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What is different shades of red called?

What is different shades of red called?

Red is a primary color that exists in nature and is also one of the primary colors used in art and design. There are numerous shades and tints of red that have specific names used to identify and classify them.

Basic Shades of Red

The basic shades of red include:

  • Scarlet – A bright red with a slightly orange tint.
  • Crimson – A strong, deep red color with a bluish tint.
  • Ruby – A bold, rich red color that leans slightly towards pink.
  • Cherry – A bright, warm red color similar to the flesh of a cherry.
  • Fire engine red – A very bright, warm red.
  • Burgundy – A dark red color with a purplish tint resembling the color of red wine.
  • Maroon – A rich, dark red color with a brownish undertone.
  • Carmine – A strong, bright red with a slightly purplish tint.
  • Cardinal – A vivid red color named after the robes worn by Catholic cardinals.
  • Cinnabar – A highly saturated orangey red.

Pink and Orange Shades of Red

Some shades of red blend towards pink or orange:

  • Pink red – A light, pinkish red.
  • Salmon – A light peachy-pink red.
  • Coral – A pinkish-orange red.
  • Tomato – A reddish-orange.
  • Vermilion – A brilliant red-orange.
  • Persimmon – A soft orange-red.
  • Terracotta – An earthy red-orange.

Darker Shades of Red

Some darker shades of red include:

  • Oxblood – A very dark reddish brown.
  • Burgundy – A purplish dark red.
  • Cordovan – A rich dark red color.
  • Sangria – A purplish-brownish red.
  • Wine – A deep red color like red wine.
  • Garnet – A rich, deep reddish brown.
  • Brick – A brownish, dark red.

Other Unique Shades of Red

Some other unique shades of red include:

  • Rust – A reddish-brown color that resembles iron rust.
  • Rose – A soft red with a pink tint.
  • Crimson – A rich, deep red with a slight blue tint.
  • Ruby – A bold red with a subtly purplish tone.
  • Scarlet – A bright, warm red with orange undertones.
  • Magenta – A vivid reddish purple.
  • Sangria – A dark purplish red.
  • Claret – A deep purplish-red wine color.
  • Cerise – A deep vivid cherry red.
  • Carnelian – A warm, burnt orange red.

Dye-Based Shades of Red

Some shades of red are named after red fabric dyes, including:

  • Alizarin crimson – A cool, purple-tinged red made from the alizarin dye.
  • Cochineal red – A crimson red made from cochineal insects.
  • Madder red – An orangey red made from madder root dye.
  • Turkey red – A vivid red made from madder root.
  • Venetian red – A warm terra cotta red pigment.

Natural Shades of Red

Some natural shades of red are named after fruits, flowers or gems:

  • Cherry – A warm, light red like cherries.
  • Strawberry – A soft pinky red.
  • Raspberry – A vivid purplish red.
  • Cranberry – A muted warm red.
  • Rose – A soft pinkish red named after roses.
  • Ruby – A jewel-toned red named after rubies.
  • Garnet – A rich, brownish red named after garnet gemstones.
  • Copper – A metallic, orangey red.

Shades of Red in Art

In color theory, red has a specific place on the color wheel. Shades of red used by artists include:

  • Cadmium red – Vivid, orangey artist’s pigment.
  • Vermilion – A mercury-based, silky red-orange paint.
  • Naphthol red – A family of organic synthetic red pigments.
  • Quinacridone red – A modern synthetic organic red pigment.
  • Alizarin crimson – A cool, transparent deep red made from dye.
  • Madder lake – An organic red lake pigment made from madder dye.


There are dozens, if not hundreds, of unique shades of the color red. Many are named after their source material, like plants, gems, dye stuffs, or after their general color families like pinks, oranges, browns or purples. In art and design, choosing the perfect shade of red means understanding the subtleties of its undertones and differences in color temperature and saturation.

Whether crimson, burgundy, scarlet or ruby, the vibrant color red will continue to fascinate artists, designers and anyone who enjoys the beauty and emotion of color.