Simply go out into the world and you’ll immediately find red symbolism everywhere. From red stoplights and stop signs, to red restaurant logos, and even red-light districts, our associations with the color are obvious. It’s sexy, it stops you in your tracks, and phrases like “seeing red” also indicate we link this color with anger and frustration.
As Nina Ashby, psychic and author of Simply Color Therapy, tells mindbodygreen, red is considered the densest and slowest moving vibrational wave, and that includes everything from very dark red shades of red, to light pinks. And being the color of the root chakra, she says, it also represents the material world.
“It represents blood; It represents life force passion; Its slow moving molecules create friction, which creates heat, so it represents heat and fire as well,” Ashby explains, noting that this is a super stimulating color. After all, when we’re “fired up,” so to speak, we may become flushed with red, and that’s no coincidence.
Color therapist Walaa AlMuhaiteeb previously told mindbodygreen that red is related to lust, passion, energy, and material things. And as Ashby explains, Mars, the masculine planet of action and war, is literally nicknamed “the red planet,” and rules the fieriest sign of them all: Aries.
And this color’s rich symbolism isn’t anything new, with a longstanding reputation throughout history. As world history and western symbology expert, Michel Pastoureau, writes in Red: The History of a Color, the symbolism of red can be found in the Bible (think the fires of hell and the Devil), while the ancient Greeks and Romans associated it with excellence, and the Red Cross uses red in its signature cross logo.
Not only that, but red may alter perceptions of time and even impact our metabolism. One study published in the journal Scientific Reports2 found that when men saw a red screen, their perception of time slowed down compared to when looking at a blue screen. Research published in the journal Management Decision also notes that red stimulates appetite because of its effect on the metabolism, making it a popular color for restaurant design.