- Understanding The Color Theory Behind Pink and Its Uses
- Common uses of pink in color theory for designers
- Positive and negatives traits associated with pink
- Pink as a ‘feminine color’
- Popular shades of pink
- Brands that use pink
- Adobe InDesign
- Baskin Robbins
- The surprisingly dark history of the color pink
- Pink is for girls?
- Benign manipulation or outright humiliation?
- The Psychology of Colours (Part 9) — Baby Pink
- Pink is innocent
- Pink is feminine
- Pink is gentle
- Pink is calming
- Pink is optimistic
- What does pink tell about you…
- Pink in different cultures
- Interesting facts about pink
- Sources of pictures
- Psychology of the pink colour (2021)
- What effects can pink have on people?
- Symbology of the colour pink
- Positive characteristics associated with the psychology of the pink colour
- Negative Aspects
- The psychology of the pink colour and personality
- Wearing pink clothes
- Uses of pink in business and marketing
- Shades of Pink
- Think Pink! The Psychology of the Colour Pink
- How Pink Affects Our Psychology
- Millennial Pink: Pink Revamped
- Embrace Your Love for Pink!
- The psychology of design: pink in marketing and branding
- Connotations and emotions of the color pink
- Thinking pink
Understanding The Color Theory Behind Pink and Its Uses
Seen by many as a ‘feminine’ color, pink is one of the most popular colors brands use when designing graphics and marketing materials aimed primarily at women.
In part, this is because shades of pink are commonly associated with emotions love, kindness, tenderness, and affection.
Do you need help deciding whether pink is a good fit for your brand? Read on as we break down the color theory of pink and how you can use it effectively in your designs.
Whichever tone you choose, the color pink is ultimately a combination of red and white. It takes the fiery and passionate tones of red with the pure and soothing qualities of white.
The deeper shades of pink express passion, while lighter shades are more caring and gentle.
You can use different shades of pink in your design to express or evoke a range of emotions, depending on your target audience and intended messaging.
Related: Color Psychology: How Colors Affect Mood & Behaviors In Marketing? (Part 1)
Common uses of pink in color theory for designers
- Love: Pink is seen as warm, loving and romantic
- Compassion: Empathy and caring qualities are associated with the color pink
- Hope: Shades of pink have a soothing and positive impression on the viewer
- Calm: Pink is seen as a gentle and kind color that has a calming effect
Positive and negatives traits associated with pink
Some of the positive traits associated with pink are: passion, love, romance, caring, warmth, nurturing, understanding, safety, calming and hope.
Some of the negative traits associated with pink are: timidity, neediness, naivety, disarming or non-threatening, lacking strength, childishness and in the case of bright hues, loudness.
Pink as a ‘feminine color’
Many brands whose products cater predominantly to women use Pink. This is because pink is traditionally seen as a feminine color and blue is seen as a more masculine tone.
These color associations come as a result of cultural and societal norms and are most evident in clothing and toys for children. Hence, designers often make use of this color theory concept in their product designs and marketing materials.
However, pink is no longer seen as just a ‘feminine’ color and can actually be used in a variety of ways.
Related: Color Psychology: How Colors Affect Mood & Behaviors In Marketing? (Part: 2)
Popular shades of pink
Image Credit: Color Meanings
Associated with purity and calmness, pastel pink is one of the lightest shades of pink. It also has links with the festival of Easter and is very pale and cool.
- Color codes:
- Hex #FFD1DC
- RGB 255, 209, 220
- CMYK 0, 18, 14, 0
Light pink is similar to pastel pink, but it has a stronger red tone to it. It is brighter and more colorful than pastel tones. Moreover, you can see it frequently in products aimed at girls.
- Color codes:
- Hex #F6C1
- RGB 255, 182, 193
- CMYK 0, 29, 24, 0
Baby pink falls between light pink and pastel pink and is another popular light shade of pink. It is less saturated than light pink and has a cleaner, more toned-down look.
- Color codes:
- Hex #F4C2C2
- RGB 244, 194, 194
- CMYK 0, 20, 20, 4
Dark pink is a richer, warm pink that nicely complements lighter shades of pink. This makes it both aesthetically pleasing and handy for designers working with color theory.
- Color codes:
- Hex #E75480
- RGB 231, 84, 128
- CMYK 0, 64, 45, 9
Rouge is one of the deeper and more muted shades of pink. It has a dusky purplish-pink hue and comes close to being a shade of red or purple under different lighting.
