Color theory: Red color

Color theory: Red color

Red is a primary color, alongside yellow and blue. This means that no colors can be mixed to create red, but red can be used to create other colors on the spectrum. Red sits at the end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet.

Red is also a primary color in both the digital light-based RGB and print ink-based CMYK color models.

What red symbolizes:

Red is the color of extremes. It’s the color of passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger, and adventure. Our prehistoric ancestors saw red as the color of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces – and most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past.

Red is also a magical and religious color. It symbolized super-human heroism to the Greeks and is the color of the Christian crucifixion. Red was almost as rare and as expensive as purple in ancient days – a fact that may explain its magic and power.

Shades of red 

All reds are not created equal. Aside from light and dark shades of red, there are two kinds of red:

Yellow-based reds are “tomato” reds. Blue-based reds are “berry reds.” Some say that males are more attracted to the tomato reds: females to the berry reds.

Context is everything when using red. For example, when red is placed on a black background, it glows with an otherworldly fire; on a white background, red appears somewhat duller; in contrast with orange, red appears lifeless. Maintaining a complementary color scheme is very important to color harmony. Notice that the red square appears larger on black.

Regardless of how it is used in a high quality design, a little bit of red goes a long way.

Using red in paint by numbers kits 

In design, red can be a powerful accent color. It can have an overwhelming effect if it’s used too much in designs, especially in its purest form. It’s a great color to use when power or passion want to be portrayed in the acrylic painting. Red can be very versatile, though, with brighter versions being more energetic and darker shades being more powerful and elegant.

Reds can range in tints (when the red is mixed with white to create a paler color) or shades (mixed with black to produce a darker color). But there are also a wide range of identifiable reds that vary depending on whether they are mixed with blue, orange, yellow, or purple.

What Colors go well with red according to the color wheel?

  • Primary red works well with yellow, white, tawny-orange, green, blue and black.
  • Tomato red works well with cyan, mint green, sand, creamy-white, and gray.
  • Cherry red works well with azure, gray, light-orange, sandy, pale-yellow, and beige.

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