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The 'Millennial pink' enigma

We live in a world where, when you look up ‘millennial’, the first google autocomplete option is ‘millennial pink’. How did it happen? Last time I remember seeing that pink was back in 2015 when Pantone picked ‘Rose quartz’, commonly known as ‘Baby pink’, as The Colour for the following year.

How did we get from seeing this childish colour and snobbing it as, yet another, silly Pantone wannabe popular colour, to having it omnipresent in all aspects of our daily life? And, even worse, associated to a whole generation that deserves its own status on Google autocomplete search?


millennial pink

First of all, we like things that are 'common' because we like their familiarity. The problem with this analysis is that what people like is not necessarily what they 'know'. In some cases we may actually like things more upon repeated exposure. We have seen pink in a number of situations during the past year, and somehow it became quite common and grew on us.

We can insert here a first theory called: ‘bucket theory of the mind’, which sees the brain as an empty vase, waiting passively to be filled with information.

According to this explanation our experience is a ‘bottom up’ process. Basically, if you see it enough, you will start thinking it’s something you enjoy and want to see even more!

And here we are, waltzing through life accumulating statistics and memories about ‘Rose quartz/ Millennial pink’. The more we come across this colour, the more chances we have to associate it with positive experiences, therefore liking it more.

Despite all this, there is another theory that tries to explain this ‘Millennial pink’ enigma from the opposite perspective: a ‘top down’ process.

Like your own obsessive Instagram account, the brain has encoded every event in your life and whether you liked it. Funny thing is, our memory of how we felt about something is stronger than our memory of actually having experienced it.

We can try to live in the moment, but how long is that moment before we are already editing it with the Instagram filters of our minds?

In a ‘top down’ world we see that we expect, or want, to see, rather than noticing ‘bottom up’ things, or in this case, colours. The brain likes to resolve randomness into a recognizable pattern. The more involved with media you are, just like our Millennial generation, the more you have been exposed to the colour pink in the past years. Did you actively notice any other colour in your insta-feed? Did you actually like Millennial pink at first? Do you even like it  now, or is it 'simply there'?

To put it bluntly: the grumpier you are the more assbutts you meet.



Post inspired by 'You may also like', a book by Tom Vanderbilt
Image: via

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