- Color codes:
- Hex #A94064
- RGB 169, 64, 100
- CMYK 0, 62, 41, 34
Neon pink is a bright pink that is louder and more eye-catching than other shades of pink. Often used to grab people’s attention, it is a bold and passionate color.
- Color codes:
- Hex #FF6EC7
- RGB 255, 110, 199
- CMYK 0, 57, 22, 0
Hot pink is warmer than neon pink, but not as bright. Its red and purple tones make it calmer and more pleasing to the eye. And, when it comes to color theory, it’s also more versatile for use in marketing and branding.
- Color codes:
- Hex #FF69B4
- RGB 255, 105, 180
- CMYK 0, 59, 29, 0
Related: 10 Visual Design Trends You Need To Know To Stay On Top in 2021
Brands that use pink
Image Credit: Pinterest
Due to the versatile and pleasing nature of pink, there are many large brands that use it in their logos and designs. Some of these brands use pink primarily because it’s seen as a ‘feminine’ color. However, many other brands that aren’t necessarily targeted at women use it due to its other characteristics too.
Barbie is one of the most prominent users of pink in its brand image. Their color theory heavily uses pink in designs, products, marketing, and even their logo. Barbie products have traditionally been targeted at girls. This is one of the reasons why they heavily incorporate pink. And, as a ‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’ color, it continues to be used by Barbie with much success.
Adobe InDesign is a part of the Adobe creative suite of software and is a popular tool for design and marketing. Used for typesetting and creating designs, it is the industry standard among professionals in the space.
InDesign uses bold pink color in its logo and interfaces as part of a clean and minimal design. It effectively uses the different shades of pink that complement each other.
This gives the design an elegant and professional feel, along with a sense of creativity and passion.
Related: Digital Design vs. Graphic Design: What’s The Difference?
Another huge brand that makes use of pink in its logo and designs is Baskin Robbins. The ice cream maker makes use of shades of pink and blue which complement each other.
Furthermore, this clever use of color theory makes the logo instantly recognizable and creates a sense of fun, excitement, and joy to reflect the brand’s values. The ‘BR’ in the logo also features the two colors to highlight the number ’31’.
This is in reference to the number of ice cream flavors originally offered by the brand.
Related: 7 Common Graphic Design Mistakes By Beginners & Ways To Avoid Them!
The versatile and eye-catching nature of pink makes it a hugely popular color for brands and marketing designers. With so many shades of pink to choose from, many of which complement each other, there’s plenty of color theory for designers to play with when producing graphics.
If you are looking to use pink in your designs, check out Simplified to make your design process easier!
The surprisingly dark history of the color pink
For example, if you’ve recently been to a fast food restaurant, you might notice that there’s a lot of red–red chairs and red signs, red trays, and red cups.
When, on the other hand, was the last time you ate in a blue restaurant? There’s a reason for this: Red, it turns out, has been shown to stimulate the appetite.
Blue, on the other hand, has been shown to be an appetite suppressant.
But when it comes to interior design, the color pink has been particularly controversial.
After some psychologists were able to show that certain shades of pink reduced aggression, it was famously used in prison cells to limit aggression in inmates. Yet pink toes a shaky line.
Is it a benign means of subtle manipulation? A tool to humiliate? An outgrowth of gender stereotyping? Or some combination of the three?[Source Image: HT-Pix/iStock]
Pink is for girls?
When most people read that some are using pink to reduce aggression, they probably think, “of course.”
Painter John Vanderbank’s 1694 portrait of a boy. [Image: Christie’s]After all, from birth pink is appropriated to pretty little baby girls and blue is assigned to bouncing baby boys. In human psychology, we have come to connect the color to femininity and its corresponding gender stereotypes: weakness, shyness, and tranquility.
But according to architectural historian Annmarie Adams, pink didn’t always automatically signal femininity. Pink became the default color for all things girly only after World War II. Before then, it was common for girls to wear blue, while mothers would often dress their boys in pink.
[Source Image: HT-Pix/iStock]
Adams traces the switch back to Nazi Germany. Just as the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a yellow badge to identify themselves, they forced gay men to wear a pink badge. Ever since then, pink has been thought of as a nonmasculine color reserved for girls.
Once pink started to embody femininity, some wondered if it could be used to “tame” aggressive male behavior.
