Crimson Color

Crimson Color – How to Make and Use Crimson Red in Art

If you are looking for a bright and beautiful shade of red, then crimson red is a perfect choice! However, if you want a little more information about the crimson color before you decide, we have provided answers to some important questions. Let us begin with the most basic question: what color is crimson?



What Color Is Crimson?

The best way to describe a crimson color is to say it is a deep and vibrant red. Crimson red also leans towards purple, so it can also be described as a deep purplish-red. Some may confuse crimson with burgundy, however, there is a distinct difference between the two. They both have a separate identifying hex code. Also, the composition of each is different, as you can see in both color codes. The color codes are used for printing and web designs. 

You will also notice that burgundy is a much darker shade of red, which is associated with red wine, while crimson is associated more with the color of blood.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Burgundy#8000200, 100, 75, 50128, 0, 32 



Crimson Color: A Brief History

 The word crimson originates from a red dye that was obtained from a scale insect, known as kermes vermilio. These insects were primarily found in the Mediterranean area, but the dye was sold all over Europe. This particular dye lasted only a short time and was replaced by another scale insect, known as cochineal. You needed far fewer of these insects to produce a comparable dye, so it was easier and cheaper to produce. Today, there are even cheaper synthetic dues available. Below are a few other noteworthy details about crimson.

  • During the Elizabethan era, crimson was worn mostly by royalty and others with high social standing.
  • According to various sources, the word crimson may have been in use since the 1400s.

Crimson Red Color

  • Crimson is the national color of Nepal.
  • The crimson red color is used by Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
  • Many animals also display similar colors to crimson, for example, the national bird of Singapore is known as the crimson sunbird.


Crimson Color Meaning

Crimson is a deeper shade of red and will have similar associations. Crimson red is also the color we mostly associate with blood. Crimson red does have close links with royalty and nobility since the color could only be worn by selected members of society in earlier years. Crimson also has a strong association with religion and can stand for tests, trials, and sacrifices. The bright crimson color is also a sign of love, courage, affection, energy, and passion. 

However, it can also represent danger, anger, revenge, ruthlessness, and danger. 



Shades of Crimson

If you do not like the crimson we have provided, then there are many other similar colors you can choose from. All of these colors have an individual name and hex code, and you can compare them to crimson in the table we have provided.

Shades of Crimson


Alizarin Crimson

This bright crimson color version is a shade of red that also leans towards a purple undertone. Alizarin crimson comes from a dye that is produced by the madder plant, which is why it is also sometimes called rose madder. The organic dye was known as alizarin. 

As you can see crimson and alizarin crimson are very similar, with only slight variations in composition.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Alizarin Crimson#e326360, 83, 76, 11227, 38, 54 


Harvard Crimson

This is the particular shade of crimson that is used by Harvard University. When compared to crimson, the Harvard Crimson is a stronger red. Harvard Crimson is also the name of the university’s student newspaper.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Harvard Crimson#c900160, 100, 89, 21201, 0, 22 

Crimson Color Palette



The color of dried ox blood is not a very pleasant association, but it is a much darker shade of crimson. The color is dark red, which also has purple undertones. Even with its unpleasant association, the color does add a certain luxurious and sophisticated look to designs. 

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Oxblood#4a00000, 100, 100, 7174, 0, 0 



What Colors Go With Crimson Red?

To create a crimson color palette, you need to understand how colors work and what color combinations are available. To do this, you should read up on color theory and understand what a color wheel is. Some of the more obvious colors that go with crimson are your neutrals, particularly white, gray, and black. Below are some ideas for creating the best crimson color palette. There are also different tints as well as shades you can choose from these options.

Bright Crimson Color


Complementary Crimson Colors

For a crimson color palette to stand out, you should pair complementary colors. This also means the colors used, create a contrast. In this case, if you pair crimson with blue-greens, greens, and blues, you can produce a design that pops. 

When looking at the color wheel, you can find complementary colors on opposing sides. 

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Vivid Cyan#14dcb491, 0, 18, 1420, 220, 180 
Sky Blue#87ceeb 43, 12, 0,135, 206, 235 
Teal#008080100, 0, 0, 500, 128, 128 


Monochromatic Crimson Colors

A range of tints and shades of a particular color will help you create a monochromatic crimson color palette. This is one of the easier color combinations to work with and also produces a seamless look to a design that is also pleasant to look at.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Dark Red#3a05100, 91, 72, 758, 5, 16 
Soft Red#ef4e6e0, 67, 54, 6239, 78, 110 

Crimson Red


Analogous Crimson Colors

Colors lying close together on the color wheel will produce an analogous color palette. These colors all have something in common and create a more seamless look to designs. 

