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What is the color code for dark GREY in CMYK?

What is the color code for dark GREY in CMYK?

Dark grey is a popular neutral color that can be used in many design applications. When printing or working digitally, dark grey is created using the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model. Determining the precise CMYK values to produce a dark grey tone requires an understanding of color theory and code. This article will provide the specific CMYK color code for dark grey and explain how it is derived.

Overview of the CMYK Color Model

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This color model is used for print design and digital applications where the final product will be printed on paper. CMYK works by layering different amounts of these four ink colors to create a full spectrum of hues.

CMYK is a subtractive color model, meaning the colors get darker as more ink is applied. Starting from a white background:

– Cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors in CMYK. Mixing these creates new hues.
– Black is added for contrast and to create true darks.

Each CMYK color is specified by a percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. For example:

– 0% of each gives white
– 100% cyan, magenta, yellow gives black
– 40% cyan, 20% magenta makes a greenish hue

So any CMYK color can be defined by 4 percentage values from 0-100% for C, M, Y, and K.

Defining Dark Grey in CMYK

When mixing a neutral grey tone in CMYK, you want to use equal parts cyan, magenta, and yellow ink. This creates a true neutral without any color tint.

The darkness of the grey is controlled by adding more or less black ink. For a darker grey, higher black percentages are used. A dark grey typically uses 70-85% black.

So for a neutral dark grey in CMYK, you want:

– Equal parts cyan, magenta, yellow
– High percentage of black, around 70-85%

This balances the color neutrally while darkening it with black ink.

CMYK Code for Dark Grey

Based on these principles, a commonly used CMYK code for a dark grey is:

C: 40% M: 40% Y: 40% K: 75%

This uses equal 40% cyan, magenta, and yellow to maintain a neutral tone. Then 75% black provides a nice dark shade without being completely black.

Other CMYK values can also generate a dark grey depending on the specific darkness and warmth desired. Here are a few more examples of CMYK codes for dark greys:

C: 50% M: 50% Y: 50% K: 70%
C: 45% M: 45% Y: 45% K: 80%
C: 30% M: 30% Y: 30% K: 85%

These all balance the three primary colors while gradually increasing black to create darker tones. The higher the black, the darker the grey appears.

How Dark Grey Renders in Print vs. Digital

When using a CMYK dark grey code, it’s important to note that the color may render slightly differently in print vs. on screen.

Printed materials use actual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks on paper. This creates a rich, saturated appearance.

On a digital display, CMYK values are simulated using RGB pixels. This can make the color look slightly lighter or less vibrant.

So your dark grey design element may need slightly different CMYK values when printing vs. digital use. Some tweaking may be needed to achieve consistent color across applications.

In print, higher ink percentages tend to work best for rich, dark greys. On screen, slightly lower CMYK values help prevent the color from looking washed out or muted.

Using Dark Greys Effectively in Designs

Now that you know how to mix a dark grey tone in CMYK, how do you use it for maximum impact? Here are some tips:

– Use dark greys for typography and minimalist designs. The neutral color provides a sophisticated look.

– Add dark grey borders or graphical elements to make other colors pop. Its darkness contrasts well with more vivid hues.

– Replace black text with dark grey for a softer, more readable appearance.

– Use varying dark grey shades to create depth and visual interest. Gradually shift from lighter to darker tones.

– Combine warm grey tones with cool blues and greens for an appealing, harmonious palette.

– Add dark greys sparingly as an accent color for a contemporary minimalist look.

With the right CMYK code and some creativity, dark grey can be a versatile, striking color for all kinds of designs and projects.


Determining the CMYK color code for a dark grey requires balancing the primary cyan, magenta, and yellow inks equally, then adding high percentages of black to achieve the desired darkness. A commonly used CMYK value for dark grey is 40,40,40,75. However, CMYK codes can be adjusted based on the specific application and whether the final medium is print or digital. Dark greys provide an attractive, neutral foundation that contrasts well with bright colors and allows other graphic elements to stand out. By following the principles of the CMYK model, designers can mix up the perfect dark grey tone.