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Which color was more powerful blue or red?

Which color was more powerful blue or red?

Both the colors blue and red have been associated with power, strength, and energy throughout history. To determine which color is truly more powerful, we must look at the history, symbolism, and psychology behind each color.

History of Blue

The color blue has long been associated with royalty, prestige, and authority. In ancient Egypt, blue was the color of the gods and represented divinity and protection. The rare and expensive pigment ultramarine, made from crushed lapis lazuli, was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun. In ancient Rome, blue was associated with Jupiter, the king of the gods. The ancient Chinese believed blue was the color of the heavens and water, seeing it as a symbol of peace and harmony. Dark blue dyes were rare and expensive in the ancient world, limiting their use to royalty and nobility.

In the Catholic church, blue became an important liturgical color associated with the Virgin Mary. The vibrant blue pigment ultramarine, made from crushed lapis lazuli, was used lavishly in Renaissance religious art. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, blue’s rarity and expense meant it was worn extensively by kings, nobles, and the wealthy as a symbol of status. Dark blue came to represent dignity, authority, and wisdom.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, new artificial blue dyes like Prussian blue became widely available. Blue military uniforms were adopted by many armies and navies across Europe to represent duty and nationalism. The expressions “blue blood” and “blue ribbon” came to signify those of high birth or elite status. So throughout history, the rarity and expense of blue has made it associated with power, authority, and nobility across many cultures.

History of Red

The color red has symbolized violence, danger, revolution, and sacrifice throughout history. In ancient Rome, victory was associated with red, and defeats were denoted in black. Roman generals wore red as a sign of strength and military might. The Roman Empire’s banners and insignia were red. The planet Mars, named for the Roman god of war, was know as the “red planet.”

In Catholicism and Christianity, red came to represent the blood of martyrs and sacrifice. Cardinals wore scarlet robes that denoted their willingness to die for their faith. In Renaissance painting, red ochre and vermilion pigments symbolized passion, religious fervor, and earthly desire.

During the French Revolution, red was adopted as a color of radical democratic ideals and bloody rebellion against the aristocracy. Red flags and banners came to symbolize leftist and communist movements around the world. The Soviet Union adopted the Communist “Red Star” and China’s Communist Party used a crimson hammer and sickle as their symbols.

Today, red is associated with danger, aggression, and caution. Stop signs, warning labels, and fire trucks are all red. But red also represents passion, excitement, sexuality, and achievement. So red has symbolized both political radicalism and dangerous military might throughout different eras of history.

Symbolism and Psychology

Blue and red have come to represent opposing symbolic meanings in psychology, culture, and politics. Here is a comparison of their associated symbols and meaning:

Blue Red
Calmness Excitement
Serenity Passion
Logic Emotion
Conservatism Radicalism

Blue is associated with depth, stability, wisdom, and calm. It has positive psychological effects such as lowering heart rate and reducing stress. Blue is used extensively in corporate logos and branding to convey reliability and trust.

In contrast, red is stimulating, lively, and urgent. It captures attention and conveys excitement. But it can also raise blood pressure and provoke anxiety or anger. Politically, blue represents conservatism and traditionalism while red is associated with radicalism and revolt. Blue and red have come to signify opposite ends of the political spectrum in many nations.

Contemporary Use in Politics

In American politics, blue and red have represented the opposing major political parties since the 2000 election. Democrats have been symbolized by blue while Republicans are denoted by red. The blue states vs red states divide came to symbolize deep political and cultural differences between liberal urban areas and more conservative rural areas.

This symbolic color divide has been extended to media outlets, with Fox News and other conservative-leaning networks branded as “red news” and more liberal outlets like CNN labeled “blue news.” To Americans, seeing a state turn from red to blue or vice versa during an election signifies a major political power shift.

However, blue did not always represent Democrats and liberalism in the US. Before 2000, most election maps used red for Democrats and blue for Republicans – the opposite of the color scheme today. The current red-Republican and blue-Democrat divide arose from the close 2000 election between Bush and Gore and was solidified after the contested results.

The choice of blue and red to brand the two parties was arbitrary, but the colors have taken on symbolic meaning beyond mere partisanship. Blue represents the cool, reasoned liberalism of the Democrats while red conveys the passionate energy of Republican conservatism. The colors have become symbols for deeper political identities and values.

Global Use of Blue and Red

While blue and red hold special political symbolism in America, they represent opposing political ideologies worldwide:

  • In Britain, blue represents the Conservative Party while red denotes the Labour Party.
  • In China, official media uses blue to refer to the pro-government position while Western democratic models are branded as red.
  • In Hong Kong, blue signifies pro-democracy and anti-communist movements while red represents pro-China positions.
  • In Canada, Liberals use red while Conservatives are branded blue.

So in many parts of the world, blue signifies establishment or nationalist movements while red represents revolutionary or reformist positions. Both colors are loaded with political symbolism.

Corporate and Branding Use

In business, blue and red are used extensively for corporate branding and web design. Blue conveys stability, professionalism, and dependability. It is the most commonly used color in website design and is popular in banking, medicine, and technology. Blue puts customers at ease.

Red is energetic and conveys passion and excitement. It captures attention with its urgency. Red is popular for brands wanting to stand out but can also signify danger or warnings. Fast food chains like KFC and brands like YouTube and Netflix all use red in their logos to stand out.

So blue is conservative but reliable as a brand color, while red makes brands seem lively yet risky. Brands pick blue or red deliberately based on the image they wish to project to customers.


Both blue and red have strong symbolic associations with power, but in different ways. Blue represents conservatism, tradition, calm, and responsibility. It is associated with authority, trust, and dependability. Red conveys radicalism, revolt, urgency, and passion. It grabs attention and energizes action.

So blue’s power comes from its association with stability and wisdom, while red is powerful in its ability to energize emotions and incite change. Throughout history, blue was more difficult to obtain so became linked with nobility and prestige. But red has symbolized the violent dangers of unchecked power.

In modern politics and business, blue and red continue to wield symbolic influence as the colors of opposing ideologies. Blue puts customers at ease while red excites audiences. Both colors are loaded with meaning. While blue historically represented established power, red conveys the force of revolutionary movements. So each color wields power in different ways.