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 Pride colours in design

June was Pride month and this year, celebrating half a century of this establishment has a different meaning; it represents taking Pride colors to the next level. Even the Royal Mint is celebrating this historic event. They have 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 Pride colors mean to you?

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 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 colour stripes in the Baker rendition were originally created using red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

The rainbow 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 gay community’s identity as well as support for the community.

Times have changed. So has the original color of 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 represented by black stripes or brown ones), those living with HIV/Aids and the trans community (pink and blue), too. There’s even a genderqueer Pride flag, a lesbian Pride flag and a nonbinary Pride flag.

The transgender 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 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 flag with stripes changed colors as well as what the flag means. We call the most recent 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 horizontal stripes to incorporate various different gender communities, including people of colour, 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 flag is a blueprint that represents Pride in all its manifestations.

In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti created a new 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 its flags. 

Styles of Pride colors

These 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 resources.

Celebrating Pride colors 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 colour and how it affects our emotions, read our informative blog here.

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 colors year-round - not just in June. We acknowledge the beauty of those kaleidoscope colors, 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 Pride colours in your designs

One of the best things about printing with maake is that we don’t limit the number of colors 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 colors, even if you use white as well. Let’s explore some of the ways designers have made this work…

Tips to use Pride colours effectively on an intersex Pride flag or an agenda Pride 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 colour, or white. Perhaps only use some of the colors, or leave out one colour, or more, depending on what works for you. If you have most of the rainbow colors and black, or include soft pink and blue, 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 colors, 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 colors are there for you to play with.
  • Use the colors to achieve the effect you’re after in the flag, no matter whether it’s a gender pride flag, intersex pride flag and so on.
  • Think about the colors you intend to use. This is the best way to represent these colors. 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 depicts rainbows as full of festivity and cheer. Use that to your advantage in your designs.
  • Use colour instinctively. Or use modern design to achieve what you want. Make it new and unique.

Create your own pattern