You can choose more vibrant colors or try something more subdued, such as the light gray-orange or champagne color. 

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Vivid Pink#dc14a00, 91, 27, 14220, 20, 160 
Vivid Orange#dc50140, 64, 91, 14220, 80, 20 
Pale Red#ffccd30, 20, 17, 0255, 204, 211 
Champagne#f7e7ce0, 6, 17, 3247, 231, 206 


Triadic Crimson Colors

This is another contrasting color combination that involves three colors, which are uniformly spaced on the color wheel and create a triangle shape. When using this type of color combination, you usually have a main color, which is then supported by the other two colors. These colors are also known as accents.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Crimson#dc143c0, 91, 73, 14220, 20, 60 
Vivid Blue#143cdc91, 73, 0, 1420, 60, 220 
Vivid Lime Green#3cdc1473, 0, 91, 1460, 220, 20 
Royal Blue#4169e171, 53, 0, 1265, 105, 225 
Tea Green#d0f0c013, 0, 20, 6208, 240, 192 



How to Mix Crimson Color Acrylic Paint

There is a variety of crimson-red acrylic paints you can purchase online. However, if you would like to mix different shades of crimson, you might want to give it a try yourself. We have already learned that the crimson color is a vivid red, with purple undertones. To mix colors properly, just like when you create the perfect crimson color palette, you need to have some knowledge of color theory.

What Colors go with Crimson Red

So, to create crimson, you will be combining a primary and secondary color, which includes red and purple. You will need to experiment with different ratios to get the proper crimson you are looking for, but you will only add small amounts of purple to your paint. This is where keeping a color chart will help you remember what ratios you used. You can also mix in small amounts of white to create a lighter tint.



Designing With Crimson Colors

The bright crimson color offers an engaging element in both art and all types of design. Crimson is a color of strong emotion and strength and can convey these feelings when used in the design. Crimson is also a great attention-grabbing color for web designs and advertising.

Crimson red is also a great color to bring energy to an interior space.

Painting crimson walls is an option, however, the bold color might be better utilized as an accent color instead. Of course, there are also different shades you can choose, that might not be as bright and overwhelming. Always use sample paint colors at home to see how the color will react to the light in a room. You can use a crimson color palette in most rooms of the home if you use proper color combinations and ratios. If you are a bit wary of crimson as your main color, it can act as the perfect accent color.

What Color Is Crimson

Consider crimson red couches, cushions, rugs, and other accessories. Appliances in the kitchen can add that pop of crimson color while painting the front door red can also add a sophisticated look that stands out. Crimson red towels will create a beautiful contrast in a white bathroom. Even simple art pieces can provide that touch of crimson you might be looking for. Elements like dark wood, leather, and gold metallics can bring a sense of luxury when used with crimson.


Even the name “crimson red” has a strong sound to it, leading to associations of passion, strength, and energy. So, naturally, this will convert into any design you use it in, from fashion to advertising, and all the way to home interiors!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Color Is Crimson?

Crimson is a deep and vivid red that has undertones of purple. However, there are many shades of crimson, from brighter reds all the way to purples.


What Colors Go With Crimson Red?

Crimson red is a color that can go with white, and black, as well as brown and gray. The color also works well with other shades of red, orange, and yellow. Pairing it with blues and greens will create a contrasting color palette.


Is Crimson Red a Warm Color?

In color theory, colors can be warm or cold. Red is a warm color, while green and blue, as well as purple colors, are cool. However, there are many in-between colors. Reds can become cooler the closer they are to purple and blue on the color wheel. Since crimson has purple undertones, it can be considered a cool red.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Crimson Color – How to Make and Use Crimson Red in Art.” Art in Context. March 13, 2023. URL:

Lewis, C. (2023, 13 March). Crimson Color – How to Make and Use Crimson Red in Art. Art in Context.

Lewis, Charlene. “Crimson Color – How to Make and Use Crimson Red in Art.” Art in Context, March 13, 2023.

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