Beginning in the 1980s, a handful of prison wardens painted holding cells in prisons and jails pink. The hope was that the color would have a calming effect on the male prisoners.[Photo: Bryngelzon/Getty Images]
The wardens were inspired by the results from a series of studies conducted by research scientist Alexander Schauss. Schauss had concocted a pink paint color that he claimed could reduce the physical strength and aggressive tendencies of male inmates.
the 1980s, some wardens started painting their cells with a shade of pink dubbed ‘Baker-Miller Pink.
In his study, Schauss had subjects stare at a large square of pink paper with their arms outstretched. Then he tried to force their arms back down. He demonstrated he could easily do this as the color had weakened them. When he repeated the same experiment with a square of blue paper, their normal strength had returned.
Schauss named the color “Baker-Miller Pink” after two of his co-experimenters, naval officers Gene Baker and Ron Miller. Baker and Miller were so impressed with Schauss’s findings that they went ahead and painted the holding cells at their naval base this shade of pink. They raved about the results and how it had pacified inmates.
As word got around about the benefits of pink décor, psychiatric units and other holding areas were painted Baker-Miller Pink. Custodians reported quieter inmates and less physical and verbal abuse.[Source Image: HT-Pix/iStock]
All this seems a simple, cost-effective solution to calm inmates. However, a few years later, Schauss decided to repeat the experiments–only to find that Baker-Miller Pink didn’t have a calming effect on inmates after all.
In fact, after conducting a test in an actual pink cell, he noticed no difference in inmates’ behavior. He was even concerned that the color could make them more violent. It should be noted Baker-Miller Pink is not a pale, gentle, pastel pink. Instead, it’s a bright, hot pink.
Some 30 years later, psychologist Oliver Genschow and his colleagues repeated Schauss’s experiments. They carried out a rigorous experiment to see if Baker-Miller Pink reduced aggressive behavior in prison inmates in a detention center cell. Schauss’s later work, they found no evidence that the color reduced aggressiveness.
That might have been the end of the discussion on the benefit of pink cells. But in 2011, a Swiss psychologist named Daniela Späth wrote about her own experiments with a different shade of pink paint.
She called her shade “Cool Down Pink,” and she applied it to cell walls in 10 prisons across Switzerland.
Over the course of her four-year study, prison guards reported less aggressive behavior in prisoners who were placed in the pink cells. Späth also found that the inmates seemed to be able to relax more quickly in the pink cells. Späth suggests that Cool Down Pink could have a variety of applications beyond prisons–in airport security areas, schools, and psychiatric units.
One British newspaper reported that prison guards were happy with the effects of Cool Down Pink, but prisoners were less so. The newspaper interviewed a Swiss prison reformer who said it was degrading to be held in a room that looked “a little girl’s bedroom.”[Source Image: HT-Pix/iStock]
Benign manipulation or outright humiliation?
Herein lies the crux of the controversy. Opponents of the practice say that the implication that the color–with its feminine associations–will somehow reduce aggression is, in and of itself, sexist and discriminatory. Gender studies scholar Dominique Grisard has argued that the pink prison walls–regardless of whether they pacify–are ultimately designed to humiliate male prisoners.
Famously, in the 1980s, the University of Iowa football team painted the visitors’ locker room at Kinnick Stadium pink. A 2005 refurbishment added pink lockers and even pink urinals.
The reasoning behind using the pink shade, officially named “Dusty Rose,” was much the same as that of the prison wardens: The coach, Hayden Fry, believed it would curtail the aggression of the opposing players and allow the home team to gain a competitive edge.
Yet the prisons, this could be having the unintended, opposite effect. Some opposing players have reported being more fired up by the perceived insult of the pink locker rooms.
And so the debate about the power of pink rages on.
That hasn’t stopped some from trying to deploy pink to achieve tranquility in their homes. In 2017, model Kendall Jenner painted her living room Baker-Miller Pink–and raved about how it made her feel much calmer.
Who knows how many of her army of fans have followed her advice. For my part–although I love pink–I shudder at the thought of a hot pink living room, no matter how powerful its calming effects.
This post originally appeared on The Conversation. Julie Irish is an assistant professor of interior design at Iowa State University.
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The Psychology of Colours (Part 9) — Baby Pink
After exploring the meaning of red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and brown, we continue our journey with probably the most contradictory colour, pink, which is a mixture of red and white and — depending on the quantity of these colours, the resulting pink shade — may carry quite ambivalent meanings.
Pink is innocent
In it's most obvious meaning pink is often linked to childhood, sweetness and innocence, as well as the entire world of baby girls. Therefore products aimed at girls often display pink on their packaging and on the products themselves. Also fairies are often depicted as wearing pink in fiction.
