A Writers Guide to Red


Red is hot. Red is fierce. Red is passion, love, violence, and hate. Studies have shown that the color red causes a physical response in the body increasing respiration, raising blood pressure, and intensifying emotions.

Red is used to stimulate the body and mind as well as to increase circulation in chromotherapy.

Red is the color between orange and violet. In color theory, red is one of the three primary colors. It’s complementary color is green.

pinkPink is a pale red color. Pink is compassion, delicate, flirty, and lighthearted. Studies have shown that pink has a calming effect on the nerves, and that it creates physical weakness in people. Pink makes us crave sugar. In chromotherapy, pink is used to heal grief and sadness, and to restore youthfulness.


  • Fear of red: erythrophobia / erytophobia / ereuthophobia / phodophobia
  • Fear of pink: rhodophobia


  • Red
    • Red symbolizes lust, pain, blood, and anger as well as courage and sacrifice.
    • Red is used to warn people of danger or to stop people from continuing forward.
    • In China, red is associated with loyalty, honor, success, fortune, fertility, happiness, and passion. Brides wear red for good luck.
    • In ancient Egypt, red was the color of life and victory.
    • For the ancient Greeks, red was the color of the Greek gods of war, Phoebus and Ares.
    • In parts of Africa, red is a color of mourning and represents death.
    • In Confucianism, red is the color of happiness and power.
    • In medieval Europe, red symbolized passion.
    • In Christianity, red represents the sin of wrath.
    • Red foreshadows or adds emphasis to a scene: power, lust, defiance, anxiety, anger, and/or romance.
  • Pink
    • Pink symbolizes hope, innocence, and naiveté.
    • Pink symbolizes charm, sensitivity, tenderness, and romance.
    • Pink symbolizes unconditional love, nurturing and femininity.
Northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Superstitions and Beliefs

  • Red
    • It is good luck to see a red bird.
    • To find a red string, ribbon, or cloth with bring good fortune and success in love.
    • Red coral wards of the evil eye.
    • Wearing red coral beads ensures a restful night.
    • Wearing a red ruby ring on your left hand is supposed to bring good fortune.
    • During the Chinese New Year, the Chinese wear red clothing and decorating the house with red. to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.
    • Redheads have hot tempers and wild personalities.
    • In Thailand, red is the color of Sunday. It is good luck to wear red on Sunday. It is unlucky on Mondays.
    • American Indians associate red face paint with faith, beauty and happiness; and red war paint with blood, violence, and energy.
    • Red represents the first (root) chakra.
    • Red roses mean, “I love you”. They represent romance and love.
      • Deep pink roses mean thank you.
      • Regular pink roses mean happiness.
      • Light pink roses mean sympathy.
  • Pink
    • In Thailand, pink is the color of Tuesday. It is good luck to wear pink on Tuesdays. Pink is unlucky on Wednesday during the day.

Red History

  • The ancient Romans used a red flag to signal battle.
  • When the Bolsheviks overthrew the tsar (1917) they used a red flag as their symbol.
  • In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the color of clothing showed a person’s social rank and profession. Red could only be worn by the nobility.
  • In Greece, Easter eggs are dyed red for good luck.
  • In Jamaica, red is a slang term for someone who is high or drunk.
  • In heraldry, red (gules) signifies magnanimity, military strength, warrior and martyr.
  • In heraldry, maroon or blood red (sanguine / murray) signifies fortitude and victory.
Mamie Eisenhower in her inaugural gown.

Mamie Eisenhower in her inaugural gown.

Pink History

  • The word pink didn’t come in to use until the 17th century. Before that rosy was most often used. The word pink or pinke was also used to describe a yellowish pigment.
  • During the Rococo Period (1720–1777), pastels, and in particular pink, became highly fashionable in all the courts of Europe.
  • Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764) often wore combinations of pale blue and pink. She even had a special pink created for her.
  • In 19th century England, children wore white clothing as dye was expensive. Young boys wore pink ribbons or decorations. Since men wore red, and boys were small men they wore pink.
  • During Nazi Germany, inmates accused of homosexuality were marked by pink triangles.
  • Pink was considered a masculine color due to its relationship to red before WWII. After the war, women who’d worked in the factories wore blue wanted a change in color. Mamie Eisenhower is often credited with popularizing pink for women. She word a pink gown to the US presidential inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Mamie loved pink and wore if often, she even had her private quarters in the White House in done in pink.

Pigments & Dyes

  • The oldest pigment was red ochre which was used in cave art.
  • The ancient world used red madder lake, and vermilion (natural mineral cinnabar).
  • Carmine red is produced from cochineal, tiny insects found in South America and Mexico.
  • For pink, the pigment most commonly used light cinabrese, a mixture of the red sinopia or Venetian red with white Bianco San Genovese or lime white.

