The Color Red in Design: More Than Cupid’s Color

Red is in the air

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us — you know the drill of red wine, red hearts, and red roses. Red is in the air this month, but in the branding calendar it pulls its weight all year round. This month, remember that red is more than the color of love. It’s also an economic powerhouse. Here’s why the color red in design is more than Cupid’s color.

heritage-red-velvet-cakecoke bottleruby slippers

Want Fries With That? Sure!

In the country of red, white, and blue, one color matters most when it comes to dining out. Red. It is the color of our fast food nation and a proven powerhouse for branding quick and cheap eats. When paired with yellow, it’s a proven winner.

Not only is red the best way to get noticed, but it has also been shown to increase hunger.

Red grabs attention, raises your heart rate, and indicates warmth.

It’s the perfect formula when you want customers to supersize. Look at almost any food logos and see how the color red is usually used in the design.


red logos in fast food

 Red States, Blue States

First Ladies get most of the spotlight, but red also plays an important role in Presidential fashion — particularly, in the all-important  TV accessory: the power tie. Since the first televised debate in color, a candidate has chosen to wear a red tie 30 times, or 68% of the time. Blue was chosen only 7 times (16%), and a tie that was both colors or neither slotted in at 7 times.

This year, President Obama wore a blue tie in his disastrous first debate, and a red one for his much improved second performance. Maybe it was about the tie all along. Obama also wore a red tie for his historic first Inauguration — this time around, he went with blue.

. george bushobama in red tie

Red at the Movies

Dorothy’s shoes were originally silver, but changed to red for the film. Scarlett O’Hara was Hollywood’s first “Scarlet Woman” depicted in that infamous red dress. At least, in the technicolor world.  Ever since, it’s become the uniform of the Hollywood siren. The lady in red promises sexual availability and an escape from the doldrums of reality. She offers excitement, but also danger — just think of the Queen of Hearts’ “off-with-their heads” hysteria. Red sirens are the objects of male desire and exist mainly to be lusted after, often provoking eye rolls from the women in the audience.

Last week we showed you trends in movie posters, and here’s one more: the red dress rules.
red dresses in movie posters


If you have any more doubts about red’s star power this Valentine’s Day, consider Hollywood’s number one couple: Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed to the nines in red. As Disney’s top dogs (er, mice), they’re now the bosses of Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. Now that’s a power couple.