The Red Mystery

sofaThere’s a deep human fascination with the colour red; it’s one of the top two favourite colours of all people (the other is blue), and is the most popular colour in flags. Approximately 77% of all flags – regardless of the purpose or representation – use the colour red in some capacity. It’s also supposedly the first colour humankind recognised after black and white. All languages throughout history have words for black and white, and the only other colour to gain such acknowledgment is red.

Red Damage

As a matter of fact, people who suffered from brain injuries that caused temporary colour blindness can discern the colour red before any other pigments in the visible spectrum. The fascination with fire is responsible in no small way to the importance bestowed on the colour red. But what does any of this have to do with anything?

Red Advantage

This means that people can take advantage of their most basic instincts and tendencies for their own purposes. Fashion designers are among the first to do so, and have made careers and fortunes simply from incorporating red into their products. One modern example is the online retail company whose best sellers are red leather sofas.

Red Shoes

The best example of the red revolution, however, is probably the French shoemaker Christian Louboutin. The designer single-handedly brought the stiletto back into fashion in the 90s and 00s with high heels as long as 120 mm (4.72 inches). But what set Louboutin’s shoes apart were the signature red soles, and registered as Pantone 18-1663 TPX.

In his first year of business, Louboutin sold over 200 pairs of shoes, these days; he sells over 700,000 pairs a year. There’s more to Louboutin’s success than using the colour red of course, but it helped his brand form an image that was both simple and difficult to replicate with anything else.

People have only scratched the surface of their fascination with the colour red, and there may be more to the story than simple wavelength visibility and aesthetic appeal. Until more studies are done on this phenomenon, humankind will have to be content with the mysterious power red has over them.