When you work with a red color palette, you’re working with extremes.  From passionate love to dangerous liaisons, seductive overtures to anger or violent explosions, shades of red symbolize heartfelt passion, adventure and as well as a lack of control.

In the past, red colors were associated with fires, flames and blood.  The red color was associated with both life and danger.  Many of the associations we form with red in the present come from the associations our ancestors once made.

Red has both religious and heroic meanings.  Greek gods and deities were often heroic and their super-human acts were related to the color red.  Red is also the color of the crucifixion and the blood of Christ.  In times gone by, red was a very expensive color – and this may be why red is seen to have superhuman and even magical qualities.  In present times red is widely available.  Red dyes are made from crushed insects.

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Using a red color palette: the global meanings of red

  • Many people choose the red color as amongst their two favorite colors.
  • Red is a great symbol of nationalism, with 77% of flags made up of some red.
  • Internationally, stop signs and traffic lights use red.
  • Red is associated with sexuality and in every European city there is a red light district.
  • Historically, red was the first color to be introduced into language after black and white.

Why use the color red in your designs

muti_dribbble-800x600-1 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Red is an attention-grabbing color.  It is striking in appearance and is one of the most highly visible colors.  This is why stop signs, as well as fire engines, use red.  Yellow and orange are equally visible, but red is also associated with danger and stresses the importance of staying alert.

When we see red, our lenses literally pull forward.  We see red as having a great deal of movement which draws us in.  Perhaps this is why red grabs our attention so easily.

Meanings of the color red

2539 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

When you draw on the color red, you’ll be using a striking and very emotional color.  Red is passionate and alive, and symbolizes extreme emotions such as love and hate, Cupid and the devil.  The red color palette is warm and passionate, exciting and full of movement.  When we see red, our blood pressure rises, our libido increases and our metabolism increases.  The color red causes us to breathe faster.  Our confidence and our energy levels begin to increase.

Too much of the color red and we might become agitated.  When we see red, we lose our tempers, behave in an overbearing manner and partake in angry or demanding behaviors.  When there is too little red in our lives, we may be too cool and lethargic, sad, cautious or manipulative.  Green balances out red, creating a vibrant and relaxed atmosphere.  If your designs are overly passionate, add green.  To get rid of a lethargic or exhausted energy, add red.

When used to express passion, red becomes the color of love.  However, red is often far more representative of sexuality and lust.  Pink is used to represent love.

At its most positive, red symbolizes sexuality and a love of life.  When used negatively, red is an angry and even violent color which carries dangerous meaning.

The red color palette is often used in restaurants as it increases the metabolism.

Alternate meanings associated with red shades

  • Vibrant red colors are often combined with vivid greens to symbolize Christmas and the wonders and joys of the festive season.
  • Ruby red shades are symbolic of fortieth wedding anniversary and the gifts associated with this.
  • In present times, red is an inexpensive color. Country barns are often painted red as this paint was easy to acquire.

Shades of red

There are many different types of red.  Some are a deep red color such as brick, Venetian red, crimson, maroon, and burgundy, while other colors of red are lighter, such as rose madder.

Reds may be combined with a touch of orange, as in cinnabar, russet, or rust.  Other reds are pure in color, such as tomato, Indian red, blood red, scarlet, and flame.

Scarlet Color

scarlet-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #FF2400
RGB 255, 36, 0

Scarlet is a pure red color with a touch of orange.  Scarlet is often considered to be a pure red shade.  Perfectly balanced and deep in color, the scarlet color of red also contains a small tint of green.

Indian Red Color

indian-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #CD5C5C
RGB 205, 92, 92

Chilli Red Color

chillir-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #C21807
RGB 194,24,7

Fire Brick Color

fire-brick-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #B22222
RGB 178, 34, 34

Carmine Red Color

carmine-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #960018
RGB 150, 0, 24

Carmine-Red is a bright color red which is vivid, with a dominant red light.  It is close to a scarlet color.

Maroon Color

maroon-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #800000
RGB 128, 0, 0

Maroon is a red color which combines with a touch of black to create a deep red shade.  Although it looks like a deep red color, maroon is really a pure shade of red.  This is because it doesn’t have any blue or green light incorporated into the color red.

