Red – Energetic and Extroverted
One of the things people remember first about a brand is it’s colour choices. In this series of articles, we’ll be looking at what each colour says about a brand, how it makes people react and what message it sends. This article looks at the colour red and the brand messages it promotes.
Red is a primary colour and is a warm colour. Warm colours are seen as exciting and hot, often being associated with fire and the sun.
Red is the colour of passion and excitement. It is a dynamic colour and as such it demands attention. As it is so bold, it is the colour of those with energy, passion and sometimes aggression. It is often associated with those who strive for success.
Red is an attention grabber, often in a bold and loud manner. Due to this, it is often used as an accent to draw attention – keen use of a red accent can help focus attention on important elements of a design. In addition to this, it is seen as a stimulant and can even get hearts racing and blood pumping when used correctly.
These brands are youthful and bold, they use red as their main colour to elicit excitement in their audience. As a result, most of these brands tend to be lifestyle based.
Perhaps the most famous brand of all, Coca-Cola has used red as their main brand colour to promote stimulation and energising the body – a common theme amongst food and drinks companies. The colour triggers the appetite and therefore sells the product. Despite the brand’s age, it is a youthful colour and much of their marketing is pointed toward those seeking fun and excitement.
Another famous example, Nintendo sells excitement through their bold logo. Red is often seen as a masculine colour, associated with primal needs and survival instincts. This choice for Nintendo underlines the excitement of their products and their original target market was mainly male. Though this has changed in recent times, the bright, simple logo still evokes the confidence and desire that help sell the brand.
Red is a colour that loves to draw attention to itself. This makes it ideal for brands with a lot of differing products, like Virgin. It tends to be used to communicate passion and needs, often being associated with lust. As a result of using this colour, Virgin promote themselves as a lifestyle choice – something people need in their lives. By marketing themselves as a ‘sexy’ choice, they create feelings of passion and lust in their client base.
Tips for using Red
As with any colours, it is important to understand what your brand message is and whether your colour choices complement this. Reds are great for adding a lot of excitement and to grab attention quickly. Red is also surprisingly versatile. Dark red is seen as luxurious and commanding but brighter shades are exciting, energetic and economical. Burgundy is a sophisticated shade while crimson is courageous. It is important to understand exactly what shade you are using as the message needs to be clear with such an attention grabbing colour.
Beware the negative emotions that red can convey and try to avoid these messages. The most prominent negative feeling that red portrays is aggression but intolerance and fear are also associated with it. As a result, this can push people away from your key message if used incorrectly.
It is also worth knowing that red can mean different things in different parts of the world. For example, red is used in China to represent good luck and fortune. As a result, brands like HSBC use red due to their standings in China, despite blue and green being more usual choices for banks.
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