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Meaning of the Color Red: Symbolism, Common Uses, & More

Red is the color of action, passion, and aggression

Today’s article is about the symbolism and meaning of the color red which is part of the Color Meaning Series.

If you want to learn about other hues, you might want to read the meaning of the colors.

Summary of the meanings of the color red
Color red meanings

Red is never boring.

As one would expect, the meanings of the color red are as dramatic as this color demands them to be.

It is a color of action and determination. Red is all about strength and physical needs, but it also is aggressive and dominant.

In this article, we will talk about the symbolism of red, its meaning, most common uses, company logos, chakra, gemstone, facts, quotes, and idioms. But first, let’s dive into the symbolism of red.

Red Color Symbolism in Different Cultures

  • In China, red means luck and prosperity.
  • In east Asian stock markets, red is used to denote a rise in stock prices.
  • In Japan, red symbolizes happiness and good luck, which is why brides wear red kimono on their wedding day.
  • In India, red represents good fortune, wellbeing, love, and purity. Brides also wear red on the wedding day.
  • In Brazil, red is considered the color of passion.
  • In Russia, the color red is obviously with communism.
  • In Greek mythology, the red rose was a symbol of the cycle of growth and decay, but also for love and affinity.
  • In the United States, red together with white and blue means patriotism and pride in the country.
  • In South Africa, red is considered a mourning color.
  • In Western countries, the combination of red and green symbolizes Christmas.
Red Christmas decoration

What Does the Color Red Mean in the Bible?

Colors are used throughout the Bible to convey messages or spiritual truths.

For instance, red is one of the most powerful colors in the Bible as it means life, blood, sin, flesh, and earthiness. It can also mean bloodshed, war, power, and wealth.

Psychological Meaning of Red

The color red is rich not only in its meanings but also in its history.

Considered the color of life, victory, but also evil and destruction in Ancient Egypt, the color red invoked the protective power of the blood of Isis.

Still, red can actually be traced way back to that period.
Red represented war back then because of its associations with fire and blood.

Red, together with purple, was a color reserved for the nobles as their manufacturing required an expensive process.

And today, most of our red’s symbolism comes from those powerful associations from the past.

Indian bride wearing red
Indian bride wearing red

For instance, it would be unthinkable to get married wearing red in most Western countries.

However, it is widespread in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, South Sudan, and many areas of China for the bride to wear a red dress and sometimes even red bracelets on the wedding day.

The reason for that, as we will see below, is that the red color is heavily associated with good luck and fortune.

Color Red Meaning

Red, the impulsive lover.

It’s an emotional color that commands attention and demands us consider our physical needs and will to survive.

As the first color of the rainbow, red is the pioneering spirit with leadership qualities.

The color red is more than romantic love, which is often expressed by pink, but it is lust and sexuality. It’s the color of the lovers.

If you think about it, most of the images that represent passionate love are in some shade of red: heart candy boxes for Valentine’s Day, red lipstick, red roses, red lingerie, and even the Red Light District.

Red is either the cupid and the devil.

Studies have found that men find women wearing red more attractive and are even willing to spend more money on a woman wearing red.[1]

For these reasons, it’s not surprising that red is the color of life and love. It stimulates deeper and intimate passion in us, however, it can also represent anger and revenge.

Woman wearing red is a symbol of sexuality, one of the meanings of the color red

Red is a color that gives energy and calls for action.

According to the Ohio State University, red focuses behind the retina, which forces the lens of your eye to become more convex to pull it forward; therefore, we perceive red areas, such as text and images, as if they were moving to the foreground.[2]

It also draws our attention like no other color, and because of that, the world of web design uses it for “buy now” and “click here” buttons.

Put simply, a red accent on a neutral background draws attention to a single element stimulating people to make quick decisions.

Still, red can signal a whole host of different ideas, depending on the specific shade.

Red is also an aggressive persona. It is often linked to sports due to its energetic and proactive character.

For that reason, the overuse of red can cause the person to feel irritated and stressed out.

Studies have found the sporters wearing a red jersey in combat sports had a bigger chance of winning than those wearing a blue jersey. Red makes the person more aggressive and confident at the same time.[3]

Red attention sign

Every color of the spectrum has positive and negative traits.

On the bright side, the color red means desire, energy, vitality, action, and power.

As a warm color, red is stimulating, exciting, and strong-willed. It symbolizes importance and superiority. An excellent example of it is the red carpet at awards.

Red also gives confidence to those who are shy or lack willpower.

On the other side, red means aggression, dominance, danger, and impulsiveness.

