The psychology of the color red, what is its meaning, what associations does it have, and how does it influence us? If red is your favorite color or if you drive a red car what does it imply about you and your personality?
The color red is one of the three additive (Light) RGB and subtractive (Paint) RYB primary colors. On the visible spectrum red has a long wavelength of around 650 – 700 nm.
The Meaning of Red Color
Red is associated with passion, desire, energy and determination. It has connections to health and life. Red is an indicator of fruit being ripe.
Being red in the face suggests good blood circulation, therefore suggesting good health. Red is also a color which gains attention, and it can imply danger in the natural world.
Red is often shown in fiction as a color connected with evil. In many fictional stories, red is often used to visually enhance and exaggerate the appearance of evil characters, for example having red eyes.
Red is also often associated with femininity, it’s usually a more popular color choice by women. Women are actually better at detecting the color red. However some of the associations of red, such as ambition, determination, intimidation and strength are more associated with masculinity.
In China red is seen as the color of good luck, courage, success and generally has positive associations. Brides in China traditionally wear red. Many of these associations are generally true in other Asian countries. With the stock market in east Asian countries, red signifies stock prices going up, which is the opposite meaning to what is common in the western world.
In Russian culture, there are strong connections to the color red and beauty; it’s also associated with honor, and as a color that represents that which is good. In certain parts of Africa red is associated with those who have passed on, and generally connected to death.
Red as a personality is ambitious, attention seeking and out-going. Red is also energetic, attractive, promiscuous, thrill seeking, powerful and sometimes intimating.
Wearing Red or Owning a Red Car
It could suggest that somebody is extroverted, not shy and that they like attention and being noticed, possibly an attention seeker. It could also mean somebody wants to appear more attractive, and they care a great deal about their appearance. Displaying red maybe an expression of having high energy levels and being physically capable. Perhaps looking to intimidate others and they probably have a competitive nature. It would suggest a person places high value on expressing themselves.
An introverted, reserved and inward thinking person may choose a red car because it’s one of the most visible and safest colors for a car. This would suggest someone was practical and rational in their thinking with little interest in outside opinions.
Personality if Red is your Favorite Color
You have high levels of physical energy, you’re probably into fitness and sports and you take care of your body.
You have a strong desire to win and be the best, very competitive and ambitious.
You are a passionate person and sex is a very important part of your life.
You struggle with waiting for things, impatient, you want things instantly, you often give in to instant gratification.
You are often impulsive, often acting before thinking, relying heavily on your intuition and gut instincts.
You like to travel and explore the physical world, and you seek out physical experiences.
You have a short attention span, always looking for a new challenge. You like to be in control of things or people and you seek power over your life, or power in general.
You have a desire to be the center of attention, and you often get that attention because of your drive and energy which is attractive to people.
You can easily be angered and turn aggressive, this is a negative that can come from having high levels of physical energy and being impulsive.
Positive Traits & Influences
Being exposed to the color red is believed to cause increased heart rate and breathing which can naturally cause our energy levels to increase.
Red has strong connections to desire, lust and sexuality. When somebody is dressed in red they are often seen as more attractive.
There have been several studies looking into the possible effects of the different colors of sport team uniforms. The team that wore a red uniform had a psychological influence on the other team. This influence was intimidation due to the more aggressive appearance. While the influence was small, the psychologists and researchers seemed convinced that the team wearing red had a slight psychological advantage.
Because red is such a noticeable and powerful color, it can cause irritation and even anger and encourage seeking revenge for something. Combine this irritation and anger with increased energy levels and it can cause aggression.
Bright colors are often used as warnings, red is an attention grabber which makes people more alert. Certain animals also display red as a sign, warning others of danger and to stay away.
Further Reading About Red
Shades of Red
More shades of red with HEX and RGB color codes.
Dark Red – Less aggressive and energetic, more controlled and thoughtful. It also links to dignity, willpower, determination, courage and malice.
Light Red – Less serious, more playful, energetic, emotional, impulsive and sensitive.