The Story Behind the Color Palette

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This alone made Milk a hero to the queer community. However, he took it another step further: Milk sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11–1, and it was signed into law by Mayor George Moscone. Milk became a legend for fighting for the systemic rights of queer folks.

At this time many of the gay icons that were used were reclaimed symbols of oppression, such as the pink triangle that was branded onto us by the nazis. Milk wanted to see a new symbol that we chose and inspires us. Milk charged Gilbert Baker with creating this symbol. Baker ultimately settled upon a rainbow flag.

Original eight-stripe version designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978

In June 2017 Google decided to celebrate pride month by adding Baker’s original 8-colored rainbow flag to every queer-related search result.

I was simply entranced by the beauty of the shades of those 8 colors. They are clean, simple, and uplifting. I decided to save an image with each of those 8 colors on them so I could use them for future projects.

Over time I ended up wanting a darker and lighter variation of those colors. In the program called I shifted them to be darker by 21% and lighter by 21%. I finally had my perfect palette.

Today I use the original colors for almost every art project that I work on. Just check out my portfolio and see how often and how many different ways I’ve ended up using them.. These colors resonate with me in ways that I have never had before, and its neat 🙂

Anyway, that is the history of my color palette!