Because red is such an emotionally intense color, it can be overwhelming, so it’s advised to be used with moderation.

When overused, red can cause us to become agitated and ultimately angry.

It’s a color with high visibility and is often used to indicate danger, for instance in stop signs, fire equipment, and dangerous high voltage areas. Red trickers alertness. That’s why the color red is associated with danger.

Physical Effects of Red

  • Temporarily raises blood rate – Researchers from the UK and Australia have proved that, which is why some people who have anemia use it in color therapy sessions.[4]
  • Increases appetite – Red speeds up metabolism, increasing your hunger.
  • Stimulates to taking action and to acting quickly – Red trickers alertness and it draws our attention like no other color.

Personality Color Red

Lovers of red are passionate with an enthusiasm for life. Do you have many red things at home? If red is your favorite color, it will reflect your personality, we call it the personality color red.

Meanings of Red Shades

As said before, different shades of red can convey different messages.

Pastel red: This shade of red is light and represents joy, romance, sensitiveness, and love.

  • Pastel red hex code: #FF6961

Red: The pure red represents intense emotions, an energetic soul, ranging from danger, sacrifice, and anger through passion, love, and sexuality.

  • Red hex code: #FF0000

Dark red: Intense and powerful, dark red is the thoughtful action, sophistication, vigor, seriousness, and responsibility.

  • Dark red hex code: #8B0000

More Shades of Red

Shades of red
Shades of red

Beyond the ones mentioned above, there are many shades of red, such as maroon, burgundy, scarlet, crimson, carmine, vermilion, ruby, currant, blush, candy, berry, blood, sangria, lipstick, merlot, cherry, wine, mahogany, rouge, brick, Venetian red, and tomato.

Most Common Uses of Red

  • Red is one of the most used colors in front doors, carpets, old books, and barns.
  • About 70% of all national flags have red.
  • Approximately 30% of the top 100 world’s most valuable brands use red in their logo.

Companies and Brands That Use Red in Their Logo

In the branding world, red is often used to promote games, cars, sport-related products, and energy drinks.

Red logos
Companies and brands that have red logos

Red Chakra

The seven chakras are the main energy centers of the human body. Each of the chakras is represented by a color, which governs specific functions.

The root chakra, also known as Muladhara chakra, is located at the base of the spine and connects us to the universe’s energies, giving us confidence in our ability to withstand challenges.

Well, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the root chakra is represented by the color red—that is the red chakra.

Red Gemstone

Red gemstones are believed to boost energy, give courage, life force, determination, and protect from anxiety.

Facts About Red

  • Red has the longest wavelengths of all colors of the spectrum
  • The color red is among the top 4 favorite colors
  • Medal’s cords are usually red or red and blue to symbolize achievement and victory
  • Areas where prostitutes work are often called red-light districts
  • About 8% of the male population has a red/green color blindness [5]
  • In Russian, the word for red was used in the past to describe something beautiful
  • Red stimulates appetite and therefore it’s often used in restaurants
  • Barns are painted red because it was the cheapest paint back in the days

Quotes About Red

Below are some of our favorite quotes about red, but you can find many others on this link above.

Red is such an interesting color to correlate with emotion because it’s on both ends of the spectrum. On one end, you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, jealousy, anger, fear, and frustration.

Taylor Swift
Quote about red

Nothing attracts more attention like a red dress.

Laura Bush
Quote about red

There is a shade of red for every woman.

Audrey Hepburn
Quote about red

When in doubt, wear red.

Bill Blass
Quote about red

In my mind, I see all of my passionate memories in bright, burning red.

Taylor Swift
Quote about red

Popular Idioms That Use the Word Red

  • In the red: To owe money to someone or the bank.
  • Red herring: A misleading piece of information.
  • Paint the town red: To go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly.
  • Seeing red: To become very angry.
  • Red-eye: A flight taken at night where the passenger doesn’t expect to get much sleep.
  • Red carpet treatment: To treat someone as if she/he is unique and important.
  • Raise a red flag: To alert as to potential danger or trouble ahead.

Summary Color Red Meaning

Red is an emotionally intense color that demands attention like no other color.

It is stimulating, energetic, and enhances our physical needs, but it is also a dramatic color.

The color red instills anger, aggressivity, dominance, and even impulsiveness.

Because red is such an emotionally intense color, it can be overwhelming when overused.

It’s a color with high visibility that trickers alertness and is often used to indicate danger.

Red means: action, energy, passion, power
Effects of red: draws attention, cautions, stimulates, provokes
Positive traits: vitality, sexuality, excitement, confidence
Negative traits: dangerous, aggressive, impulsive, dominant