Pink Color Symbolism and Meaning

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Pink is a color that occurs quite rarely in nature, much like purple. Since it’s not a color of the visible light spectrum, some say that it doesn’t actually exist. This argument is much debated however, since the color pink can actually be found in nature, especially in the flesh and shells of crustaceans like crabs or lobsters and in certain flowers. It’s an extra-spectral color and needs to be mixed in order to generate it.

This gives pink an ethereal and almost artificial feel. Regardless, it remains one of the most important colors in terms of symbolism. In this article, we’re going to dig a little bit into the history of the color pink, the symbolism behind it and what its used for today.

Symbolism of the Color Pink

Pink flowers
Pink flowers

The color pink symbolizes charm, sensitivity, tenderness, the feminine, politeness and the romantic. It’s a delicate color associated with flowers, babies, little girls and bubble gum. Pink also stands for universal love of others and of oneself.   When combined with black, the color pink symbolizes eroticism and seduction.

However, the color has some negative connotations. For example, it can represent a lack of self-worth, self-reliance and will power, and can also indicate an overly emotional and cautious nature.  

  • Good health. The color pink signifies good health. The phrase ‘being in the pink’ means being at the peak of health and in perfect condition. Generally, having pink cheeks or a rosy hue is believed indicate healthiness while a lack of pink, or paleness, is a sign of illness.
  • Feminity. When people think about the color pink, they immediately associate it with all things girly and feminine. It’s a popular color for dressing baby girls while blue is used for boys. When a male wears pink, it’s slightly unusual and more eye-catching. However, today, an increasing number of men are open to wearing pink.  
  • Pink symbolizes support for breast cancer. Pink is an important color associated with the breast cancer support movement. The pink ribbon expresses moral support for all women with breast cancer and is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness.
  • Caring and innocent. The color pink symbolizes a loving, caring nature as well as the innocence of the child.  

Symbolism of Pink in Different Cultures

Japan pink cherry blossoms
Japan pink cherry blossoms
  • In Japan, the color pink is associated with springtime, when cherry blossoms bloom. Although pink is generally considered a feminine color, the Japanese wear it regardless of gender and it actually relates more to men than it does to women.
  • In the US and Europe, pink is strongly associated with sweet beverages and foods. It’s also associated with the female gender.
  • In Southern Indian culture, the pastel tone of pink is considered a bright, happy color that brings joy.
  • Koreans view pink as symbolic of trust and faith.
  • In China, pink is considered to be a shade of red and therefore, it has the same symbolism as red. It’s a lucky color that’s believed to bring good fortune and represents purity, joy and good fortune. .

Positive and Negative Aspects of Pink

The color pink can have a strong impact on the human mind. It’s a mentally stimulating color that reduces violent behaviour, making people feel more controlled and calmer. This is why many prisons have pink cells in which to contain aggressive and violent prisoners. After some time in one of these cells, violence and aggression is significantly toned down. Darker shades of pink can heighten ones emotions while paler pinks are much more soothing to the mind.

Pink is a color that should be used in moderation since too much of it can make one viewed as girlish, childish and immature. If you surround yourself in an excess of pink, it’s possible that others may think you don’t want to be taken seriously.

Personality Color Pink – What It Means

If you’re a personality color pink, meaning that it’s your favorite color, you may find some of the following character traits match your personality. However, note that color associations can be heavily affected by your experiences, cultural influences and personal taste which are just few of many factors that could impact how you feel about it.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most common characteristics associated with personality color pinks.

  • People who love pink are very sociable and make friends very quickly.
  • They’re optimistic and excitable to the point where they may be viewed as immature.
  • They have very strong feminine traits.
  • They’re very nurturing people and make great nurses or parents and you’re sensitive to the needs of others.
  • They’re romantic and sensual individuals.
  • Personality color pinks find it rather difficult to become self-reliant.
  • They’re refined, calm and non-violent who are often mistaken for being too shy.
  • Their deepest need is to be loved unconditionally.

