Valentine’s Day is a love it or hate it holiday. Some people will be going to the store buying things they’ve never heard of to impress their significant other with a fancy home cooked meal while others will be reaching for a frozen dinner for one entre. Some will be going out to romantic Italian spots or steakhouses with their BF or GF while others will be rounding up their gals for a Galentine’s celebration involving a heart shaped piñata and lots, and lots, of wine. But no matter how you feel about it, everyone’s day will have at least one thing in common: it will be marked by the color red in some way. As a Designer, with Valentine’s Day coming soon, I am wondering how red become the color of love.
Red is the color of extremes—warmth, love, danger, anger, excitement, power, passion, fire, blood, battle, intensity, strength. This immediately make me think of the saying “opposites attract”. If you were to pair two opposite people on a date, their interaction might first be characterized by the crimson red of anger and battle but be followed by the scarlet red of passion and love.
Red is also an attraction color. There is a reason stop signs, emergency vehicles, stop lights, even McDonald’s signs don the color red. If its meant to garner our attention, its probably red. Perhaps this is why red lips, red shoes, red finger nails, etc. are associated with sensual feelings of attraction.
Red has had historical significance in just about every area of humanity from being associated with primitive life forces of fire and blood to representing the color of heroism to the Greeks to being associated with revolutions through out history.
Though it can symbolize many things, red is best known for being the symbolic color of the heart. Its only fitting that a thing as complicated, complex, and dynamic as the human heart be characterized by a color equally as complicated, complex, and dynamic. If for no other reason than that, it makes perfect sense that red would be the color of love- after all, it does come from the heart!
Happy Valentine’s Day!