Redwood Color

redwood-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #A45A52
RGB 164, 90, 82

Desire Color

desire-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #EA3C53
RGB 234, 60, 83

Hibiscus Color

hibiscus-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #B43757
RGB 180,55,87

Cerise Color

cerise-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #D21F3C
RGB 210,31,60

Cerise is a bright red color given the French word for ‘cherry’.  We can, therefore, say that cerise is a cherry red color.  Cerise has also been used to describe other red shades such as blood, raspberries, rubies, and tomatoes.

Persian Red Color

persian-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #CA3433
RGB 202,52,51

USA Flag Color

usa-flagcolor-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #BF0A30
RGB 191,10,48

Mahogany Color

mahogany-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #420d09
RGB 66,13,9

Barn Red Color

barn-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #7C0A02
RGB 124, 10, 2

Ruby Red Color

ruby-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #E0115F
RGB 224, 17, 95

Vermilion Red Color

vermilion-color-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #7E191B
RGB 126,25,27

Candy Apple Color

candy-apple-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #FF0800
RGB 255, 8, 0

Ferrari Red Color

ferrari-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #FF2800
RGB 255,40,0

Crimson Color

crimson-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #B80F0A
RGB 184,15,10

‘Crimson’ is a deep, blood red color which is associated with wine, sunsets and even blushing.

Sangria Color

sangria-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #5E1914
RGB 94,25,20

Burgundy Color

burgundy-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #8D021F
RGB 141,2,31

Have you ever wondered about the difference between burgundy vs maroon?  Both are deep, wine red colors.  However, while maroon red shades are pure shades mixed with black, burgundy has a tinge or purple, making it one of the warmer shades of red.

Rust Color

rust-red-shade Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Hex #933A16
RGB 147,58,22

Using a red color palette in graphic design

Hatchery Branding System

hatchery Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Fun & Games pt. II

game_gallery_dribbble_chess_checkers Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Tokyo Travelers Identity

japanblog_dribbble Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Pixel Slayer

pixel-slayer Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Leading The Way Annual Report

ltw-ar2017-frontlines Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Explorers Club: Mesa

mesa_1 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Warped – Identity Preview 01

Warped_detail1 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

SXSW’s Flatstock 59 in Austin, TX

28 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

NXNE Opening Party Poster

drib172 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

I-5K Poster Series

poster-mockup-2_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Examples of a red color palette in web design

Dipsea

dipsea Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Shape

Shape Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Gilk

gilk Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Rawww

rawww Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Pigeon

pigeon Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Measure that matters

measure Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Elium

elium Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Mindset

mindset Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Bodymovin Solutions

bodymovin Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Pulse

pulse Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Taab

taab Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

HiringPlan

hiringplan Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

WFA

wfa Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Trunk

trunk Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Iconspace

iconspace Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Jackie

Jackie Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Showcase of a red color palette in UI design

Hotjar Mobile App Concept

hotjar_mobile_copy Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Travel App UI Design

travel_app_ui_design_tubik Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Entertainment App

tubik_studio_app_concept Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Uniqlo E-Commerce App Exploration

dribbble_fashion Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

UX/UI iOS application

black_matte_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

The wine shop app

wine-shop Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Tasks Statistics Screens

iphone_template_2 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Cooking APP

Cooking-APP Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Agenda Mobile Application

agenda_shot_1x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Cool Chat APP

9-2 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Bike Community App

shot_2 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Fitamin Modals

modals1_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Health App

dribbbble2 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Music App

1200_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Dignity of Children

doc_2x_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Men’s Fashion iOS App Concept

men_s_fashipn_ios_app_concept-1 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Today’s Schedule

schedule_2x Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Make Steak Application

shot_2-1 Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Express Tracking App Design

daily_ui-day_019- Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Card App | iOS

dribble Using a red color palette and the various shades of red

Ending thoughts on the different shades of red

Red is a warm and passionate color which symbolizes both visual and emotional intensity.  Red is the color of love, passion, violence, and adventure.

Different shades have different meanings.  As you can see from the gorgeous names given to shades of red, the red color remains a firm favorite amongst viewers.

Used in your designs, you can use reds to create vibrant or sophisticated touches to your designs.  By drawing on the different red shades, you will be able to create visual designs which are interesting and alive.