Skip to Content

Is medium grey lighter than grey?

Is medium grey lighter than grey?

This is an interesting question that many people wonder about when working with different shades of grey. At first glance, the term “medium grey” seems to imply that it should be lighter than regular grey. However, the actual relationship between these two colors is more nuanced.

Defining Medium Grey and Grey

First, let’s clearly define what we mean by medium grey and grey:

  • Medium grey – A shade of grey that falls in the middle of the grey color spectrum, between light grey and dark grey.
  • Grey – The standard, baseline shade of grey, right in the middle between white and black on the greyscale.

So medium grey is specifically a medium tone of grey, while regular grey is the baseline, standard grey. This means medium grey is technically lighter than the original grey shade.

The Greyscale

To understand this further, let’s look at the greyscale. This is a series of shades ranging from white to black, with gradual increases in darkness between each shade:

White Light grey Medium grey Grey Dark grey Black

As you can see on the greyscale, medium grey falls right between light grey and standard grey. It is lighter than the original grey.

Measuring Greyscale Shades

We can also measure and define shades of grey more definitively using color percentages:

White 0% grey
Light grey 25% grey
Medium grey 50% grey
Grey 75% grey
Dark grey 87.5% grey
Black 100% grey

As shown in this table, medium grey contains 50% grey, while standard grey contains 75% grey. Therefore, mathematically speaking, medium grey is lighter since it has a lower grey percentage.

Practical Comparisons

If you physically compare a medium grey sample to a grey sample, you will also see that the medium grey looks lighter visually. Medium grey has more white added into the mix, making it appear lighter than standard grey.

You can conduct a quick experiment by painting one swatch medium grey and another swatch standard grey. The medium grey should look more like a muted light grey, while the standard grey will look essentially halfway between white and black.

Medium Grey vs. Light Grey

It’s also worth comparing medium grey and light grey. Light grey contains an even higher amount of white, so it looks even lighter than medium grey when viewed side-by-side.


Based on the precise definitions, measurements, and practical comparisons between these colors, medium grey is definitively lighter than standard grey. Medium grey contains less black and more white than the original grey, placing it closer to white on the greyscale progression.

So if you’re ever trying to determine whether one grey is lighter than another, you can always check where it falls on the greyscale. The further towards white, the lighter the grey shade.