Skip to Content

What are white black colors called?

What are white black colors called?

Colors that are a mix of white and black have some specific names depending on the proportions of each color. By adjusting the amount of white and black pigments or paints that are mixed together, different shades ranging from light gray to dark gray can be produced. Understanding the terminology for these colors can be useful for artists, designers, and anyone looking to accurately describe shades that fall between pure white and pure black.

Key Terms for White-Black Colors

Here are some of the most common terms used to describe colors made by mixing white and black:

Tint A color with white added to it, making it lighter
Shade A color with black added to it, making it darker
Tone A color with gray added to it, muting it down
White The lightest possible color, with no black added
Black The darkest possible color, with no white added
Gray A neutral color in between white and black

Using these terms can help identify where a particular white-black color falls on the spectrum from white to black.

Light Grays

When just a small amount of black is mixed with white, light gray colors are produced. These colors are much closer to white than black on the spectrum. Some examples of light grays include:

Gainsboro A very light gray with just a hint of black
Light gray Slightly darker than gainsboro, but still light
Silver A very light, cool toned gray
Smoke A light gray with a very subtle taupe tone
Snow A soft, pale gray that is subtly bluish

These colors are referred to as tints, since white has been added to the black pigment. They are useful for backgrounds, highlights, and anywhere a subtle, neutral color is needed.

Mid-tone Grays

When more black is mixed with the white, mid-tone grays are created. These fall in the middle of the white-black spectrum. Some examples include:

Gray The standard midpoint between white and black
Dim gray A gray with reduced brightness and saturation
Ash gray A gray with a faint greenish tint
Slate gray A gray with hints of purple and blue
Smoke gray A medium gray with black undertones

These colors are excellent as secondary colors and for mute backgrounds. The balance of white and black makes them versatile neutrals.

Dark Grays

When a significant amount of black is mixed in, dark gray colors are created. These colors are much closer to black on the spectrum. Some dark grays include:

Charcoal A very dark gray with a blackish cast
Gunmetal A dark gray with hints of blue
Anthracite A cold, sooty gray color
Black gray A dark, neutral gray bordering on black
Davys gray A dark gray with hints of purple

These deep grays work well for bold accents, dramatic backgrounds, strong gradients, and to make colors pop when paired.

Near Black Grays

When the gray contains only a tiny amount of white, an extremely dark gray bordering on black is produced. These “near black” grays include:

Jet A very dark gray that is intense and neutral
Charleston green A dark gray with a subtle green tint
Ebony A blackened gray with a touch of brown
Dark charcoal A gray so dark it is nearly black
Black gray Another name for an intensely dark, neutral gray

These deep, dark grays work as substitutes for true black in some designs. They provide depth while being slightly softer.


By mixing varying proportions of white and black paint or pigment, a wide range of gray shades can be created. Light tints involve more white, mid-tones are balanced, dark shades have more black, and near-black grays border on pure black. Understanding the terminology for these colors allows for accurate descriptions of white-black mixes. Whether using grays in artwork, graphic design, fashion, or décor, the correct names for shades helps convey intentions and styles. With a palette that ranges from gainsboro to ebony, white and black combine to produce versatile neutrals.