Pink makes us crave sugar, so it is often used by shops selling ice-cream or other sweets. For example one of the famous sweets shops in Hungary, called the Sugar Shop, uses multiple shades of pink predominantly in their very colourful inner design.
Pink is feminine
In Europe and in America, pink is mainly a female color. Many products targeted to women and girls use pink to stress this association. However, this strong distinction wasn't always the case and is not universal at all. For example in Japan, pink is associated with masculine traits.
At the beginning of the 19th century in England boys were considered as small men, and while men wore red clothes, boys wore pink. However stores found that people were choosing to buy pink for girls, and blue for boys increasingly, so soon it became a new norm. Nowadays in Europe and in the United States, pink is associated with girls, while blue with boys.
In 1953 when Mamie Eisenhower wore a pink dress as her inaugural gown is thought to have been a key turning point to the association of pink as a color that «lady» women wear.
Pink is gentle
Pink represents the passion and power of red softened with the purity, openness and completeness of white. This is the colour of tenderness, caring, romantic love and also familiar love.
Pink relates to compassion, warmth and hope, so many charity organizations choose it as a major component of their marketing program. A typical example is the breast cancer campaign, where this caring and hopeful side of pink is combined with the strong feminine associations it carries.
Pink is calming
Pink calms us down by alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, abandonment and neglect.
Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of pink can create a feeling of physical weakness in people. Violent and aggressive prisoners have been successfully calmed by placing them in a pink room for a specified amount of time, but exposure for too long had the opposite effect.
For the very same reason, sport's teams sometimes use pink to paint the locker room of opposing teams. The Iowa Hawkeyes for example have a pink visiting team locker room at their Kinnick Stadium. The idea came from Iowa coach Hayden Fry, who had majored in psychology and believed that the pink room would mess with the minds of the opposing teams.
Pink is optimistic
Pink is a positive color that conveys the feeling that everything will go well. By promoting excessive optimism, it can even be associated with not seeing clearly or not perceiving the negative aspects of reality. (Most people have heard the sayings «everything is rosy» or «seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses», these refer to this aspect of pink.)
What does pink tell about you…
If you choose pink as your favourite colour, then you are probably very much in touch with your femininity — you are romantic, sensual and sensitive.
(This includes caring and romantic men, who can be somewhat feminine, too. On the other hand, nowadays it's considered to be fashionable and modern to wear pink by men.
It could also suggest that he pays attention to trends and fashion.)
If you prefer light shades of pink, then you are calm and naively sweet, which may give the overall impression of reserved shyness.
(With darker, more vibrant shades, this childish-side of pink is replaced by extravagance and seduction.)
You probably have a youthful appearance, looking younger than you really are.
You have an optimistic and positive outlook on life, you try see the good in everyone.
A strong preference for pink (after adolescence) may indicate a need for acceptance, support and unconditional love. In many cases women's attraction to «baby pink» may speak of a desire for the more carefree days of childhood from their overworked and overburdened daily life.
Pink in different cultures
- The golden age of light shades of pink was the Rococo Period in the 18th century, when it was particularly championed by Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis XV of France. She had a special shade pink made for her by the Sevres porcelain factory.
- In the 20th century, pinks became brighter, and more vivid, partly because of the invention of chemical dyes which did not fade. The pioneer in the creation of this new wave of pinks was the Italian designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, who created the so-called «shocking pink» by mixing magenta with a small amount of white.
- In Nazi Germany, homosexual inmates of concentration camps were forced to wear a pink triangle. That is why this pink triangle has become a symbol of the modern gay rights movement.
- In Japan, pink is most commonly associated with springtime due to the blooming cherry blossoms.
- In Spanish and Italian, a «pink novel» is a sentimental novel marketed to women.
- In Catholicism, rose pink symbolizes joy and happiness. It is used for the Third Sunday of Advent, therefore one of the candles in an Advent wreath may be pink, rather than purple.
- The Chinese had not recognized the colour pink until they had contact with Western culture, so the Chinese word for pink translates as «foreign colour.»
- Jaipur City is called «The Pink City», because of its giant forts, palaces and its distinguished pink colour.
- Marrakesh is sometimes referred to as the «Rose City» because of its salmon-pink coloured buildings and the red clay of its terrain.
Interesting facts about pink
- According to surveys in Europe and the United States, pink was the favourite colour of only two-percent of respondents (although it did not have any strong negative associations, few respondents chose it as their favourite colour).
