Get to Know the Gray Color: Color of Intelligence

The gray color is often referred to as a dull color, which is probably why many people think that this color is not very useful or is often a wrong choice.

But in this article, I want to show you the impressive world of gray. Which, by the way, is my favorite color!

How is the Gray color obtained?

Gray, In an RGB color space (made from three colored lights for red, green, and blue), hex #BABABA is made of 72.94% red, 72.94% green, and 72.94% blue. In a CMYK color space (also known as process color, or four colors, and used in color printing), hex #BABABA is made of 0% cyan, 0% magenta, 0% yellow, and 27% black.

Hot burning barbecue(BBQ) coals with different shades of gray ashes

In general, color coordination also depends on the physiological response of human nerves. When natural stimulation and nerve activity occur, reactions inevitably occur. Therefore, the properties of colors depend on the stimulation of the optic nerve and are considered specific neural activity. Gray is a neutral color and the colors around neutral gray, drive it. It becomes accustomed to sharp contrasts and absorbs its power, reducing the strength and maturity of the colors. The use of black and white or the use of equal amounts of cyan, magenta, and yellow, produce gray. As the human eye can detect even a minute amount of original color saturation, most greys have a cool or warm cast to them. Yellow, orange and red create warm gray. Green, blue, and violet make cool gray.

The color gray is any range of colors between black and white. The name of this color comes from the fact that it is similar to ash.

White smoke (hex #EDECEC) , Gainsboro (hex #DDD7DB) , Silver (hex #C5C0C1) , Nobel (hex #A79D9C) , Empress (hex #766C6C) , Dim Gray (hex #6B6B6B) , Charcoal (hex #4A4A4A) , Night rider (hex #2E2E2E) and Nero (hex #1B1A1A) are different shades of Gray.

Technical information about the hex color #BABABA:

Rgb: 186, 186, 186
Cmyk: 0, 0, 0, 27
Hsb: 0 , 0 , 73
Hsl: 0, 0, 73
Lab: 75.51 , 0.00 , -0.01

Colors that go well with gray color

1. Midnight

If you want to create a vintage and classic atmosphere, you should use the fusion of gray and black colors.

2. Marshmallow

Sometimes gray’s subtle and relaxed shades are visually the most pleasing. When you use a combination of fluffy whites and grays, it is one of the most elegant and clean choices. 

3. Grass

Sometimes it is good to go with divergent thinking and contrasting colors. The combination of green grass and gray compliments each other beautifully.

4. Sea-foam and Green Mint

A good blend of blue and green, seafoam when mixed with gray produces a look that is soft and exotic. 

5. Rose

Combine rosy pink and gray to create a more feminine and refined look that never goes out of style.

6. Sun

The shades of gray and sunny yellows make for one of the most amazing gender-neutral combinations. This wonderful blend can be used in every corner of your home as it adds a comforting vibe without ever getting too intense.

7. Aqua

If you don’t like the traditional use of blue and white when designing, try aqua blues and grays. Each will give your space a crisp and refreshing feel. 

8. Cherry

Combining cherry red with tones of gray imparts a sense of luxury and energy.

9. Coral

Coral is a vibrant color that is considered to be feminine. The tone actually stands out with both darker and lighter shades of gray.

10. Violet

Violet and gray are two of the most different colors in the color palette, and when combined, they produce an effect of striking contrast. The combination of the two colors is a classy, modern combination that possesses a royal appearance.

Gray color in history

Honestly, I don’t like history! Because it will never remain in my mind. But the history of colors is always fascinating to me. So let’s read a little about the history of gray:

The word gray was first used in English as a color name in 700 AD. Grey is the most common spelling in European and Commonwealth English, though gray remained in common usage in the UK into the second half of the 20th century. This color is the preferred spelling in the United States since approximately 1825, although grey is recognized as a variant.

During the Middle Ages, grey had been the color of undyed wool, and thus it was the color worn most commonly by peasants and the poor. Also, it was a symbol of their vows of poverty and humility worn by Franciscan monks, Cistercian order, and Capucine order monks. In England and Scotland, Franciscan monks were known as Grey Friars, and nowadays, this name is associated with many spots in Britain.

Gray began to play a prominent role in fashion and art during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Particularly in Italy, France, and Spain, black became the most popular color, and grey and white were harmonious with it.

Color psychology of Gray

Girl in the black and white photo and gray background to show different shades of gray

According to the studies, excessive use of gray has been shown to reduce energy and increase fatigue, lethargy, and depression. When you live in a gray room for a long time, your anxiety and stress will eventually cause you to feel isolated.

