and wealth.

Do you have red in your branding? Should you? Please let me know in the comments.

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