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Is salmon color considered pink?

Is salmon color considered pink?

Salmon is a pale pink-orange color that resembles the flesh of salmon fish. The color ranges from a light peachy-pink to a deeper coral hue. While salmon is definitely in the pink color family, there is some debate around whether it should be considered a shade of pink or classified as its own distinct color.

The Origins of Salmon as a Color Name

Salmon has been used as a color name in the English language since at least the early 19th century. One of the earliest recorded uses of “salmon color” dates back to 1836 in a book called The Ladies’ Pocket Magazine. The term was used to describe fashion items like gloves, shoes, and ribbons of a rosy pinkish-orange hue.

The name salmon derives directly from the color of salmon flesh. When fresh, salmon ranges from a light pinkish-orange to a deeper reddish-orange depending on the species. So the name “salmon” was a very fitting way to describe this pale pinkish tone.

In addition to fashion, the color salmon became widely used in interior design during the Victorian era. It was frequently used on walls or for upholstery in sitting rooms and dining spaces. The warm peachy tone helped create a inviting, feminine aesthetic popular at the time.

Salmon vs. Pink

While salmon sits in the broad color family of pink, it is distinguished by its orange undertones. True pink is made by combining red and white. Salmon, on the other hand, incorporates orange into the mix, which dulls the color and makes it less intense.

Here are some key ways that salmon and pink differ:

  • Salmon has hints of peach and orange whereas pink does not.
  • Pink is brighter and more saturated while salmon is more muted.
  • Salmon leans towards red-orange while pink leans towards red-violet on the color wheel.

You can see the visual difference between salmon and pink in this color palette:

Salmon Colors Pink Colors
Light Salmon Pink
Salmon Light Pink
Dark Salmon Hot Pink

While pink and salmon are similar, salmon’s more peachy-orange hue sets it apart from true pink.

Is Salmon a Tint or Shade of Pink?

Some people may categorize salmon as simply a tint or shade of pink. But color theory does not support salmon being a variation of pink.

A tint of a color is made by mixing it with white to lighten it. For example, baby pink would be considered a tint of pink. A shade is created by mixing a color with black to make it darker. Fuchsia would be classified as a shade of pink.

Salmon is neither a tint nor shade. Instead, it is distinguished from pink by the inclusion of orange tones. This separates it as its own independent color, rather than being a lighter or darker version of pink.

Similar Colors to Salmon

Since salmon is not quite a pink or orange, some confusion exists around what colors are most similar to it. Here are the closest color relatives of salmon:

  • Peach – Peach is nearly identical to light or pale salmon. The colors are interchangeable.
  • Coral – Darker shades of salmon start approaching coral territory. The two overlap significantly.
  • Melon – Melon also mixes red-orange and some pink but is brighter than salmon.
  • Apricot – Apricot is more yellow based but still quite close to salmon colors.

Salmon can also be mistaken for: peach pink, tangerine, carnation pink, and sunset orange depending on the exact hue.

Salmon Color Palette

Salmon occurs across a spectrum from light to dark. Here are some of the most popular salmon color shades and their corresponding RGB values:

Salmon Color Name RGB Value
Light Salmon (255, 153, 153)
Salmon (250, 128, 114)
Dark Salmon (233, 150, 122)
Flame (226, 88, 34)
Tuscany (254, 128, 25)
Apricot (251, 206, 177)
Peach (255, 218, 185)

Salmon paint colors may also have creative names like salmon rose, sunset, punched salmon, hopper pink, or melon mambo.

Salmon vs Other Orange-Reds

There are a number of colors that sit close to salmon on the color wheel in the red-orange family. Here is how salmon differs from similar reddish-oranges:

  • Coral – Coral is darker and more intensely reddish than salmon.
  • Persimmon – Persimmon is brighter than salmon and lacks its pinkness.
  • Terracotta – Terracotta is more earthy, brownish and muted.
  • Cherry – Cherry red has a cool blue tone while salmon is warm.

While colors like persimmon, terracotta, and coral are often confused with it, salmon stands apart with its distinctive peachy-pink quality.

Salmon in Nature

In addition to inspiring the name, the color salmon is found prominently in the natural world. Here are some of the places you can spot salmon color in nature:

  • Salmon flesh – The appearance of salmon, from lighter pink salmon like chinook or sockeye to reddish-orange king salmon.
  • Coral – Branching coral reef formations often display salmon shades.
  • Flowers – Hibiscus, begonias, ranunculus, and chrysanthemums exhibit the salmon color.
  • Birds – Flamingos, scarlet ibises, and some canaries have salmon colored plumes.
  • Minerals – Carnelian, a semiprecious gemstone, is translucent orange-salmon.
  • Sunsets – The sky often turns soft shades of salmon during dusk.

Salmon is truly a color at home in the natural landscape that inspired its name.

Salmon Symbolism and Meanings

What does the color salmon represent and symbolize? Here are some of the symbolic meanings and associations of salmon:

  • Energy – In color psychology, the warm color salmon stimulates enthusiasm and creativity.
  • Approachability – Salmon has an inviting, friendly quality associated with its pink undertones.
  • Nourishment – Connected to salmon’s role in nature as food and provider of nutrients.
  • Vitality – The vibrant reddish-orange is full of life and vigor.
  • Femininity – Salmon’s soft pinkness has a delicate, feminine connotation.

However, salmon avoids being too intense or overpowering due its muted, relaxed tone.

Uses of the Salmon Color

What are some common uses for the salmon color?


In fashion, salmon is frequently used for women’s apparel and accessories. It provides a flattering complement for fair skin tones. You’ll see salmon utilized in clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry across both high fashion and everyday styles.

Interior Design

In home decor, salmon paint is widely used in living spaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms. It creates a cozy, welcoming aesthetic. Salmon works well on accent walls or to paint full rooms in a muted, neutral palette. Use salmon with creams or taupes for a relaxed vibe.


Salmon pink shows up in several foods, especially orange-fleshed fish like salmon. It’s also noticeable in dishes with shrimp, peaches, mangoes, cantaloupe, and carrots which have similar hues. Certain berries, fruit preserves, and frozen desserts lean into salmon shades as well.


For branding, salmon can convey a sense of energy and approachability. But it needs to be muted down to avoid looking too loud or bold. You’ll see salmon integrated in logos, packaging, or color schemes for health, beauty, and lifestyle brands targeting a female demographic.

Variations of Salmon

Like any color, salmon can be modified in many ways. Here are some salmon color variations:

  • Salmon pink – A very pale, baby pink-salmon tone.
  • Dark salmon – A reddish-salmon approaching coral.
  • Salmon red – Deeper and more scarlet-influenced.
  • Peach salmon – Heightened peachiness, less pink.
  • Smoked salmon – Dull, brownish gray salmon shade.

You can also modify salmon by saturating, brightening, darkening, or softening it. This alters the intensity and warmth of the color.


While closely related to pink, salmon stands on its own as a soft orange-red color that takes its name from the distinctive hue of salmon flesh. The color salmon carries connotations of energy, nourishment, and femininity. It occupies an important place among orange-red tones. Salmon may link to pink but contains enough definable orange qualities to be considered a separate, unique color.