What Color Is Vermilion?

This orange color comes from a mineral not a fruit

Vermilion shades
Shades of vermilion (aka vermillion). © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com. | Cool, Calming Colors | Warm, Exciting Colors | Mixed Cool/Warm Colors | Unifying Neutral Colors

Vermilion, also known as cinnabar or China red, is a tone of red with a bit of orange in it, much like scarlet. It can be produced naturally from the mineral cinnabar as well as artificially. This warm color is considered the color of life and eternity. Vermilion carries with it the same symbolism as red—a power color also associated with love, marriage and religion.

History of Vermilion

This color has been widely used throughout history.

The ancient Romans used it in decoration, and it's found in Renaissance paintings. It's also been seen in ancient Chinese pottery.

Married women in India traditionally used vermilion cosmetic powder to color their hair where it parted, a practice known as sindoor. When a woman washed the vermilion powder out of her part, it meant she was a widow. Traditional sindoor made use of turmeric to give the reddish-orange hue, but some commercially produced sindoor powders were made of chemicals. 

Using Vermilion Color in Design Files 

When you plan a design project that will be printed in ink on paper, use CMYK formulations for vermilion in your page layout software or select a Pantone spot color. For display on a computer monitor, use RGB values. Use Hex designations when working with HTML, CSS and SVG. Vermilion shades are best achieved with the following information:

  • Vermilion: Hex #e34234 | RGB 227,66,52 | CMYK 0,71,77,11
  • Orange Red (Web color orangered): Hex #ff3f00 | RGB 255,69,0 | CMYK 0,75,100,0
  • Orange Red 2: Hex #ee4000 | RGB 238,64,0 | CMYK 0,73,100,7
  • Scarlet: Hex #ff2400 | RGB 255,36,0 | CMYK 0,86,100,0
  • Tomato 2: Hex #ee5c42 | RGB 238,92,66 | CMYK 0,61,72,7
  • Coral 2: Hex #ee6a50 | RGB 238,106,80  | CMYK 0,55,66,7

Choosing Pantone Colors Closest to Vermilion

When working with printed pieces, sometimes a solid color vermilion, rather than a CMYK mix, is a more economical choice.

The Pantone Matching System is the most widely recognized spot color system. Here are the Pantone colors suggested as best matches to vermilion colors.

  • Vermilion: Pantone Solid Coated 179 C 
  • Orange Red (Web color orangered): Pantone Solid Coated 172 C 
  • Orange Red 2: Pantone Solid Coated 2028 C
  • Scarlet: Pantone Solid Coated 2028 C
  • Tomato 2: Pantone Solid Coated 2027 C
  • Coral 2: Pantone Solid Coated 7416 C 



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Your Citation
Bear, Jacci Howard. "What Color Is Vermilion?" ThoughtCo, Jun. 18, 2017, thoughtco.com/what-color-is-vermilion-1077394. Bear, Jacci Howard. (2017, June 18). What Color Is Vermilion? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-color-is-vermilion-1077394 Bear, Jacci Howard. "What Color Is Vermilion?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-color-is-vermilion-1077394 (accessed November 19, 2017).