Names of Different Red Shades

Written by charisse esmeralde
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In visual art, red takes its place as one of the three primary colors. With interior design, different names for varying shades of red provide designers and clients with guiding points when trying to select a specific hue. In graphic design, each color receives its own RGB value number, determined by its proportin of red, green, and blue.

Names of Different Red Shades
("Wine Drop" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: delphaber (Fabrizio Monti) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)


Coral blends red with a hint of rosy pink. Fashion designers employ coral in contemporary clothing styles and jewelry, as well as lipstick and nail polish. This shade radiates an aura of fun and playfulness.

Named for the shade of July birthstone, ruby red is vivid and, provided you are not color blind, a true red. Dorothy's much-coveted slippers in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," were ruby red.

History and Geography

Scarlet, also a bright red shade, differs from ruby in that scarlet has a slight tint of orange mixed in with red. Scarlet was one of a select few dye colors used for clothing made and worn during the early 1500s. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, "The Scarlet Letter," the colored letter was a means of displaying public humiliation.

Crimson falls darker on the color chart than scarlet. This hue, a richly saturated red with a hint of purple, has been used to describe the color of blood. Like scarlet, crimson was a favored color during the 1500s, as requested by King Edward VI.

Its mixture of red and purple gives burgundy its dark red wine color. The historic French city that shares its name with this shade is known for quality wines. Burgundy remains a popular color scheme when it comes to interior design, as it exudes a feeling of immediate warmth.

Biological Links

As the name suggests, madder red comes from the roots of the plant called madder. Carmine and cardinal red pigments, used as early as the 1300s, originally were mined from kermes, an insect species. A similar red shade, cochineal, also derived from insects. The cochineal beetle gives this color its namesake, which is the rawest of natural red dyes.


Paint names for assorted shades of red will vary between brands and paint companies. When exploring colors and color schemes, ask for color swatches or their color selector guide to ensure you purchase the exact shade you are envisioning for the rooms in your home.


Wearing red in American cultures conveys self-confidence and power. When you wear red, you tend to command attention from those around you. In the context of traffic and education, red signifies stop or a warning. In Asian cultures, red clothing signifies celebration and good luck. On the color palette, red is considered a warm color. Some people paint their offices or bedrooms red, because it ignites renewed energy, inspiration and passion.

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