Gray is the color most commonly associated with neutrality, conformity, boredom, uncertainty, old age, indifference, and modesty in Europe and the United States.

Your personality if you like gray

People interested in gray show characteristics of trust and confidence when dealing with things that seem to have a neutral side due to its characteristic qualities of neutrality, which generate a kind of compromise and compatibility in the person. Now, who else likes gray like me?

Being highly intelligent and good-thinking is an additional prominent feature of people interested in this color. In the psychology of Gray, it is mentioned that in addition to being intelligent, they also possess a kind of independence in their actions.

Another reason interest in gray makes people considered smart, is that they possess a high number of gray cells that indicate intelligence. Interesting, huh? 

Calmness is very apparent in these people, showing that they are less afraid or apprehensive.

It is also common for these people to show a sense of independence, which is a signal of neutrality. The compromise of the gray color here is that it is a color halfway between black and white, thus creating a beautiful combination of colors.

In the psychology of gray, those who are obsessive about dark gray may have mental exhaustion and boredom which causes them to have fewer social interactions and soon become depressed.

The main symbols of Gray

Wisdom and intelligence

Gray is a symbol of reason because the brain is made up of gray matter.


Gray is a symbol of neutrality and independence.


Gray is placed between two colors, black and white, and symbolizes the compromise between the two opposing fronts.


Gray is a symbol of independence.


Gray is a symbol of reduced energy and depression.

Gray in different cultures


In the Christian religion, gray is the color of ashes and represents sackcloth and ashes, a biblical symbol of mourning and repentance. This can be used during special days of fasting and prayer or Lent. Monks of the Franciscan order, Cistercian order, Order of Friars Minor, and capuchin order wear gray as the color of dignity and humility. The clergy of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church wear gray cassocks.

Buddhism monks and priests in Japan and Korea will often wear a sleeved outer robe, which in many cases is gray, brown, or black.

Associations and symbolism

In America and Europe, gray is one of the least popular colors; In a European survey, only one percent of men said it was their favorite color, and thirteen percent called it their least favorite color; the response from women was almost the same. According to color historian Eva Heller, “gray is too weak to be considered masculine, but too menacing to be considered a feminine color. It is neither warm nor cold, neither material nor spiritual. With gray, nothing seems to be decided.”

Gray is the color most commonly associated in many cultures with the elderly and old age, because of the association with grey hair; it symbolizes the wisdom and dignity that come with experience and age. The New York Times is sometimes called The Gray Lady because of its long history and esteemed position in American journalism.

This color is the color most often associated in Europe and America with modesty.


The color gray is rarely used as a color by political parties, largely because of its common association with conformity, boredom, and indecision. An example of a political party using gray as a color is the German Gray Panthers.

The term “gray power” or “the gray vote” is sometimes used to describe the influence of older voters as a voting bloc. In the United States, older people are more likely to vote and usually vote to protect certain social benefits, such as Social Security.


In ethics, grey is either used pejoratively to describe situations that have no clear moral value; “the grey area”, or positively to balance an all-black or all-white view; for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad.

Gay culture

In gay slang, a grey queen is a gay person who works for the financial services industry (this term originates from the fact that in the 1950s, people who worked in this profession often wore grey flannel suits).

Gray in Foods

Groceries with gray background color packing design in a big market

As we said, gray is a combination of white and black. By adding some other colors such as orange or yellow to it, a colorful gray is obtained. The neutral gray color is indifferent and as a background color, it’s widely used in food packaging design.

Like blue, gray usually evokes a salty taste in foods.

The color gray reduces appetite and even makes you bored of eating. According to experts, the positive point of this color is that it reduces anxiety and appetite. If you want to put yourself in a difficult position, eat your food in a Gray environment. This is something that will make you not enjoy eating too much and thus you will lose weight.

Gray in Photography

Black and white photo of running horses in fog with a gray background to show different shades of gray

Have you ever noticed the unique charm of black and white photos?

There is one color in black and white photography that is really interesting: Gray. There is no black and white without gray. Black clearly indicates the complete absence of light, and white clearly indicates the complete absence of darkness.

When we talk about black and white photos, we are not really talking about a photo that has only one white or black tone. The charm of these tones is very low. Rather, we are talking about gray tones. Black is the darkest gray tone, without any light. And white is the lightest gray tone. In both cases, we don’t see anything, because there is no light. By adding a little light to black, you will have a dark gray tone, by removing a little light from pure white, you will have a light gray tone. There is only one pure black tone and only one pure white tone, but there are 253 shades of gray. Gray rules should prevail over black and white photos. This is the gray rule.