Phrases and Sayings

  • a red letter day – a day of importance or significance
  • caught red-handed – caught doing something wrong
  • in the red – being overdrawn at the bank or losing money
  • paint the town red – to celebrate and party
  • red-blooded – someone who is bold and robust
  • red carpet treatment and to roll out the red carpet – to treat someone like a celebrity
  • red-faced – embarrassed
  • red flag – denotes danger, warning, or an impending battle
  • red herring – something that deceives or distracts from the truth
  • seeing red – to be intensely angry
  • in the pink – in very good health and spirits
  • pink collar – of or relating to work traditionally associated with women, considered derogatory
  • pink money / pink pound – the purchasing power of the gay community, often with respect to political donations
  • pinko – a person with left-wing or liberal views
  • pink slip – a notice of dismissal from employment, it is also a car title (document showing ownership to the car) US
  • seeing pink elephants – to hallucinate from drinking too much
  • tickled pink – delighted

Meanings of Shades and Tints of Red

  • Pink: first love, emotional love, friendship, feminine qualities, passiveness
  • Dark red: vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath

Words for Red

Medium Reds
Dark Reds
barn red
Bright Reds
poppy red
poppy red
Venetian red

black bullet line
Words for Pink

Light Pinks
piggy pink
Medium Pinks
carnation pink
cotton candy
Pepto Bismal
Dark Pinks

black bullet line
Red and You

Are you wearing red right now?
You feel energetic and ambitious today. You are quite extroverted and courageous.
Are you wearing pink?
You are in an affectionate, loving mood. You are very empathic and understanding today.
Are you wearing maroon?
You are fun-loving.

Look in your closet. Is red a predominate color in your wardrobe?
You are impulsive and energetic. You are ambitious and strive for the best in everything. You like to be the center of attention and are sometimes insensitive.
Is it pink?
You are very affectionate but may lack willpower. You need the support of others.

Do you just dislike the color red?
You have been rejected and feel defeated or perhaps suffer from a physical illness.
Is it pink?
You need to reconcile with your mother or father.

Do you drive a red car?
You are sensual, dynamic, and outgoing.

*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.

black bullet line

Use red wisely in writing, painting,
decorating, and in your wardrobe!

How does red make you feel?



The wardrobe portion of this post was created using The Complete Book of Color by Suzy Chizzari.
The car information from Today.
If It’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die by Patti Bellantoni
awesome red and pink sphere and series logo by me!
cardinal and Mamie by Wikimedia.org
Share! It will make you happy, trust me.

While you’re here…

Sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you my Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe free. Other benefits include being the first to know exciting news, first to receive sneak peeks and sale information. Mailers are sparse.


  1. Red is my absolute favorite color. It makes me want to grab life by the throat and scream in it's face.

  2. My mum says wearing red helps in anger management. Wonder if that is the reason Hindu brides traditionally wear red?

  3. Interesting facts about red! I think I own one maroon shirt. Maybe.

  4. As a person who's mostly lazy by nature, I appreciate red's invigorating effects. It's a warm color, which is nice. Doesn't suit me clothing-wise but have a few selected red/bordeaux accents in the home and they're pretty.

  5. I've always loved red. As a kid I painted my room a vibrant red 🙂 I don't wear it very often though – doesn't work on me.

  6. Wow! Awesome trivia you have here.

    Red is not my first choice, really ever, though by a coincidence my car is red, and I love it.

  7. Red is one of my favorite colors. I wear it and drive in it.

  8. Fun post! Red was my favorite color all my life, until just in the past year or so I realized I like light aqua blue more. Isn't that strange to switch favorite colors this late in life (I'm 41)? So now red is my second favorite, and I do like to wear red clothes.

  9. This was a fun post!
    The only thing in my closet that is red are a pair of flats. I think it's my secret way of being fiery!

  10. Interesting, my daughter did the same thing as Susan, same exact colors.

    I don't really love or hate red, but I use it quite a bit in the fantasy I've been working on. I think it's beautiful, but it can also be tiring. I like it best in patterns with other colors. Make what you will of that. :o)

  11. Thanks for all this red information. I enjoy reading about color as I'm very sensitive to it.

    Red is my color as I'm an Aries. I used to have a red car. Not a good color for me as I like to speed & that's like I'm advertising!

  12. Red makes me feel alive! Alas, I don't have much red in my wardrobe.- Another excuse for shopping!

  13. I like red, although blue is my favorite color. Sometimes red can be too over stimulating. But overall the world would be a pretty boring place without out good friend RED.

    Stephen Tremp

  14. Someone told me once about wearing the ruby ring bringing good luck. This is the first time I read about seeing a red bird is good luck. Interesting stuff you have here.

  15. The part about red and temper inspired me in the creation of a monster for my fantasy. They are very dangerous and are called the Symberveen.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  16. Pink has a fascinating history!
    (No offense, red.)

Comments are closed.

H.R. Sinclair © 2016
Scroll Up