There is perhaps no other color that has so many powerful emotions as the color red. It represents love, passion, in some countries beauty (the Russian word for beautiful has the same root as the word for red), sensitivity, and joy. We associate red with life and courage, romance and leadership, determination and willpower.
Red has long been used to indicate love and passion. In elementary school, we knew that cutting out a red heart from a piece of construction paper and handing it to someone else told that person we loved them.
For the American flag, red was chosen to represent valor and resilience, according to Charles Thompson, secretary of the Continental Congress during the time when it was selected for the first American flag. Red has been favored as one of the primary colors in medals awarded to soldiers for bravery in combat, not just in America, but around the world.
Not surprisingly, this emotionally strong and popular color is frequently requested in luminescent materials for creating a red glow in the dark impact. However, there are frustratingly few good red glow in the dark materials. Here’s more information about this incredible color and why, despite how much we love it, we sometimes have to hate it.
Red through the Ages
History reveals that red was used in early cave paintings to express magical powers or natural phenomenon. The word for magic in both German and Old Norse relates to the word “teafor” in Anglo-Saxon, which means “red ochre” (the red powdered pigments used in burial sites).
The ancient aborigines of Australia believed red would protect them from evil. They painted their weapons, animals, and immediate surroundings with the color to ward off harm and imbibe items with magic. In early Roman days, gladiators routinely drank the red blood of those they killed in the battle, believing this would give them the strength of that enemy—a gross and ultimately fruitless endeavor.
In the Middle East, door frames painted red (sometimes using actual blood) were thought to repel demons. Only in Ancient Egypt did red ever have negative signifiers. They believed that red was the mark of evil and often referred to evil acts as “red acts.”
Difficult to produce, red was very expensive and came to signify wealth and power. Kings and clergy specified garments of red to indicate a higher supremacy and governance.
Today red is a top color choice worldwide. Mediterranean and Asian brides traditionally wear red to dispel bad luck on their wedding days. Most world flags include the color red. Red is still the symbol of good luck for many, and reverently used for important ceremonies in some religions.
Why Is Creating a Good Red Glow So Difficult?
Although red is visually appealing, it has always been one of the hardest colors to match across mediums, including printed pieces, silk screening, dyed fabrics, and glow in the dark materials. This has caused many designers some frustrating moments. Added to that, our perception of color hue is experienced individually, meaning a red color that may seem “too orange” to one person may appear just the right shade to another. As evidenced by the recent controversy with #thedress, we can easily understand that people really do see colors differently.
When it comes to creating red glow in the dark materials, there are a number of factors making it difficult to produce a vibrant red glow. One problem is the color red is one of the most difficult for our eyes to see in the dark. Why? Because the cones in human eyes responsible for detecting the color red start to shut down in the dark. The remaining rods do not see red very well. So while some photoluminescent materials appear red in bright or normal light, those same glow materials may not seem so red when viewed in the dark. This is frustrating for those who want red glow in the dark materials, and an interesting tidbit about our own biology!
Are There Any Good Red Glow in the Dark Materials?
With advances in technology we actually are now able to offer high performance red glow materials that can be seen in the dark. Red Hot and Sunset Red are two colors in our specialty resin line, and can be used to make just about anything on your design wish list. As a bonus, Red Hot resin appears nearly the same color both during the daytime and while glowing at night. Sunset Red is similar to a sunset with orange and yellow nightglows and more of a pinkish red in the daytime.
We also offer Red Hot as a color choice in our new Neon Glow Sheets. The smooth vinyl sheet is a bright red color by day with a Red-Orange glow by night. Red Hot glow sheets are available with or without an adhesive backing making it a versatile choice for many designs.
Red is for Lovers and Haters
While red has been a little more difficult to produce, it is definitely one of our new favorites. Sometimes things turn out to be worth the wait! For help in color matching your own design project, contact our technical team today!