- Probably the most famous piece of art, or rather an «environmental work of art» is Surrounded Islands by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The couple wrapped wooded islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay with 6,500,000 sq ft of bright pink fabric.
- The pink or reddish colour of flamingos comes from carotenoid proteins in their diet of animal and plant plankton. An unhealthy or malnourished flamingo is usually pale or white.
- Pink noise in audio engineering is a signal with a special frequency spectrum (where the power spectral density is proportional to the reciprocal of the frequency). It is used for example for calibrating audio equipments.
- Traditional rosé wines and champagnes get their pink colour when they are fermented with dark purple grapeskins for a short time.
- The London Financial Times newspaper uses a distinctive salmon pink colour for its newsprint, originally because this paper was less expensive than bleached white paper. Later the colour was used to distinguish the newspaper from competitors.
Sources of pictures
Psychology of the pink colour (2021)
What is the psychology of the pink colour, what characteristics are associated with it, what personality traits do people who have pink as their favourite colour tend to have, and what effects does pink have on people? Here is a detailed description of the psychology of pink
Pink is made up of a combination of red, blue and white, from which it gets some of its characteristics. Passion and energy come from red, and peace and tranquillity from blue and white. While red is more associated with passion and lust, pink is a softer and more loving colour. It is more associated with romance and love, it has a more sensitive side.
The colour pink in the western world is obviously associated with the female gender and femininity. It is associated with love, nurturing, compassion and understanding.
What effects can pink have on people?
The colour pink has definitely been linked to reduced aggression, and its use in holding cells for violent offenders has been quite effective.
Some sports teams have even painted opposing teams’ locker rooms pink in an attempt to reduce aggression.
Pink is such an effective mood regulator that too much of it can be physically draining. Dark pinks have similar effects to red, while pale pinks are more soothing.
Symbology of the colour pink
In the Western world, pink is primarily a feminine colour. Many products aimed at women and girls make heavy use of pink to indicate the gender they are targeting. However, this strong division was not always the case and is not universal. In other cultures, such as Japan, pink is associated with masculine traits.
red, pink is associated with love. However, while red represents passion, pink represents tenderness. It is a love centred on the intimacy of the other, caring and attentive. It is a colour that represents a gentle kind of love. It is associated with nurturing, so it is not only used for romantic love, but also for family love.
Pink is a colour that has a calming effect on people. It is not aggressive red, but suggests safety and vulnerability. In small doses, pink calms people, but if abused it can cause irritation and inspire feelings of weakness, especially in men.
Pink can relate to the sweetness and innocence of childhood, sometimes appearing naive or silly. Pink is a colour that suggests vulnerability and youth.
To say that someone sees the world through rose-coloured glasses means that they see the world with excessive optimism. Pink is a colour that represents hope, but it can sometimes be associated with not seeing the negative aspects of reality.
Positive characteristics associated with the psychology of the pink colour
Pink is intuitive and insightful, and shows tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity.
In colour psychology, pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive colour that inspires warm and comforting feelings, a sense that all will be well.
Pink calms and soothes our emotional energies, relieving feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect. Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of rose can have a calming effect on nerves and anxiety.
The colour pink puts people in touch with their most loving side, both the need to receive and the need to give, affection and care.
Pink is a non-threatening colour that seeks appreciation, respect and admiration. It does not to be taken for granted and loves to hear the words “thank you.”
Pink can mean good health, being “in the pink”, and success as in “everything is rosy.”
The colour pink represents the sweetness and innocence of the child in all of us. It is the colour of uncomplicated emotions, inexperience and naivety.
Pink can also remind us of childhood, of the mother figure
Positive keywords associated with pink: unconditional and romantic love, compassion and understanding, nurturing, romance, warmth, hope, calm, gentleness, naivety, feminine and intuitive energy
+ Psychology of the colour orange. Guide 2021
Pink can be associated with passivity and an unwillingness to take things seriously. We think of pink as the colour of inexperience and associate it with weakness and inhibitions. Pink can also be associated with shyness or a tendency to be overly emotional. It is also linked to superficiality and a failure to see reality.
Negative words associated with pink: Being physically weak, overly emotional and cautious, having emotional neediness or unrealistic expectations, being naïve, immature and childish, lacking willpower and lacking self-esteem.
