With the debut of our new Valentine’s day gifts and flowers, you might notice a common theme: the color red. Red is the classic color for expressing love and passion, and is considered to be the most emotionally intense color. Perhaps because the heart is red or simply because the color red gets attention, gifts of love and flowers are almost always in shades of red. In fact, people have been giving each other red flowers to represent love and desire as far back as the Roman Empire.
A 2008 study of how color affects men’s attitudes towards women involved men looking at images of women wearing shirts of different colors. In all the experiments, women shown framed by or wearing red were rated significantly more attractive and sexually desirable by men than the exact same women shown with other colors. When wearing red, women were also more likely to be treated to a more expensive outing, so be sure to wear red on your next date, ladies!
Red also has other significant meanings, however, outside of love and romance. For instance, red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, and power. Red is such a powerful color that studies have shown that showing people the color red can actually stimulate a faster heartbeat and raise blood pressure. The color red has a very high visibility, which is why signs, stop lights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. Red also brings text and images to the foreground, and you’ll notice that many “Buy Now” or “Click Here” buttons are red.
In its representation of power, there is the red power tie worn by businessmen and other iconic figures such as Ronald Regan who was well known for it. You might have noticed that the tie Obama was wearing during the inauguration was also classic red. VIPs and celebrities are treated to the red carpet because of their perceived power and importance. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage, and as a result, it is a color found in many national flags.
Just some food for thought the next time you give or receive a red gift for Valentine’s Day!