Excessive gray can make your photos dull and depressing. But proper use of this color, especially in the background, induces a sense of calm because this color gives rest to the eyes and mind.

Gray color in Fashion

Gray is not as strong as its constituent colors and does not show itself like them. It is completely neutral and this property can help us a lot in choosing clothes because it’s very easy to set a neutral color with energetic color.

By adding a small amount of other colors, we can make it warm or cold. Based on these changes, we have a wide range of gray colors, which I can say will combine well with all colors. The combination of these colors, when it gets colder and colder, makes the composition of the clothes very soft and maybe sometimes boring. But if you use warm colors in it, even very little, it will make the clothes more attractive.

girl in gray coat and boots, white sweater, and black pants to show how to use gray in your style

Rules for using gray in your style

This color can be used for both formal or sporty and comfortable clothing. If you are interested in gray, your hands are too wide to combine clothes. You can use this color in a variety of office, formal, clerical, student, and everyday sets.

The gray color is available in a variety of dark and light spectrums, which you can choose according to the color of your skin.

If you have light skin, it’s better to choose clothes with a dark gray color range to wear, and if your skin is dark, it’s better to use clothes with a light gray color spectrum.

This color is one of the most common colors and is a good alternative to black. For example, in choosing the color of clothing for lawyers’ work style, Gray can be used as a suitable alternative to black. Neutral colors are always reliable.

The gray color is attractive. Be sure to set it with colors other than black and white to give you a great combination. It can be set with a wide range of colors from white and black to red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, pink, green, and pastel colors.

As a gray lover, since most of my clothes are gray, I share my experiences and knowledge in setting gray clothes with you:

The combination between Gray and other colors

  • The spectrum of light gray with dark colors gives you an interesting combination. Because light gray alone can look a little boring, setting it to a darker color can balance your style. You can use colors like crimson, purple or dark green for this combination
  • On the other hand, the dark gray spectrum combines well with light complementary colors. Colors such as light pink or pastel colors are considered in this category. This type of combination is very suitable for hot seasons.
  • Pink and gray are both calm and neutral colors. We all believe that pink is the color of love. Gray is one of the 5 colors that is set with pink. Therefore, gray and pink color sets are among the most famous color combinations in the style of girls and boys.
  • Yellow and gray are two colors that create a beautiful harmony together. Yellow means adventure and creativity. Using this color in the gray color set brings excitement to those around you.
  • Gray color set with dark blue or classic, is one of the most popular color combinations in clothing. Because blue has a sense of cleanliness and cleanliness. Dark ocean blue along with gray is a manifestation of a dream and a sense of calm in the minds of those who see you.
  • Another feature of gray is that it sets with silver. This harmony is especially beautiful in the form of accessories. For example, you can set glasses, bags or silver belts with your clothes.
  • If you want a formal style, set it with neutral cream tones. For example, you can set your gray dress with a cream-colored bag and shoes.

Gray color in Makeup

Gray for Hair Color

 Photo of a girl with gray hair color and black shirt and white background to show the gray color in makeup

In recent years, gray and silver hair color has found many fans. Because this hair color is not only special and very up-to-date but also requires a lot of courage to use it. This hair color is also used by many celebrities, which increases the desire of women to do this beautiful hair color.

One of the main reasons for choosing this hair color is that dark hair is not a problem, and even when your black hair grows long and its black roots are visible, your hairstyle will look more beautiful.

This hair color can be used in different ways such as highlighting several categories of hair, full hair coloring, coloring the lower part of the hair, etc., and give a unique beauty to your hair.

Gray in Makeup

photo of a girl with dark eye shadow and gray background to show the gray color in makeup

Use gray eyeshadow to make your eyes look even more amazing. While many makeup fans find this color too light for a smoky style or too dark for daytime makeup, there are many ways to beautify this metallic shade for your makeup and make it more attractive.

Who says you can’t use gray eyeshadow for your daily makeup? Apply this neutral shade to your daily make-up and highlight the inner corner of your eyes only slightly to create a delicate and beautiful look.

Gray color for the eye lens is also one of the most common choices. This lens color is suitable for most skin colors, in other words, it’s the most used lens color by celebrities and other people. If you are looking to add variety to your face, a gray lens can make your eyes look more beautiful.

Gray color in Cinema

Most of us have a laid-back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about a movie.

Gray is a sign of fear and lack of emotion and reduces the clarity and radiance of other colors. The color gray creates indifference, lack of participation and cooperation, and laziness in the person. It also means neutrality.