The psychology of the pink colour and personality
If pink is your favourite colour, some of these characteristics may apply to your personality:
- Your emotions are strong and you are sensitive to the feelings of others, although yours are easily hurt.
- You have strong feminine traits, very feminine, which can sometimes seem innocent, if somewhat immature.
- You are optimistic and easily excited, which can also seem immature.
- You are friendly with new people and to talk to almost everyone.
- You have an idealistic view of romance and love; you love classic love stories.
- You are a very caring person, who cares a lot about others.
- You are not a very practical or analytical person by nature, you are more driven by your instincts, by your intuition.
Wearing pink clothes
Wearing pink clothes could be a sign of a need for self-expression and femininity.
You may be an intuitive person who doesn’t pay much attention to the opinions of others and doesn’t worry too much about conforming to social norms. You are probably an impulsive person who tends to act before thinking.
Nowadays, many men wear pink shirts. It is now considered fashionable and trendy. It suggests that someone pays attention to trends and fashion. It shows that someone pays attention to what is going on around them, outgoing and with a keen interest in how they are perceived by others.
Uses of pink in business and marketing
Colours are an important aspect to take into account when designing a logo for your company or any other brand-related element.
+ Psychology of the colour blue (2021)
Pink is associated with compassion, warmth, hope and understanding, which is why many charities choose to use it as a major component of their marketing programme.
It reflects a softness, gentleness and intuitive energy that works well for many products and websites that promote women’s products and services, such as beauty salons, fashion businesses and beauticians. It is a beneficial colour for candy shops and other businesses that sell sweet products.
The brighter versions are useful for promoting less expensive and trendy products to the teen and pre-teen market.
Powdered pink relates to businesses that market sentimental services and products, especially to the older market.
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Shades of Pink
- Blush: Similar to skin colour, this very pale pink has sensual and sexual connotations. It is non-threatening, but lacks passion and energy.
- Pink: It is the pink of universal love and unity. It is mature, feminine and intuitive.
- Salmonpink: Salmon pink has a hint of orange. It favours coquetry and can be the sign of the shy lover, who talks and does not play.
- Orchid: This is an unusual lavender pink and relates to the unconventional and the individual who does his own thing. It is the non-conformist.
- Fuchsia: A mix of deep pink and blue, fuchsia inspires confidence, security and maturity, a more responsible and controlled parenting and love.
- Hot pink: Hot pink inspires a more passionate, playful and sensual love. It exudes warmth and happiness and love for life.
Stronger shades, such as fuchsia, have been associated with confidence and energy, but also with superficiality and being “feminine” rather than being feminine.
Bright tones are often used for girls’ toys, and so are associated with being childish or immature. The quieter tones suggest tenderness, caring, calm and feminine strength.
As you may have noticed, the psychology of the colour pink is an extensive and very interesting subject, if you want to know in depth and in detail each of the main colours and the psychology behind them, take a look at our section on colour psychology, where we tell you about
Think Pink! The Psychology of the Colour Pink
June 23rd is National Pink Day, and it’s no wonder this color is as celebrated as it is. While pink’s popularity may have waned for a few years, the newest, most fabulous hue – millennial pink – has brought it back and made it bigger than ever. However, pink had its first surge of popularity during the Rococo Period (1720-1777) of France, when pastels were all the rage.
Perhaps the most exciting things about this youthful color is its effect on our psychology.
Color Therapy (or Color Healing) is the practice of utilizing colors in differing forms in order to promote harmony and balance within the body, and pink has a special effect on our wellbeing.
How Pink Affects Our Psychology
While pink is often associated with femininity, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that women are more predisposed to the color than men. In fact, prior to the 20th century, pink and blue did not have the gendered associations that they have in the past 100-or-so years.
Around 1920, when the colors were beginning to be associated with gender, pink was considered more appropriate for boys than for girls. Pink was considered, at the time, the stronger of the two, while blue was thought of as daintier.
It wasn’t until the 1940s, when clothing manufacturers deemed pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys to be the new trend, that this notion entered society. And for some reason, it stuck.
The color pink represents softness and compassion. It is associated with unconditional love, romantic love – a result of its composition of red and white – and nurturing.
According to the psychology of colors, pink inspires hope and positivity. It encourages a sense of comfort and relaxation, soothing the senses. Pink makes you feel everything is going to be alright. It calms our emotions and increases our sensitivity and tenderness.
Pink works to eliminate feelings of resentment, anger, and irritability, and it repairs the heart during times of abandonment or neglect. There have been studies that show prolonged exposure to pink reduces violent urges and has a sedating effect on the body.
