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The Psychology of Color

Many of us don’t realize how brand colors impact a viewer’s visual senses and emotional feelings. Since we’re in the holiday season, lets examine the color RED. Like all colors, red has both positive and negative connotations. Either way, it’s designed to attract your attention.

Why red’s hot. It’s deemed the warmest of all colors. Red is energetic, powerful, exciting, and aggressive. It suggests confidence, courage, and strength. Extroverts love it. Red is passionate, intense, and stimulates desire. (February 14 comes to mind.) In China, red is a good luck color and represents happiness and prosperity.

What it says about you. If you like red, then you’re probably outgoing (or aspire to be). You’re ambitious, restless, and possibly unaware of your own shortcomings. You have a zest for life, but are likely impulsive. Your cup is always half full and you become bored easily—which means you’ve probably stopped reading this by now.

So what’s not to like about red? It can mean danger—think fire trucks and stop signs—or it can be used to represent anger and violence. “In the red,” “red herring,” or just plain “red flag” all have negative meanings in our society. The devil is rendered in red (but then, so is cupid) and, depending on where you live, it may mean you’re a communist. Red roses may be beautiful, but they also have thorns which, if you’re not careful…

Who’s seeing red? It’s not the most favorite color of either men or women, ranking about third or fourth for both genders. Familiar consumer brands that roll out the red carpet are Coca Cola, Target, Knoll, Nintendo, Colgate, Jack in the Box, Ferrari, and Texaco. And while there’s lots of reds in the Pantone color guide, I’ve always felt PMS 185 was the reddest of reds.



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