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Understanding The Color Theory Behind Pink and Its Uses

pink hue skyline

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 like 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.

understanding pink color theory

The color psychology of pink

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.

pink twilight

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)

Image Credit: Color Meanings

Shades of pink:

Pastel pink

pastel pink

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

light pink

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 #FFB6C1
    • RGB 255, 182, 193
    • CMYK 0, 29, 24, 0

Baby pink

baby pink

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

dark pink

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

rouge

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

neon pink

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

hot pink

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

Pink logos - color identity in brand design
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

barbie logo

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

Adobe_InDesign-Logo

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?

Baskin Robbins

Baskin-Robbins_logo

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!

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