What Color Represents Strength? (Red)

what color represents strength

Red is the color of strength and courage. Because it is the color of blood, it represents the flowing of life through one’s body, giving it power, energy, and vitality.

As blood flows through the heart, red is also associated with different feelings such as love, passion, and anger.  However, in certain situations, it can be taken as a sign of danger.

In Eastern cultures, it signifies wealth and good luck. Thus, it is commonly seen in huge celebrations such as birthdays, weddings, and New Year.

Red as the Color of Strength

In the psychology of color, red evokes the strongest reaction from people. It has the ability to draw the eye and grab attention.  Because it has the longest wavelength, red is also most visible to the naked eye from longer distances.

According to research, long exposure to this shade can actually cause physiological reactions in the body. This includes a rise in blood pressure, heartbeat, and breathing, as well as changes in the body’s metabolism.

Evidence also points to its effect in increasing one’s appetite and energy levels.

Red is the first color we see

Red is actually the first color that humans see. While babies are still developing their senses after they are born, they only see the world in black and white. As the body grows and develops after birth, a baby eventually starts seeing colors, and the first shade that appears is red.  It is the same experience for people who recover from trauma-induced color blindness.

It signifies power and confidence

In a business setting, wearing something in red is a subtle indication of power and confidence. That is why it is a popular choice for suits and other accessories.

For example, men who wear red ties, also called “power ties”, are perceived as more dominant and assertive. The red color is very eye-catching and can effectively bring attention to a person even when in the middle of a crowd.

joe biden
Image: Men often wear red ties to project power

People who wear red create better impressions on others

There is also a phenomenon called the “red effect”, where people wearing red are seen as more attractive, according to studies. Whether as a full attire or just as accents, having anything red on their bodies improves their appearance and helps them make better impressions on others.

Red helps in memory retention

Red is believed to enhance memory retention as it helps people pay more attention to detail. This is why the color is commonly seen in the educational setting, such as marking papers or writing announcements in bulletin boards.

The Color of Strength in Language and Literature

Red has been referenced in books, stories, as well as movies, as the color of strength.

As an engaging and attractive color, it serves to highlight specific parts of a story setting or a character. It also influences audience’s perception of a specific persona, like a superhero.

Characters in some stories are strongly associated with the color, such as in “Red Riding Hood” and “Snow White and the red shoes”, as well as Dorothy’s ruby red slippers in the movie adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz”. Many popular superhero characters also wear red gear, such as Superman, Spiderman, and Iron Man.

superman cape
Image: Superman’s cape is red

The color red appears in many idioms in the English language:

  • Caught red-handed means being guilty, or having been seen doing something wrong or illegal
  • Seeing red refers to a state of extreme anger or aggression
  • Red hot points to an item that many people are fighting over to possess, or an event that everybody wants to attend
  • Red light is a signal to stop, not just in traffic, but also in a certain situation
  • Red flags signify a dangerous situation. It can also mean seeing signs of unhealthy behavior in a person
  • Flushed red describes a person in a state of embarrassment
  • Red eye is a long flight that usually takes overnight to complete
  • Red Carpet Treatment means showing extreme care and importance to an individual as if they were royalty
  • Red as a lobster describes someone who was exposed too long under the sun and got their skin burnt
  • Red tape refer to rules or processes that are considered to be too tedious and rigid, often causing unnecessary delays in results
  • Red herring is a tricky situation or information that causes distraction, or leads people to a wrong conclusion
  • Out of the red means recovering from financial problems like a debt or bankruptcy
  • Red alert refers to an emergency situation
  • Red letter day describes a special day that is worth noting and remembering

Significance Of Strong Red Colors

From primitive times until the present, red has been taken as a warning or as a means of protection. It was also used to express strength and dominance in order to intimidate enemies.

The red color has the ability to affect people. It can express intense sentiments and influence a reaction, such as anger and passion.  It can also guide decisions, which is why it is used in traffic lights, flags, and even as a trigger for bulls.

Red In Ancient Times

The color has appeared in ancient relics, proving its significance even as early as 40,000 years ago. Traces found of hunters from the Stone Age have depicted them with body paint made from red clay. Drawings made with red ochre have been found on cave walls that people lived in during the Paleolithic era.

Graves dating from the Stone Ages have contained evidences of red powder, which was believed to drive out evil spirits and prevent them from disturbing the dead. In ancient China, red is associated with the element of fire, which stands for leadership, aggression, and power, and was therefore the color of choice for royals.

Red In The Rainbow

rainbow

Red is also the first color of the rainbow that is visible to the naked eye.

Rainbows are optical illusions that result when light is refracted, such as when light hits the water, which is why rainbows usually appear when it drizzles while the sun is up.

Light, which normally appears colorless, would show its colors when it is refracted, and the colors that appear would depend on their wavelength. As the color with the longest wavelength at 650 nanometers, it is the first to show and is also the most vivid when viewed directly.

Red In Modern Times

Today, red is commonly used in sports, politics, and national symbols to indicate power and prestige. It is also the designated shade to express passion and love, because the heart and the blood are both red.

In many East Asian cultures, such as China, Korea, and India, the color represents good fortune. While for Christians, red represents the blood of Christ and the sacrifice he made of giving up his life to save mankind.

Red is also the color of choice to indicate danger, such as the stop signal in traffic lights and warning signs for different purposes.  This is because, as the color with the longest wavelength, it is more visible to people even from afar.

stop sign
Image: Stop signs are red to signify potential danger

Conclusion

Red represents strength, dominance, and vigor because the color itself is bold and eye-catching. Aside from this, it can also evoke intense emotions and influence behavior.

However, there are several contrasting associations for the color, such as anger and passion, love and hate, or confidence and embarrassment.  Make sure to use the color in the proper context so as not to cause misunderstanding, or get caught in a compromising situation.

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