Color Meaning, Affects, Significance, and Symbolism for Art, Literature, and Emotions

Red red squares

Orange orange squares

Yellow yellow squares

Green green squares

Blue blue squares

Indigo indigo squares

Purple - Violet purple squares

White white squares

Blackblack squares

Brown brown squares

Grey grey squares

Pink pink squares

Gold gold squares

Silver silver squares


Activity: Culture and Color

Color study or Investigation of color in culture:
Etymology, literature, fashion, historical symbolism … sample for color pink


  1. Ask students to brainstorm how color is used.
  2. Share their ideas and list different categories for color use.
    • Symbolism
    • Emotional meaning
    • In literature
    • Etymology use of word
    • Fashion, textiles, dyes, and paint
    • History of different cultural use and meaning.
  3. Share You tube clip for CBS Sunday Morning show documentary on the color pink. (5:57).
  4. Discuss and organize information about the culture and the color pink. See information below.
  5. Have students select a color, research, and create a presentation.
  6. Share progress as research.
  7. Make a presentation to the class.


Color pink fact sheet


Pink flower image1650 Pink is first used to describe the color pink. Origin from the common name of the dianthus flower: commonly called pinks.

Earlier pinked is used for serrated or scalloped edge, as a cut made with pinking shears.

Used with other words

pink elephant, pink eye, pink panther, Pink Floyd, Pink singer,

Fashion, textiles, and dyes

Cochineal was used in South and Central America since 450 CE as a scarlet, pink, and red fabric dye. Cochineal, is a dye made from the Dactylopius coccus, a scale insect that lives on prickly pear cactus.

Spain took cochineal to Europe and used in clothing for both sexes. They kept it secret for years. It was expensive and became the go to color for aristocrats and people of means (1700’s).

Couple of soureces: History of dyes and technology of making dye


Pinkie a portrait of Sarah Moulton, by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1794). Here pink represents youth, innocence and tenderness.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Amy uses color to distinguish twin babies.

"Most remarkable children I ever saw. Which is which?" and Laurie bent like a well-sweep to examine the prodigies."
"Amy put a blue ribbon on the boy and a pink on the girl, French fashion, so you can always tell. Besides, one has blue eyes and one brown.”

Eloise by Kay Thompson (actress, composer, and singer) and illustrated by Hilary Knight who uses black and white illustrations with pink highlights.

Movie Legally Blonde 2001 movie where main character is fond of pink and submits her resume on pink paper.

Movie Mean Girls (pink Wednesdays)

Singer Pink



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes &