Who Designed The LGBT Flag?

Who Designed The LGBT Flag?

The rainbow flag has become a global symbol of hope, acceptance, and pride. It is seen at parades, rallies, and demonstrations around the world—but who designed it? 

The quick answer is that it was designed by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist and gay rights activist. But as we all know, there's usually more to the story than just one person or event. Let's dive into the backstory of how this iconic flag came to be!

Who Created the Iconic LGBT Flag?

The Origin Story

In 1978, Harvey Milk—the first openly gay man elected to public office in California—asked Baker to design an emblem for the LGBT community. 

At first, Milk suggested using a pink triangle (which had been used by Nazi Germany to identify homosexuals) but Baker decided against it because he wanted something more positive and uplifting. He settled on a rainbow-coloured flag instead. 

The original design featured 8 stripes: hot pink representing sex; red for life; orange for healing; yellow for sunlight; green for nature; turquoise for magic; blue for serenity; and violet for spirit.

Gilbert Baker, the Man Behind the Design

Baker had his friends help him hand dye and stitch two large flags in time for Gay Pride Day in San Francisco on June 25th 1978. The flags were a hit with parade attendees! Afterward, demand skyrocketed as people began ordering their own copies of the flag from Baker’s studio. 

However, due to production costs and limited availability of certain colours of fabric dye, Baker soon simplified his design down to 6 stripes (hot pink was removed due to lack of fabric dye). 

Since then, there have been several variations on the basic 6-stripe design such as adding black and brown stripes to represent people of colour within the LGBT community or swapping out certain colours with other shades (e.g. changing blue from royal blue to navy).

The LGBT rainbow flag is a symbol of pride and acceptance for the LGBT community. But, who designed it? This iconic flag owes its design to Gilbert Baker, an artist and civil rights activist who sought to create a symbol of pride and solidarity for the LGBT community.

Baker was commissioned to design the flag in 1978, and it has since become an internationally-recognised and widely-used symbol of pride and acceptance.

Design & Meaning

The design of the flag consists of six stripes that each represent an aspect of LGBT identity. The colours of the flag are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Each colour of the flag has a special meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony, and violet for spirit. Together, these colours represent a unified community of strength and acceptance.

Symbol of Pride & Solidarity

The LGBT rainbow flag has become an international symbol of pride and solidarity for the LGBT community. It has been adopted by cities and countries around the world, and is widely used to show support for the LGBT community. The LGBT rainbow flag is a powerful symbol that helps to foster acceptance, inclusion, and understanding among people of all backgrounds and orientations.


Today, Gilbert Baker’s original six-striped LGBT flag remains one of the most recognized symbols in history. It has come to embody strength and resilience in the face of adversity and continues to unite people from all walks of life under its multi-colored banner. 

What started out as an idea from Harvey Milk became an enduring icon that will remain part of our cultural landscape long into the future!

Back to blog