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Seeing Red

Red Valentine envelopes

Red is an emotive colour, signifying a range of meanings from warmth and love to power or strength and even symbolising danger and anger. Whatever the chosen intending meaning, red is a powerful and visually striking colour, red makes a statement.  And with this multifaceted colour playing an important part this week with Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, we’re taking a closer look at all things red.

Chinese New Year

On 16th February 2018 the Chinese New Year will begin, celebrating the arrival of the Year of the Dog. Whilst other cultures may see red as a colour that indicates danger, in the Chinese culture red is regarded as a symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. With one of the most iconic acts during the celebrations being the giving of red envelopes containing money to families and employees. The money wrapped in red paper is “expected to bestow more happiness and blessings on the receiver” wishing those who receive the envelope another safe and peaceful year.

Valentine’s Day

The tradition of red and Valentine’s Day is synonymous with love. Sending love letters or cards in red envelopes or opting for traditional red roses. Red is all around us!

But when did the tradition of giving red roses begin?

Dating back to the 17th century, King Charles II of Sweden was exposed to a new art; the language of flowers. The introduction of communications through flowers as opposed to words created a number of different colour associations, with the red rose, unsurprisingly becoming the symbol of deep love that we recognise today.  Which is why February is adorned in everything red, from cards, flowers, teddy bears and the colour of packaging. 

Use in business

Think about fast cars, fast food chains and even some banks, many of the most recognised businesses feature the colour red in their branding, and it’s not hard to see why. Using a bright colour for a call to action has been proven to have a higher CTA conversion rate. According to research by Forbes, when humans see the colour red their reactions become faster and more forceful. Often seeing the colour red reduces analytical thinking and causes us to make impulsive, decisions, often reacting faster to certain situations. Whilst this may make you think twice next time you opt for that certain red branded double cheeseburger, using red to encourage buying decisions can be seen to have a positive effect.

There is no doubt that red is a vibrant punchy and powerful colour, being used to signify a variety of meanings, sometimes contradicting, but ultimately symbolising a powerful emotive connotation.

With the week that red can’t be avoided, why not consider the various responses red could provoke for your next campaign? Or perhaps attempt to understand the plethora of connotations any other colour you decide to use could have on the intended recipient.

To explore colour further take a look below and let us help you choose the right colour to do the job.

Choosing Colour
China Highlights
Reader's Digest