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Is Pink a Warm Color, or Cool?

Today in our color mixing exploits, we have a new rabbit-hole to dive into. The question at hand is: “Is pink a warm color, or is it a cool one?” Let’s find out by a systematic and hands-on approach.

First, some background. My name is Lillie and I’m an artist and teacher who delights in swirling colors together to see what happens — as we saw in “Brown and Pink Make What Color?”

Is pink a warm color?
Is pink a warm color?

Warm vs. Cool Colors

What’s the difference between warm and cool colors? My illustration above helps illustrate. On the left side, you’ll see that red, orange, and yellow are warm colors, meaning they have a fiery, energetic zest to them — and almost seem to pop out to give you a warm and passionate hug.

Meanwhile, on the right side of my drawing are cool colors: green, blue, and purple. These colors are so named because they are more relaxed, tranquil, calm, and stately. They are often seen as more “professional” for clothing and decor, because they don’t pop out at you as much. They often evoke scenes of natural beauty, like a green meadow with blue sky.

Is Pink a Warm Color?

Now wait — where would pink be on that illustration of the warm-cool color divide? Well, depending on which method you choose of what colors make pink in the version you’re using, pink can be EITHER a warm OR cool color!

The color pink is essentially in the liminal space between the left edge of my drawing (red) and the right edge (purple). Let me show you…

Pink is a cool color OR warm color!
Pink is a cool color OR warm color!

Warm vs. Cool Pinks

Warm pinks are those with red, orange, or yellow undertones, that are made by mixing red with white, or reddish-orange with white to create a tint (lighter version). This is where we get those warm peachy, salmony pinks (like what pink and yellow make or what pink and orange make). Note that these warm pinks don’t usually contain blues.

Meanwhile, cool pinks are made by mixing red with a little blue to form a purplish-red like magenta, then adding various amounts of white. This is where we get the fuchsias, mauves, and hot pinks that give an almost icy coolness that comes from the blue-purple undertones, like what pink and purple make.

“Is Pink a Warm Color?” Answered

I hope that this article has answered whether pink is warm or cool — even if the “It depends” answer is a little confusing! Also, do bear in mind that the concept of “warm” or “cool” can be relative. If two pinks are next to each other that are both warm on their own, in contrast to each other, one might seem “cooler” if it has a tad more blue in it. Ahh — colors are endlessly fascinating!

Want more? See “Pink and blue make what color?”