It’s Not Just Rudolph’s Nose That’s Red

So we’ve discussed the basics of color theory as it relates to the color red, and we’ve shown you red logos and websites. But how does red fit in with regards to the rest of the design world, such as packaging and printed pieces? How can different shades of the same color communicate such a multitude of meanings? Wikipedia has 47 pages dedicated to different shades of red, and with this sheer variety, it is bound that different colors will have slightly different psychological associations. Let’s take a look at some other uses of the color red and reflect on the color psychology behind these designs.

Bright Red

Bright red has been a popular color throughout history, and although there are many variations in hue, they all convey power and strength. Bright red is very effective for creating a memorable impression. It makes sense that many red designs are about passionate subjects (politics, love, health), and bright red also has a timeless quality that makes it perfect for creating a classic brand.

Dark Red

Whether it’s maroon or burgundy, dark red can be an elegant alternative to brighter shades. It is often used for food and restaurant designs, as it still promotes appetite without being too aggressive. Dark red can have also have a more serious tone and can make for visually striking posters and packaging, and it is associated with courage and leadership.

Light Red

Light red is a color that has been gaining popularity recently. It is a softer alternative that can have a warm vintage feel, making it both trendy and trustworthy. Light red is associated with joy, sensitivity, and love.

Are you seeing red?

It’s interesting to note how the mood of each design changes based on which shade is used. For those who are afraid to embrace the boldest shades, lighter and darker versions might provide a more subtle alternative. Viva la red!

This is third and last in a series of posts about color theory and design inspiration.

Stay tuned for posts on the next color in the spectrum: orange!

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