Red pole on an overflow pipe

Red pole on an overflow pipe
Tattooed JJ / CC BY-NC-ND

The colour red is strange in that it both attracts and repels. We spot red quickly, the colour of blood, and healthy blushes, and full lips, and we also spot it and learn to stay away, from red signals and danger signs and as warning, as with this red pole indicating a pipeline at the sea shore. It stands out in a world largely populated by tamer hues or shades of green, which we are specifically adapted to see very well. In contrast, red is a shock, a wake up call, a call for attention and sometimes to action. Whether or not you like the colour or enjoy it, the sure thing is that you can’t ignore red, however deep a stupor your senses have sunk into.

Bus Brake Lights

Bus Brake Lights
cc licensed flickr photo shared by luigig

Red is such a common colour in cities and towns that we barely notice it’s there. It takes a close-up snapshot of random views on the street, like this one, to remind us. The colour red is one of the ultimate attention grabbers, which is why it is used so much in advertising, signs, hoardings and warnings. And then there is the use of the colour on the motor ways. Without the red lights and signals and the red brake lights at the back of vehicles, traffic would descend into chaos. So, here’s to red on the road, an important partner in making our cities tick.