How to Use Blood Red in Your Design Projects

Blood red isn't just for halloween

Blood red is a warm color that can be bright or dark red. The bright red color of crimson is often considered the color of fresh blood, but blood-red color may also describe a dark maroon shade of red.

Depending on how it is used, blood red can carry some of the darker or more sinister symbolism of red, including anger, aggression, death, or a sense of the macabre. Blood red can also symbolize loyalty (as in a blood oath) and love (blood is associated with the heart and romance). You're just as likely to see blood red on Valentine's Day as on Halloween.

Blood Red color swatches with Hex numbers
Lifewire // Alison Czinkota

Blood red is an attention-grabbing color, so don't waste it on unimportant elements of your design. The viewer's eye is drawn to it immediately, so use it for elements you want to stand out.

Using Blood Red in Design Files

When planning a design project destined for commercial printing, use CMYK formulations for blood red in your page layout software or select a Pantone spot color. For display on a computer monitor, use RGB values.

Use hex designations when working with HTML, CSS, and SVG. Blood red shades are best achieved with the following:

Hex RGB CMYK
Blood Red #bb0a1e 166,16,30 0,95,84,27
Crimson #dc143c 220,20,60 0,91,73,14
Dark Red #8b0000 139,0,0 0,100,100,45
Maroon #800000 128,0,0 0,100,100,50
Blood Orange #cc1100 204,17,0 0,92,100,20

Choosing Pantone Colors Closest to Blood Red

When working with printed pieces, sometimes a solid color red ink, rather than a CMYK red, is a more economical choice. The Pantone Matching System is the most widely recognized spot color system, and it is supported by industry-leading design software and most U.S. commercial printing companies.

Here are the Pantone colors suggested as best matches to blood red:

Pantone Solid Coated
Blood Red 7621 C
Crimson 199 C
Dark Red 7623 C
Maroon 2350 C
Blood Orange 2350 C

The C following a Pantone number indicates the color is represented as it appears on coated paper. When the ink is applied on an uncoated paper, the ink is the same, but its appearance changes due to absorption into the paper. It typically appears less vibrant. If you plan to print blood red on uncoated paper, ask your commercial printing company to show you the side-by-side comparison of the ink on both types of paper, using their Pantone guides made for this purpose.

Blood red text on a black background (or vice versa) is a low-contrast combination that usually makes the text difficult to read.