Did you know that we have evolved to recognize red more easily than any other color? It’s true.

Although we are not completely sure why this is, researchers believe we may have evolved a

sensitivity to the color to avoid danger such as poisonous snakes or spiders, or to distinguish if a

fruit may be ripe. Regardless of how it came to be, red is a color that has some very interesting


Competitive Advantage

When it comes to competitive contests, researchers have found that wearing red gives the

wearer a slight competitive advantage. The Liverpool football club famously wore there all red

uniforms for the first time in 1964. Bill Shankly, the club manager, stated “We wore the all-red

strip for the first time. Christ, the players looked like giants. And we played like giants.”

However anecdotal this testimony is, red is without match when it comes to richness of

meaning and influence. Keep this in mind when it comes to design, how may you strategically

use red to provide a competitive advantage?

Increases Attractiveness

Red makes women appear more attractive to men. Ever notice how movies portray the

beautiful woman in a red dress? Wonder Woman used this effect when dressed up for the Nazi

event. In a study where men were presented with images of the same woman in the same pose

wearing different color dresses, the woman in red was consistently rated to be the most

attractive. The color red appears to have the powers of seduction, acting as an aphrodisiac. This

has obvious implications to design – keep red in your back pocket if you are aiming to design

something seductive and alluring.

Impairs Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

Researchers found that when students who were exposed to red prior to their exams

performed worse than the control group. This could be due to the exposure triggering

responses that inhibit higher order thinking. Whatever the reason is, the data is undeniable.

This has interesting implications to design – if you’re creating a website dedicated to learning or

building a school or painting your design studio, avoid red at all costs.


The mysterious power of red should not be overlooked, these rules are a peak into the power

red has on our unconscious minds. Although these rules are not set in stone, they are an

interesting guideline to keep in mind when designing.