The Use of Pink in Fashion and Jewelry

Girl wearing blush wedding dress
Bride wearing pink
Man wearing pink t-shirt
Man wearing pink

Pink is currently one of the most unexpected color trends in the fashion industry. It’s highly popular among both men and women nowadays and looks great on almost any skin tone. Olive skin tones look amazing in fuchsia and vibrant pinks since they reflect a rosy glow against the skin.

Many people state the color pink is perfect for when they need to shake up their mood and feel happier. Brighter shades of pink are perfect for summer and spring, while muted shades can be worn all year round.

Pink generally looks best with green or yellow, but you can also match it with purple or red. In fact, pairing pink and red is now one of the coolest combinations, although it was once thought of as a fashion faux pas.

In terms of jewelry and accessories, a little pink adds a touch of color to neutrals or muted shades. Adding pink jewelry to your ensemble is a nice way to add color without going overboard.

Rose gold has become one of the hottest jewelry trends, and among the most popular colors for engagement rings. The benefit of rose gold is that it suits any skin tone, and blends in beautifully with most other colors.

In terms of gemstones, pink sapphire, pink diamond, morganite, and rose quartz are among the most popular choices. These have been trending in recent years, especially with the increase in interest in colored gemstones.

Pink Through the Ages

Pink in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Period

While the origin of the color pink isn’t exactly clear, it has been mentioned in literature since ancient times. It wasn’t a commonly used color in the Middle Ages, but it did sometimes appear in religious art and women’s fashion.

During the Renaissance period, the painting ‘Madonna of the Pinks’ was created portraying the Christ child presenting the Virgin Mary with a pink flower. The flower was symbolic of a spiritual union between the child and the mother. Paintings during this time depicted people with pink faces and hands, since it was used as a substitute for the color of flesh. 

The pink pigment that was used at the time was called light cinabrese. It was a mix of a white or lime white pigment and a red earth pigment called sinopia. Light cinabrese was very popular and was a favorite of many famous Renaissance artists like Cennino Cennini and Raphael who incorporated it into their paintings.

Pink in the 18th Century

The color pink reached its zenith in the 18th century, the time when pastel colors were highly fashionable in all the European courts. The mistress of King Louis XVdonned combinations of pink and pale blue. She even had a specific pink tint made just for her by the Sevres porcelain factory, created by adding shades of black, blue and yellow.

Pink was used as a color of seduction in the portraits of Lady Hamilton and Emma made by George Romney. But this meaning changed towards the end of the 18th century, with the famous portrait of Sarah Moulton by Thomas Lawrence. In the painting the color pink was symbolic of tenderness and childhood innocence. Thus pink became associated with femininity, innocence and purity.

Pink in the 19th Century

Pink was quite a popular color in England in the 19th century, with young boys wearing decorations or ribbons in the color. In the late nineteenth-century, French impressionist painters who worked with pastel colors sometimes painted women wearing pink. An example is  the image of ballet dancers by Edgar Degas.

Pink in the 20th Century – Present

In 1953, Mamie Eisenhower wore a gorgeous pink dress for the US presidential inauguration of her husband Dwight Eisenhower, marking a turning point for the color pink. Thanks to Mamie’s love for pink, it became a color that ‘all ladylike women would wear’ and a color associated with girls.

Brighter, bolder and more assertive pinks were being made with the creation of chemical dyes which didn’t fade. Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian designer, was the pioneer in the manufacture of new pinks. She mixed the color magenta with a little white and the result was a new shade, which she called ‘shocking pink’.

Pink was also used by the inmates of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany. Those who were accused of being homosexuals were made to wear a pink triangle. This led to the color becoming a symbol of the gay rights movement.

Although pink was first described as a masculine color, it gradually became a feminine color. Today, people instantly associate pink with girls while blue is for boys. This has continued to be the accepted norm since the 1940s.

In Brief

The different qualities of the color pink give it a dynamic edge that’s loved by many people. While the symbolism of this color can change according to religion or culture, it remains a favorite of many people and is used extensively throughout the world in fashion, jewelry and art.


Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.

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