In cinema, gray is often used in parts of the film that convey the concept of lack of current emotion and fear. This color is usually used to induce a sense of fear and in some scenes to show a sense of indifference and immobility.

Gray color in Marketing

image of a gray laptop and cell phone to show the usage of  Gray color in Marketing and branding

The use of colors in advertising increases brand awareness by up to 80% and its comprehensibility by up to 73%. Using colors in branding has a huge impact on product sales.

Gray stands for professionalism and objectivity, while in many cases it can be dull. But this color is not necessarily boring, especially if it’s accompanied by a proper marketing strategy. This color is a corporate, professional, effective, formal, and neutral color. An impressive gray design can even stand out in a trade show. It is not completely dark and not quite light. Gray is in the middle of perfection, classicism, and seriousness.

Gray can also indicate that your brand appears with a different norm. Like the website of a modern children’s clothing brand that wants to separate itself from the pink and blue sea.

It should be noted that the misuse of gray in the field of branding can have a negative impact and appear sedentary. For example, this paint is not suitable for industries such as health, and it’s better to use it in its proper place; Such as modern industries and machine branding.

Famous brands that use gray: Wikipedia, Swarovski, Lexus, and Nissan.

Gray in Logo design

In choosing the color of the logo, we should pay attention to the personality, age, gender, etc. of the customers and choose the color based on their needs.

Gray, because it’s a combined color and is obtained from a combination of two colors, black and white, can be considered as an expression of cooperation between the two companies. This color symbolizes lack of energy, coolness, neutrality, taxes, old age, and calm.

With the most negative emotions that this color conveys, it’s not recommended for the color of the logo and personality of a brand alone, unless it’s used in special circumstances and for the background or to combine and balance with other colors.

And can be used for logos of companies related to fashion technology and modern and luxury products.

This color is suitable for showing poor quality and comparing products. Gray logo design conveys a sense of commitment, respect, conservatism, and compatibility. This is a neutral color without having its own personality in logo design, which is often placed next to other colors in the logo and is a good complement to red and pink colors.

Gray color in Interior design

When we talk about neutral colors for home decoration, gray is one of the most important colors with its special elegance and calmness. This color shows the balance and harmony between black and white. Even though some people think that using gray color in the house creates a sad and dull atmosphere, interior decoration designers have used this color the most in home decoration in recent years.

Gray at home can be a good background for other color spectrums, and when paired with most cool or warm colors, it blends in well with them and gives a more beautiful look to the environment. A house that uses gray for the walls can also be a good place to hold your business appointments. The gray color is innovative and creative, and in a relaxing and cozy environment where this color is used for its decoration, you can well come up with new ideas.

It may surprise many of us if we are going to choose a color for home decoration and offer gray color for all spaces of the house, but it’s interesting to know that gray color creates a calm and pleasant atmosphere in decoration, which has a positive effect on people’s mood.

Where to use gray in interior design

When we talk about gray, a dark, depressed, and gloomy face comes to our mind, but this color and its vast and diverse family have another use that surprises us. This color has the ability to be very adaptable in decoration and accompaniment with other colors. Each type of Gray can be selected as the base and primary color for decoration, and along with it, other colors will have an impact, charm, and more beautiful effect.

Most people are interested in the gray color spectrum and prefer to dedicate part of their home decoration to this color, but most of them are worried that the gray color will make their home decoration small and dark. If you use the appropriate range of beautiful gray colors in the design of home interior decoration, you will face a different and attractive atmosphere in your home decoration.

Wall painting

 image of a gray wall painting and furniture to show gray design in interior

Gray is one of the ideal colors for painting a wall, and the reason for this is its neutrality. Using this color to paint the main wall and using appropriate color elements next to it will create depth in the room. The different spectrums of gray are far apart and their use together creates a dramatic atmosphere in the room. Before using this color, pay attention to the following points:

  • Green, blue, and purple are considered sub-colors of gray. Using these colors along with gray creates a very beautiful look.
  • The use of glossy colors is very useful for modern style places.
  • The effect of gray depends on its spectrum. Using a light spectrum of this color is suitable for places like the bedroom. Use of the dark spectrum of this color is suitable for rooms with large space.
  • Don’t forget to design the hallway when designing the house. Because the design of this part represents the design used in other parts of the house. Using gray color to design this part of the house is a good choice.

Using Gray in the kitchen

Image of kitchen furniture and home design in gray color

Gray is used in modern kitchens. Because using this color will create a beautiful, clean and eye-catching atmosphere. The use of glossy gray color in the island and the kitchen counter creates a very beautiful view. The kitchen is the best place to use different shades of gray.

