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AMiable Solution #460: How to Use Red Right

Your next red-based marketing piece can either look like a crime scene or a work of art

Red is a powerful color in marketing. It elicits a range of emotions—from love to anger—and should be used with a good understanding of how your audience will respond…

and how to incorporate it into your design.

So, how do you incorporate the color red into your marketing without it overpowering your message? Consider these three important tips:

  • Use it sparingly but deliberately. Red demands attention, but you can have too much of a good thing. If your layout is covered in red, readers won’t know where they’re supposed to look. In fact, they might get overwhelmed and not look at all! Decide which one thing—a call to action, a headline, etc.—that you want to highlight or draw attention to and focus your color use there. Using red to emphasize your one big takeaway helps ensure your readers get the message quickly.

  • Check your tints. Because you want to limit the amount of red you use in a marketing piece, it can be tempting to add more color by including areas—subheads, backdrops, lines, etc.—with red tints. While this will help add some additional color and interest to your piece, keep in mind that most red tints print pink. Depending on your message and your overall imagery, this can either work for or against you. Check your tint book and consult your printer if you want to incorporate tints but don’t want to end up surprised by undesirable shades of red.

  • Consider adding pops of red through your images. Think you have to limit your use of red to text? No way! Selecting graphics, photos, and other images with hints or even bold splashes of red allows you to appeal to your readers’ emotions and emphasize your message without overpowering the space.

If your next marketing piece follows these guidelines for using red, your audience will surely give it the green light!

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