The Many Tones and Undertones of Color Pink

by Tolovaj

Pink color is especially popular among girls but this is true for less than hundred years. While it looks like a simple mixture, there are hundreds of known pink tones.

Do you wonder how pink color got its name? Or maybe what other colors go well with it? On what occasions it is suitable for guys and why they use it in some correctional facilities?

Believe it or not, they discover new shades and tints of pink ever year!

So here we go with ten rosy facts about the color pink...

What colors make pink?

... and what to wear with it?

1. Basically you need only red and white. Higher the level of red, more energetic pink you will get, higher the level of white, more  pale tone will be achieved. But if you add a pinch of yellow or blue or both, you can still mix interesting pinkish colors with surprisingly original names.

Unfortunately it seems just everybody with more than five minutes of spare time created his own list of pink colors and the same name is used on different (or even on the same) lists for completely different shades of probably the most controversial member of the color wheel.

Here is just one, far from being complete, list of pink shades...

2. Pink is associated with sensitivity and tenderness, caring and intimacy. It is color of innocence but with addition of blue it slowly transfers from romance to passion as approaches the violet on the color scale.

Pink-rose-gift-boxPink works great in different combination. While black or white are classic where it is really hard to miss, we should consider the age of the wearer. White with more energetic tones of pink is more suitable for youngsters, pale shades of pink in combination of black can be great on more mature women. But using a complimentary color as navy or indigo blue, maybe even olive green can make great impression too, especially if we like really lively and colorful appearance.

(image credit, all other images are public domain)

Today majority or Western world 'allows' pink clothes only to the fair sex. Men can only opt for accessories like ties, maybe occasional shirt (and please, don't call it pink, it is salmon!) and some ornamental details.

Because of its calming effect pink is sometimes used to color the walls of places where certain degree of violence is expected. This includes prisons and mental hospitals. Its pale shades have so strong psychological effect they can actually cause physical weakness what is already used in sports like football - to paint the walls of opponents' locker rooms!

Why girls like pink?

3. A study of neuroscientists at Newcastle University in 2007 showed women might be biologicaly more inclined to prefer reddish tones while men prefer greenish. They both actually like blue most of all colors but in experiment volunteers of both genders had to move from blue to their favorite mix of colors as fast as possible.jeans go well with pink

Experiment showed fair sex liked pink and lilac most of all and some scientists speculate this could be a consequence of traditional roles and divisions of labor (women spent more time with kids checking their health through the color of their skin and picking berries where red is preferred color in both cases). To support this theory more studies, especially with kids without  learned preferences should be done.

4. Although the above mentioned Newcastle's study matches with 'pink is for girls theory', history tells different stories. Red was initially reserved for royalties and when the pigment was washed out, it became pinkish. So in many societies this was actually color associated with power and when first nurseries in 1920s started using different colors for boys and girls they choose pink for boys.

Pink is a variation of red after all and red is the color of energy and power (think about red sport cars). Blue on the other hand is associated with Virgin Mary which is traditionally portrayed in blue dress (there was a period in art when baby Jesus wore pink).

Is pink suitable for boys?

Madonna and Child by Ducio di Buoninsegnia
Madonna and Child by Ducio di Buoninsegnia

People had mixed feelings about best colors for certain gender way into 20th century, what can clearly be seen in Disney's adaptation of classic fairy tale of Cinderella, where two fairies change the princess dancing dress from blue to pink and back to the very end of the story. I managed to find only one traditional fairy story where this color has notable role. It is less known tale by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm titled Pink (after the flower from genus Dianthus with carnation as most representable member) about a boy who's all wishes came true.

Only after World War 2 the idea of pink for girls was accepted and only in 1980s really caught on with massive prenatal baby gender tests because suddenly expectant mothers could buy individualized clothes for little girls or little boys, not babies anymore.

More individualized products you can sell, higher the profits.

This means the idea of pink for girls is actually a product of consumerism.

The symbolism

5. The most know pink symbol today is pink ribbon, made to promote breast cancer awareness. It was inspired by yellow ribbon, symbol of support to American hostages in Iran in late 1970s and red ribbon as AIDS awareness symbol in the 1980s.

6. We must also mention pink triangle as a symbol of modern gay rights movement which is inspired by pink triangle (turned upside down) used in Nazi concentration camps to mark prisoners accused of 'sexual deviance', with homosexuality on the top of the list.

Symbol of alliance of gay rights and space without homophobia

Homosexuality was not decriminalized for decades after the war so after the liberation of camps many prisoners were directly transported to other prisons.

Important part of pop culture

7. Pink Panther was the title of parody on detective movies where the plot was constructed around very special diamond. The character of pink panther was made only to make the movie credits more interesting but it was so impressive, he earned his own series of animated movies with more than one hundred cartoons.

8. Pink Cadillac was mentioned in Baby, Let's Play house, one of earliest songs by Elvis Presley. He sprayed his first (and second and the roof of the third) Cadillac with pink color which was not available as standard color for cars. The image was accepted together with The King and it soon became an cadillac in graceland

About ten years after Elvis Mary Kay painted her first Cadillac with pink 'to suit the tones of lipsticks she was selling'. Pink Cadillac soon became her signature sign and when her company grew into multimillion dollar business most successful producers were awarded with very special awards - each got a pink Cadillac.

9. Pink flamingos origin in Leominster, Massachusetts, sometimes called the plastic capital of the world. They were designed in 1957 to add 'something special' to suburban houses which thanks to post war reconstruction projects looks pretty much the same. A pair of plastic pink flamingos soon became a decorative standard for the yards and later the synonym for kitsch and bad taste in general. There is a successful movie with them in title too.

Photo of pink flamingos

10. Pink Floyd didn't get their name after the color. They made their first performances under the name Tea Set before they noticed there already is another band with the same name. So Syd Barrett created new name from the names of two of his favorite blues musicians: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council to make Pink Floyd Blues Band or shorter Pink Floyd Sound. They soon dropped the last part of the name to become Pink Floyd and the rest is history.

Now you know.

Updated: 01/09/2024, Tolovaj
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Tolovaj on 09/16/2023

At the moment, thanks to globalization, pink is mostly associated with girls while blue is acceptable for everybody.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/14/2023

Your first fact, What colors make pink?... and what to wear with it?, caused me to consider your comment elsewhere about Valentino Garavani discounting black and red colors.

And yet red and white make pink, which shows up in Garavani collectionable bags, dresses and skirts!

Blue and pink would be respectively associated with boys and girls in the United States. Would you know whether that association holds in Europe or elsewhere?

Tolovaj on 12/14/2015

Thanks, MBC, I'll look at it.

MBC on 12/13/2015

The Youtube you have here is no longer available - find another or remove it.

Tolovaj on 12/04/2015

You are right, blackspaniegallery, we live in a colorful world!

blackspanielgallery on 11/01/2015

So much about a color, interesting.

Tolovaj on 10/05/2015

While pink never appeared too attractive to me, I started to look at it with different eyes since i wrote the article:) Thanks, WriterArtist, for stopping by.

WriterArtist on 09/22/2015

There is so much to the colors, that's why we pick up certain colours for events. Pink is a soothing colour, I especially like pink colored fabric and pink gemstones.

Tolovaj on 07/25/2015

Indeed! Thanks, blackspanielgallery:)

blackspanielgallery on 07/24/2015

Pink does have a great number of shades.

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