Using Gray furniture

gray living room furniture and gray wall painting to show gray color home design

If you want to use large furniture, gray can be one of the best choices. If you want to use gray furniture, pay attention to the following points:

  • If you want to use gray color for furniture and chairs, it’s better to use different textures and materials. Because in this case, the feeling of vitality remains in the foot room.
  • If you have used gray to paint the walls, it’s better to use different shades of gray to choose the furniture.
  • The use of carpets and cushions with different shades of gray color adds depth to the room.

Using Gray decorative items

The use of appropriate decorative items is especially important for those people who care about details. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • If you are one of the people who are interested in using cushions, we suggest you to use cushions with different shades of gray and in different textures.
  • Using a lampshade in silver color will give a very beautiful view to your room.

Gray color in art

different shades of gray color in painting

A three-dimensional display of shapes on the canvas surface is possible with gradual changes of light with black and white and different spectra of gray.

The angle of light and the amount of darkness and light and the use of gray spectra in a painting give it special effects and create different effects on the viewer.

Gray is usually used in painting to show the shadow of objects. Accurate use of shadows and light causes recognition and non-recognition of shapes.

The use of light and shadow style is seen in paintings after the Renaissance.

For a long time, European painters used dark and light colors to show light and shadow in their paintings. That is, most of the shadows were blackish gray and the lights white.

Grey was also frequently used for the drawing of oil paintings, a technique called grisaille. The painting would first be composed in grey and white, and then the colors, made with thin transparent glazes, would be added on top. The grisaille beneath would provide the shading, visible through the layers of color. Sometimes the grisaille was simply left uncovered, giving the appearance of carved stone.

Several artists of the mid-19th century used different tones of grey to create memorable paintings; Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot used tones of green-grey and blue–grey to give harmony to his landscapes, and James McNeill Whistler created a special grey for the background of the portrait of his mother, and his own self-portrait.

Gray is a neutral color, and if it’s predominant in children’s paintings, it indicates an inability to express emotions.

Gray color in Automotive industry

modern car with classic gray color to show the usage of gray color in Automotive industry

Gray as a modern and classic color is always on the list of the most favorite car colors. Every year, many people choose this color for their personal car when buying a car, which is probably due to its modern nature.

Automotive companies also usually consider this color as the main color in the production of their products.

Gray color in quotes

“I had seen the world as either white or black.

It’s only when I read the pages of her diary that I understood why the sky looked so grey.”

– Sanhita Baruah

“The truth is usually somewhere in the Gray turbulent eddies set in motion by the mixture of black and white.”

– Ken Poirot

“You are the rainbow that adds color to my Gray skies.”

– Avijeet Das

“Purposeless life will definitely be Gray, monotonous, ordinary and frustrating”

– Sunday Adelaja

“No need to look to see if your former home has vanished yet into the humdrum Gray behind you; you’ll be able to feel it, the sudden eclipse of the tractor beam the house puts out. Of its forcefield of sadness.”

– Garth Risk Hallberg

“- Why is depression the blues and not the Grays?

– Because of racer!”

– Jarod Kintz and Stefan D”

“People don’t understand us. They don’t understand me. They think it’s so black and white, that he makes me miserable and that I should be with someone else, and that I deserve something else.

But it’s not black and white at all. It’s Gray. It’s a never-ending world of Gray.”

– Amanda Grace, But I Love Him

Interesting facts about the Gray color

*Gray jade, moonstone, black pearl, ruby, and Gray agate are Gray stones in nature.

*The human eye can detect more than about 500 shades of Gray!

*In some cultures, Gray animals are a sign of misery!

*If you live in a Gray room for a long time, after a while you will be stressed and anxious and isolated.

*In the late 1930s, grey became a symbol of industrialization and war.

*Less than 1 percent of people have grey eyes, as they are very rare.

Dopely Gray color palettes

As a colorful ending, I want to show you the beautiful Dopely color palettes and the hex triplet codes. You can use these color palettes and the h codes at any time in your work.

gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
yellow and gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA
gray color palette and hex color #BABABA

For more amazing color palettes, see Dopely


Knowing the art of using colors can help us make better choices for our personal style color, decoration, and design. In this article, I’ve tried to provide you with the information you need for using Gray. I hope after reading this article, from now on you don’t look at gray only as a dull color 🙂

Hope you enjoyed it!

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This is Zahra. I'm in love with different languages and colors. So I decided to be the messenger of the world of colors! Here in Dopely, I write about colors and I like to take you to their world with me.

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