Why is the Hospital Pink? How a Brand’s Color Affects Emotion.

Barbie2Earlier this week I was at Tulsa’s “Pink Palace;” Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma….one of our state’s “pride and joy” organizations!  My husband is having a minor surgery of a delicate nature.  He’d kill me if I shared so I’ll spare you and him both and further detail!

We had an early morning start—5:15am—and pulling into the huge pink structure; like every other hundredth time I’ve pulled into this place, evokes the same feeling.  It’s hard to describe but terror seems to be the most appropriate description. Despite that feeling, the color pink is considered the universal color of love.  It also represents friendship, affection, harmony, and inner peace!

Was the psychology of the color part of the strategy when Bill Warren and Natalie Overall-Warren, the founders of the hospital, opened the hospital’s doors in 1960?  Perhaps.  In the waiting room as I write this, I do feel at peace.

After conducting a little research, including a Pink Lady interview (ok…just her smock is pink)….I found 4 alternative explanations as to why the hospital is pink.

Option 1 — Mrs. Warren picked out the pink marble that was used for the original structure.  Her reasoning was, the quarry where the marble came from would never run out of that color so with expansion; there would be no color variations using mixed materials.

Option 2 — Pink was Mrs. Warren’s favorite color and Mr. Warren wanted to surprise her.

Option 3 — There was a massive strawberry patch on the land where Saint Francis was built. Although the strawberries had to go, the color would forever remain.

Option 4 — Mr. Warren purchased, in Australia, a very rare pink diamond that he gave to his bride. She loved it so much and wanted to share the love that the diamond represented to all patients forevermore.

One theory from me: The color of watered-down blood.

Here’s what the experts say about color:

SOHK - What experts say about color

Red – Active, Fire, Emotional, Passionate, Intensity, Aggressiveness.  (Target, Pinterest, YouTube)

Blue – Comfort, Conservative, Calm, Trust, Confident (Ford, Facebook)

Yellow – Fresh, Energetic, Joy, Alive (McDonald’s, Cheerios, Bust Buy)

Green – Peaceful, Hopeful (Starbucks, Clary Sage College)

Purple – Glamour, Romantic, Introspective, Power (FedEx, Yahoo)

Orange – Creative, Determined, Sunshine, Stimulates, Enthusiastic, Activity (Amazon, Fanta)

Black – Mystery Bold, Serious, Luxurious (Tiffany & Co, Apple)

Pink – Feminism, Love, Warmth, Friendship, Affection (Barbie, Saint Francis)

Brown – Mother Earth, Reliability, Dependability (ups, M & M’s)

Does your brand’s color mean anything to you or your customers?

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  1. Pam on April 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Color can enhance a brand just as color can enhance your home or even your look with a new hair color.

  2. Lanette Giese on November 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    During my formative years at Tulsa Vocational School starting in 1972, Commercial Art taught me the importance of color in Marketing & Design. Growing up in Tulsa I saw St. Francis built & grow through the years. It’s nice to see someone else finally question the pink treatment of the outside of St. Francis Hospital. I always assumed it was the wife that decided on pink for the outside. I always liked it!

  3. Renee' La Viness on October 23, 2018 at 9:59 am

    The Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital, where all my kids were born, is pink, too. Wait. It’s the OSU hospital, now. But, it’s always been pink. I wonder what color St. John’s and Hillcrest are? Most hospitals I see are pink, though. That’s what I searched, today. Wondering why. lol…

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