Speak On It

Emotional Colour Connections: Red

As we look to the summer months with great anticipation [surely they must be just around the corner?] we look back at our make-up bags and wardrobes in the hope of some colour inspiration. Just as we reviewed the warmth, the intensity and the statement evoked from the colour yellow, we turn to red, a colour we’re sure many of you will have a deep and alluring relationship with.





A primary colour, red can set the scene of drama, romance, passion, anger, danger… there isn’t a colour I can think of that we have a richer emotional connection with.



The British landscape is awash with iconic red landmarks and symbols, the red British postbox, the classic double decker bus, fire engines, the underground signs and even the English and Great British flags sport red with pride! So if we turn to red for our most significant of icons as a nation, what can this mean of us as the population?

In film we see red portrayed in a similar light, worn by a lead character it can conjure intensity and a sense of control. There is no better example of this than in Film Noir. The femme fatale is always in a statement red lip, a signifier of the danger and dominance she presents. Red penetrates a spectrum of black and white to reveal her deepest desires.








We caught up with our Head of Professional Development, Spob, for her thoughts on the presentation of red in film:

“In film, red lips are used to symbolize passion. The classic red lips of a femme fatale show the development of human emotions. Watch any film where the heroine needs to be drawn to you and she will be dressed in red.  After Julia Roberts begins her transformation in Pretty Woman she is seen in red, having captured the heart of Richard Gere.”


A red lip is something we see throughout the history of powerful women. From Marilyn Monroe to the modern Dita Von Teese, red is donned as a declaration of dominance and in many cases, passion.


Passion is something we see intrinsically linked with the classic red lip. Injecting fire, lust and attraction, it extends to the luxe of red roses and the ultimate red dress. Oozing glamour, we look from the red dress to the red carpet, a decadent podium for self-expression and glamour.

Red carpet wearers at the 2012 Oscars.

A lady in red [thanks to Chris DeBurgh for forever ruining that statement] often alludes confidence and glamour.


But red doesn’t only denote passion, lust, power and glamour, we also see red used as a signifier for danger. Snow White’s red apple is the perfect example of how temptation and lust can lead us to danger. Warning signs are often in red, a window into the danger ahead.


In juxtaposition to this, red can also be portrayed as a symbol of hope. It’s widely recognised that red is a symbol for good fortune and good luck in Chinese culture. As we return to film, red can again be seen referenced as a signifier of hope and belief as we watch Dorothy click her red ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz to return home.











So as we look at our emotional connection with red, are you a Dorothy or a femme fatale? Do you look to red to ooze glamour or turn to red for empowerment? Do you see danger or passion?


We’d love to hear your thoughts and relationship with red…

Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert