After making and flying the first rainbow pride flag in 1978, demand for the flag grew. For the next San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1979, three-striped banners were flown from the lampposts along the parade route; one side flying red, orange, and yellow, and the other side flying green, blue, and purple. Putting these two together, you get the 6-stripe flag that is near universal today.
Due to its universality, the rainbow flag has become the starting point for many designs. Some variants focus on areas of the community that generally don't see as much recognition in the public eye – such as people of color in Philadelphia's 2017 design, transgender people in the Progress flag, and even national variants such as a South African flag with the colours replaced.
The rainbow flag emoji 🏳️🌈 was added to the Unicode standard in 2016. As of 2021, it was the third most popular flag emoji, according to data collected by Unicode.
The only other pride flag in the Unicode standard is the transgender flag 🏳️⚧️.