Circle + Co.

Red colour theory and its use in branding

Design and branding can help make your business memorable, and the colours you choose will have an impact on how others view your brand. In this part of our colour theory series, we're going to focus on red.

Red colour theory is interesting because some of the largest brands in the world use red, and we’re going to explore the psychological impact this colour has on how people view your business.

Red colour theory and the feelings it invokes.

Red is a commanding colour. You’ll often find it in combination with blue or black, but it can be integrated into most branding. You’ll find that red invokes many feelings:

Due to the red colour, many traffic signs are made with a red colour, such as stop signs. The reason for this is because the colour is commanding and draws attention, so it’s a great way for your product or logo to stand out in a sea of others.

The colour is also used in the health industry because it represents medical care.

What brands use red in their branding?

Red is a colour that is used by some of the biggest brands in the world. A few of the many brands that use this colour to invoke feelings are:





BBC News


Royal Mail






You’ll find companies across the United Kingdom and the world using red to invoke trust and generate sales.

Industries where red works best for branding.

Red is a colour that can mean many different things, depending on the shade (more on that below). However, there are some industries where this colour seems to be used more often than in others.

For example, the following industries are good choices if you’re considering adding red into your branding:

Red can be seen in some of the biggest companies in these industries, including BBC News, TIME and Netflix.

Adobe, YouTube, Oracle and others use red to grab the attention of consumers.

The retail industry is filled with red with retailers, such as Canon, using the colour.

Additional industries where red is a great choice are:

Different shades of red and what they mean for your branding.

Warm and cool reds can mean different things. When you’re choosing a cool red, it’s closer to purple, while the warmest reds are close to orange. If you’re planning on using different shades of red in your branding, consider the following shades and what they mean for your branding:

Pure red, or 255,0,0 on the RGB spectrum, is a strong, warm colour that symbolizes power and danger. This shade is good for grabbing a person's attention.

A colour that is very close to maroon or a dark red. This shade is known for its association with loyalty.

A darker shade of red, maroon is attention-grabbing and can be used to help consumers take action.

Of course, these are just some of the shades of red that you can use in your branding to invoke an abundance of feelings and emotions.

Are you planning to use the concepts of red colour theory in your own branding? If so, consider all of the points above to ensure that your branding invokes the emotions and feelings that are right for your industry and business.