Psychology of Colour – Red

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psychology of colour red

Red has a physiological effect on us.  It stimulates and raises blood pressure.  It’s warm overtone makes it the most noticeable colour which is why it’s used to alert us – stop signs and traffic lights are two such examples.

Because of its stimulating effect it makes time to appear to go faster.

It’s the colour of attraction.  In fact, men will spend more money on a date with a woman who is wearing red.

It’s positive assocaations include power, passion and love, but it can be seen as aggressive and arrogant if used in too larger quantities.

Because of it’s association with the fight or flight response and the marking of exams with red pen, seeing red before a test will hinder performance.

One study found that tae kwando athletes are more likely to win olympic medals if they are wearing red uniforms over blue.  This is because red captures attention, thus the athletes in red get more attention from the judge, each move is more noticeable and scored more highly.

Did you know that in Russia, the word for red means beautiful!

Culturally red is the colour of luck. If you visit an Asian friend, take a present wrapped in red paper.

Red is a great colour to wear in a business meeting if you need to be the focus of the conversation, or if you are more introverted and want to ensure that your opinion is asked.  It’s also a skin enhancer and is fantastic at making you look healthy, particularly if you are very fair.  It draws attention, so don’t wear red if you are wanting to be an observer.

Red can appear arrogant in large quantities, so ensure that you balance it out with neutrals.

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3 Comments

  • It’s interesting what you say as, in the days when I worked in an office, I would wear red if I had to be assertive at an important meeting, for example, and my colleagues would comment “Watch out! Sue’s wearing red today!”

  • Fantastic Info. Thank you Imogen.
    Never thought about traffic signals, and never knew about time going faster (??), spending more money on a date wearing red, aggression in too large quantities, no red before a test, etc. Amazing colour insights. Somewhere I learned NOT to wear red at a job interview (perceived as too powerful, too quickly), but YES to wearing red when asking the boss for a raise. ha ha ha!

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