Half a century ago, in 1972, Pride UK became the premier event in the region’s LGBTQ+ calendar. maake offers inspiration on how to celebrate rainbow flag colours in design

June was Pride month and 2 years ago, in 2022, we celebrated half a century of this establishment; it represented taking Pride colours to the next level. Even the Royal Mint celebrated this historic event. They issued a special colourful 50p coin to commemorate Pride UK, whose highly anticipated annual parades are eye-catching celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community.

Two thousand people attended the first official Pride UK parade in London in 1972. These days, kaleidoscopic, carnival-like Pride UK parades are a major attraction and over 1.5 million people attend. Indeed, if you search online, you’ll find over 150 events are held every year throughout the UK. These colourful events have an important meaning: each represents inclusivity, social equality and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.

What do the colours of the Pride flag mean?

The flamboyant celebrations celebrated a lot more than solidarity in 2022. The shades also identify the symbol and identify of Pride as a design language.

Every year, different brands honour Pride Month with specially created products that symbolise the solidarity and community of Pride. Those products are a symbol in every way; they celebrate the people who identify with Pride. Yes, this identity is now an accepted part of the 21st century. 

The Pride flag

The Pride flag is a symbol of Pride month and the LBGTQ+ community. The creation of this Pride flag that also includes white, black and pastel shades, has changed many times over the years. In fact, it's very different to the one created by Gay Rights activist Gilbert Baker in 1978 to celebrate Gay Pride month in San Francisco. Baker used the rainbow as inspiration along with the American flag and the pop art movement. This is how the Baker rendition became known as the rainbow flag. The color stripe in the Baker rendition was originally created using red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

The rainbow Pride flag is completely different to the Baker interpretation. It is a symbol of Pride to this day. It is one of the most popular images on products people create to celebrate Pride month. It’s a visual reminder that requires no language or explanation. It's the perfect symbol of the LGBTQ+ community’s identity as well as support for the community.

Times have changed. So has the original Pride flag

Over time, the meaning of the bisexual Pride flag has changed. Here's an excellent example. During the Covid Pandemic, there was a trend in Italy: people used rainbow shades to show thanks and appreciation to healthcare workers.

The revival of these shades continues, with Pride colors shown through textile designs and every imaginable product, including food.

Pride flags have changed standards dramatically over the years. There are now over 20 flags these days rather than just the original. And they represent more than just the LGBTQ+ community. They began to include other gender communities – people of colour (usually represents with a black stripe or a brown one), those living with HIV/Aids and the trans community (pink and blue), too. There’s even a gender queer Pride flag, a lesbian Pride flag and a nonbinary Pride flag.

The trans gender Pride flag created in 1999 was by artist Monica Helms, who used white, pastel blue and pink. Pastel pink and blue are self-explanatory, and white represents those people who don’t identify with a particular gender.

One of the more well-known LGBTQ+ flags is the Philadelphia Pride Flag, designed in 2017 as part of the “More Color More Pride” campaign in that US city. It includes black and brown stripes to represent people of color. 

The Progress Pride Flag

The Pride flag with stripes changed colors as well as what the Pride flag means. We call the most recent Pride flag ‘the Progress Pride Flag’; it incorporates many of the other flags into one. American artist/designer Daniel Quasar designed it in 2018 – and it went viral overnight. 

The focus of this Pride flag is on ‘inclusion and progression’ and it includes a horizontal stripe pattern to incorporate various different gender communities, including people of color, trans gender (pink and blue), those who do not conform to a specific gender and/or undefined communities.

In 2020, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London received a bespoke applique version of this particular Pride flag with stripes. It is currently on display in the gallery’s Design 1900 – Now gallery. This rainbow Pride flag is a blueprint that represents Pride in all its manifestations.

In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti created a new rainbow Pride flag, called the Intersex Progress flag. He also designed interchangeable parts of the current Intersex Pride flag (he created the arrow and the background). This has enabled people to use it in many different ways for merchandise.