This color encourages you to nurture and care for yourself, helping you feel connected to and receptive of your needs. Pink asks you to take time out for you and to do the things that make you feel happy and taken care of.
The color pink is often associated with children because of its innocent nature. It has the whimsy and playful faith of a child, representing that pureness and joy.
It isn’t complicated, but its beauty lies in its simplicity. It isn’t demanding, yet it captivates your attention.
Because of its association with children and childhood, pink can help you access childhood memories and resolve emotional issues from an early age.
Millennial Pink: Pink Revamped
There are many shades of pink, and their popularity has shifted through the eras. Pinks took on a flower-power energy in the 70s, were preferred in neon shades throughout the 80s, bubblegum-pop hues in the 90s, and now – in 2019 – “millennial pink” is everywhere.
Millennial pink is not un the baby pinks and bubblegum pinks that were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, but it has a dustier quality to it. Think of it almost as a “dirty pink.
” Light in shade, a hue similar to Baker-Miller pink – a shade of pink specifically created to calm violent prisoners, also known as “drunk tank pink” – but with more grit. It’s baby pink with attitude.
And its attitude matches that of the millennials who so adore this shade.
And maybe that’s why millennial pink is currently ubiquitous. It seems to represent the state of millennial culture: Positive, but with a bit of an edge.
After all, many facets of our culture seem grim right now, and this color seems to represent the millennial generation’s desire to remain hopeful as well as their willingness to acknowledge the less-than-pretty aspects of reality that we all presently face.
There is also a fascination on behalf of millennials with all-things-youthful, from unicorns to cartoons and adult coloring books. Many people, regardless of age, are learning to appreciate and embrace their child qualities in the face of an often troubling reality.
But this may point more to the evolution of our society. After all, there have always been troubling events and unpleasant realities throughout history. Maybe people have just become more willing to accept the need for playfulness and joy within this life, which is exactly what millennial pink seems to promote.
Embrace Your Love for Pink!
National Pink Day reminds us that this color brings joy into our lives and represents the nurturing love that we deserve to receive from and give to ourselves.
It doesn’t matter who you are, embrace your love for this gentle, compassionate color! Wearing, creating with and surrounding yourself with the loving energy of pink is a wonderful way to celebrate its peaceful energy, reduce stress and boost your mood.
Related Article: Understanding the Rainbow: The Psychology of Colour
The psychology of design: pink in marketing and branding
I’ll always remember my grandmother’s pink nail polish.
Every few visits, my mom would touch it up as Nani (the Hindi word for maternal grandmother) recounted how every nurse complimented her on her nails and how every other woman in the senior home was jealous.
They always had to be done and they always had to be pink.
Even as we found her unexpectedly in hospice a year ago, we made sure her nails were always at their pink, pearly best.
They were a thing of pride for her, a status symbol; one I’ve emulated whenever I paint my own nails since she passed away.
But in general, I’ve always been drawn to the color pink. Perhaps I got that from her.
While most females can say they went through pink phases growing up, I never stopped seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
Unfortunately, however, the color of bubblegum, flamingos, and rosé, isn’t beloved by all.
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For some, pink is just too girly.
It’s seen as sweet and innocent and in turn, “childish,” while for others, especially in the month of October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States), it is symbolic of strength and endurance.
It is these polarizing perceptions of the color that make it so important to understand how it can and should be used effectively in branding, design, and marketing.
Connotations and emotions of the color pink
Pink is often defined as simply “a lighter shade of red,” but it has a unique power all its own.
Baker-Miller Pink has even been scientifically proven to calm and sometimes weaken individuals after prolonged exposure, but that’s an extreme situation.
Pink, its primary cousin, red, is considered a warm color and, depending on the shade you use, can evoke a wide range of emotions.
Pair it with white or go bold and bright and pink exudes youth, fun, energy, edge, and confidence, designer Betsey Johnson below:
Go soft and subdued or alongside black with a traditional font, and it’s seductive, sophisticated, and calming, more Victoria’s Secret:
Regardless of the shade, however, one theme seems consistent in the western world (and with the brands mentioned above): femininity.
Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, so they say.
Before American First Lady Mamie Eisenhower declared it her favorite color in the 1950s, pink was actually more commonly worn by young boys, but today, it screams girlhood to most.
This also means it’s taken on many of the characteristics conventionally associated with women and young girls innocence, romance, tenderness, affection, sweetness, safety, and playfulness.
