How to Use Red and How Not To?

Unless you have a really good reason, don’t use red. One in four people experiences a certain degree of color blindness and red and green texts are just hard to read. Red is like yelling at someone. Screens full of red text is like using all capital letters, it’s just too much. Ask yourself why you are using red? If it is to gain attention, think again. Remember that people don’t read screens to begin with and then remember that red is not as good a contrast as dark text on a light screen.  The rule with red is a little goes a long way.

Reed is a primary color and it is an emotionally intense primary color. The rule is no more than two primary colors per screen so it you are using full color images, you are probably already there. Why? Cognitive load.  Cognitive load for the learner includes colors in photography. So if you are using full color photos, remember to limit the use of other colors to one or two. This includes logos, branding and text. Keep things neutral. It sends a different signal to your learners. If and when you use red do it very sparingly to emphasize a word of phrase. Do not over use. Do not use red text in excess. In fact do not use the color red for anything in excess. If it is part of the branding scheme, find a way to minimize. Red is distracting, an attention hog and can be visually and emotionally overwhelming. Do you want your learners focused on “red” or you content. The message doesn’t come across as more important with the use of red, it just gets lost in the design. Remember, if you break this rule, there better be a good reason for it.

Leave a Reply