It’s likely that the creative language of Pride shades will continue to evolve, as will every Pride flag. 

Styles and colour of Pride

LGBTQ+ colors are seen everywhere, and not just in Pride month. And as 2022 celebrates 50 years of this movement, this year's offerings are more magnificent and varied.

Mac Cosmetics recently brought out an entire range of lipsticks to celebrate this milestone – and yes, it included blue as well as pink! Other celebratory products include T-shirts, sneakers and watches. And let's not forget that 50p coin.

Many companies are creating products not just to make money. They also want to find out about different communities so that they can support them. They do this by making donations to LGBTQ+ causes or offering a portion of their profits from dedicated products to various establishments.

Celebrating Pride in design

maake celebrates color every day, as this is part of the make-up of our business. As fabric printers, textile and wallpaper manufacturers, we embrace color in every aspect of what we do. We whole-heartedly acknowledge the talent, creativity and expertise required to operate a company like ours. maake understands the psychology of color and how different colors like white, soft pink and bright hues celebrate what Pride stands for, namely acceptance, awareness, connection, community and tolerance.

To find out more about the psychology of color and how it affects our emotions, read our informative blog to learn all about it.

maake is a creative, sustainable company that cares a lot about the people who inhabit our planet. We acknowledge the creativity and the talent needed when masterpieces are created. We offer over 15,000 designs created by individual artists; you can use these patterns to print on our textiles. And each time you choose a pattern to use on your items, the artist who created that pattern receives a payment. 

Like other companies all over the world, we celebrate these colours year-round - not just in June. We acknowledge the beauty of those kaleidoscope hues, monochrome black and white and pastel pink and blue, colors used by individuals and artists who have created them into magnificent designs. We honour diversity, change and community year-round, not just in Pride month. It’s something we do without thinking every day. And it’s our way of showing support for every community, no matter how different or how small.

How to use these shades in your designs

One of the best things about printing with maake is that we don’t limit the number of shades you use in a design. There's no need to worry about the cost of printing. We don’t charge you for the number of colors you use.

It's not easy to create with a variety of shades, even if you use white as well. Let’s give you some information about the ways designers have made this work…

Tips to use Pride colours effectively on an intersex or agenda flag, etc

      • Use neutral shades like black, white, gray or beige. Black, white and other neutral hues will balance the bright hues.
      • You don't need to use every color, or white. Perhaps only use some of the shades, or leave out one color, or more, depending on what works for you. If you have most of the rainbow flag hues and black, or include soft pink and blue to show gender, people will realise what you’re referring to, without having to show them the whole picture.
      • Use some artistic licence and make the hues work for you. If you do use all the shades, white and black included, they don’t have to follow the original format. Play with them and make the creation your own. You can create impact if you play with color creatively.
      • Use light and shade with the colors to create something quite unique. And use texture to create depth. You can create this effect in various ways: 3D, brush strokes, mosaics… The shades are there for you to play with.
      • Use the shades to achieve the effect you’re after in the Pride flag, no matter whether it’s a gender pride flag, intersex pride flag or represents another particular gender.
      • Think about the hues you intend to use. This is the best way to represent these hues. It's an ingenious way of portraying them in a way that is completely unique.
      • Color has an impact on our emotions. Use those colourful and pastel pink shades to do this in your design. Modern art usually represents rainbows as full of festivity and cheer. Use that to your advantage in your designs.
      • Use color instinctively. Or use modern design to achieve what you want. Make it new and unique.

      Create your own pattern on our site

Create your rainbow flag

If you don’t want to design your own, shop one of our designs that use RGB colours to print on maake’s fabrics and create a Pride flag:

Rainbow pride

Philli inclusive pride

Geometric heart pride light

Geometric heart pride dark


Incorporate rainbow flag shades into one of our 15,000+ designs for your Pride resources...

Take your pick, from white to bright.