the color of red in typography

blackdrav's picture

often have i read that the color of red has been the only available color in "the old days" to distinct an element from the rest of the black typography. so red is often called the "color of typography".

but why is that? does somebody know any source that explains the reason behind this? i assume that color was something rare then, and probably red was easier (?) to produce, but why? does anybody know how red color was produced during the times of gutenberg or why it was often chosen as the only color next to black?

thanks a lot in advance.

jacobsievers's picture

Black and red inks were the standard for manuscripts since at least the 5th century (yes, easier to make than other colors). Printing simply followed suit.

See "Rubrication"

BeauW's picture

There is evidence of ancient egyptian scribes having two ink pots in their gear, one black and one red.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Red was easier to produce than most other colours, using iron oxide. That’s also why barns were red (at least here in Norway). They still are because of tradition.

JamesM's picture

Red is the most common color for older barns in the U.S., too.

5star's picture

...because red is the color of blood.


blackdrav's picture

thanks a lot!

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