People think pink and they think cotton candy, baby girls, and flowers, and while all “nice” associations, they aren’t always taken positively.
When I asked some of IMPACT female coworkers about how they felt about the color, most said they disd it because it made them feel and look a little girl, who, unfortunately, can be quite vulnerable.
Because of these “girly” associations, pink can also be seen as delicate, harmless, or even weak. It is not seen as powerful or domineering.
This is part of the reason why it is not a very popular color for men and also why the Iowa Hawkeyes football team painted the visiting team locker room at Kinnick Stadium pink; to mock their opposing team.
For obvious reasons, this perspective is troubling. Things associated with women or girls should not be so automatically perceived as weak or meek.
Fortunately, there are many people and organizations trying to break this trend.
Take the color’s use in Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns:
Yes, pink highlights the fact that women are most heavily impacted by the disease, but it also combats the idea that the color is weak by making it one for fighters and survivors.
It is worn and displayed as a symbol of strength, unity, and support of those who face the relentless disease, and this is certainly not a feat for the weak.
Because of its “safe” connotations, pink can also be used as a color of defiance, rebellion, and innovation, especially when aligned with a more masculine brand or cutting edge offering.
How can such a “dainty” color achieve so many different emotions and messages?
Now that we know what pink can communicate, let’s take a look at how it has been used successfully by brands to reach different consumers and deliver different emotions.
1. Barbie: In one of the most iconic uses of pink by a brand, Mattel’s Barbie logo captures the youth and fun needed to appeal to its audience, but also the bold visual impact needed to show that Barbie is a strong female role model.
2. Victoria’s Secret PINK: We discussed Victoria’s Secret earlier, but its PINK line is also worth mentioning if the name didn’t already make that clear.
As a lingerie and intimate apparel brand for young, usually college-aged, women, the brand’s use of pink aligns perfectly with its target audience and also reflects its focus on playful and flirty products.
3. T-Mobile: T-Mobile is one of the world’s most prominent mobile communications companies. It captures this esteem by using a formal, serif font in its logo, but also attempts to show that it is innovative and forward-thinking by adding an unexpected splash of bright pink.
4. Lyft: Lyft has risen to fame in recent years by challenging traditional cab and taxi companies, offering job flexibility and independence, and overall transforming the public transportation industry, which has been unchanged for decades.
The company’s use of pink and a freeform font in its logo draws the eye and aligns well with this image of being contemporary and unconventional.
5. Pink Floyd: In a similar fashion, rock band Pink Floyd’s use of the color in its name and logo has come to reflect its trademark psychedelic sound as well as its reputation for being musically progressive.
6. Dribbble: A platform focused on providing and showcasing high-quality design inspiration, Dribbble uses a bold pink basketball to evoke a sense of creativity.
Now, even if a brand has chosen pink to be a major part of its identity those mentioned, using it on a website can be rather tricky.
Again, depending on the shade, if you use too much, it can be overwhelming. Use it sparingly, however, and it can provide the contrast and hierarchy you need to guide your users effectively.
Our friends at content marketing platform Uberflip have a rich magenta-pink logo that is hard to ignore and, as a brand, they’ve always embraced this.
In fact, a few years ago at INBOUND, they wore bright “Real Marketers Wear Pink” shirts that, to this day, I’m still upset that I never got my hands on.
Despite this ownership, however, the company opts to use pink as a highlight on its website rather than a base.
As you can see here, they use the color to draw your eye to important calls-to-action and engagement points such as live chat, watching their homepage video, and scheduling a demo.
While not the focus of the design, pink is used to emphasize the most important elements on the page and tell the user where to go at a glance:
Call me a narcissist, but I had to include this one.
RAMONA is a canned wine company that’s brand palette includes bright pink, orange, and yellow highlighting its refreshing fruit flavors and home state of California.
Un Uberflip, the company uses a solid pink background on its homepage.
You may think this may be a bit jarring, but they make it work by toning down their signature shade and using white and a minimalist design to still guide the user’s eye to key information:
Possibly more so than any other color, succeeding or failing with pink comes down to the message you’re trying to convey and your audience.
In the western world, especially the United States, the color is ly to be met with the emotions I described, but in other parts of the world, the connotations are far less prominent.
Looking at these brands and many others, it’s clear that pink is powerful and versatile. However, with such strong social connotations to some, you need to be strategic.
At the end of the day, you must know who you’re talking to and choose the right messaging to get everyone thinking pink.