10 julio, 2024

Gray color: meaning and psychology

He gray in color psychology It has a meaning of monotony, old-fashioned and cruelty. Also balanced, mature and elegant. Gray is any of the mid-light points between maximum light (white) and zero light (black).

It covers slightly chromatic colorations, which are called grayish or grayish. In common speech, people often have expressions like «gray life» or «grey day» to refer to boring or little-moved states.

In general, it means that you are neither sad nor happy, but somewhere in between. It is also often said that «life is not made of black and white», that «there are also greys». Gray is associated, then, with the neutral or impartial.

But also to elegance and balance. In fact, it is one of the favorite colors in interior design with a classic and timeless character, which complements very well with more energetic tones, such as red or yellow.

The symbolism of the color gray

Gray has deep-seated symbolic associations in almost every culture in the world. A gray sky puts most of us in a similar mood, close to sadness. In fact, most of the associations of gray are negative.

Here we will talk about all of them, starting with the most common.

Old age

Gray is the hair color that loses melanin and gradually loses its color. Therefore, it is the color of old age. This stage of life is associated with wisdom, but also with decrepitude.


It is the color of conformism (from a negative pole) or of adaptation (from a positive pole), thanks to the fact that gray does not have its own extremes. Its extremes are represented by other colors, which is why it is considered the color of lack of personality, of going unnoticed.

That is why gray is seen as the color of mediocrity and boring. But also of conciliation and impartiality. In either case, be it mediocrity or impartiality, it is a color devoid of passion and emotionality.

gloomy feelings

But, on the other side of this lack of emotionality, gray is also associated with gloomy feelings.

Emotional states such as worry, restlessness and guilt are associated with grey. Also to the unpleasant: anger or displeasure, the unstable. Mourning, for similar reasons, is often associated with it.

Bad weather

Gray is also the color of bad weather and for this reason it is associated with bad omens, bad news, and crises. By extension, it is the color of injustice, the illegal and the secret.

For example, in law the space in which it is not known whether something is punishable or permitted is called a “grey zone”. Criminals often take advantage of these gray areas to carry out their misdeeds.

bored and forgotten

It is the color of the demolished and forgotten, of the destroyed by fire (ash color). Therefore, gray is also the color of isolation and loneliness.

Positive aspects of the color gray

The amount of light it has will signal different symbolic meanings. The darker and closer to black, the more elegant, mysterious and dramatic it will be associated with.

The clearer and closer to white, the more it will be associated with calming and the ability to overcome difficult situations.


Gray is a very welcome color in the world of work and business. According to experts, it is one of the best colors to choose during a job interview, because it reflects professionalism and sophistication, without being distracting or intimidating.

The most advisable thing, in these cases, is to balance it with another color in the tie or jewelry, other than white, black or brown. Gray, especially dark, is an ideal color for corporate work, account management or financial services. Also for lawyers and people in management positions.

Gray is a conservative and serious color, which is a positive trait for many contexts. That is why it is often used a lot in the packaging of high-end products, commonly combined with blue or gold. Technology also takes advantage of the light gray color, but now with an opposite association: modernity.


Other positive associations towards gray is that it reflects security, confidence and modesty, to the same extent as intelligence, knowledge and wisdom.

In the corporate world it is highly valued because it is associated with discretion and self-control, as well as a high level of commitment and neatness.


Gray can give a sense of calm, stability, and composure, as it is not a stimulating color. But an excess can make the spaces somewhat depressive. Therefore, it is always recommended to combine it with more vivid colors.

Known to be used in the proper context and proportion, it can be very useful and welcome.

Personality if the favorite color is gray

People who like the color gray, but especially those who consider it their favorite color, may have several common personality traits. The same as those who feel rejection, but even more so, those who consider it the least pleasant color.

1. They are neutral people about different life situations, but they could become indifferent or indolent in these situations.

2. They value calm and shy away from chaos, even though they may prefer isolation or feel that they don’t fit in anywhere. Along the same lines, they do not like strong emotions and prefer stability and security.

3. They are practical and conservative people. They like things that are already known and that they know work. They don’t tend to take too much risk or get out of their routines to try new things.

4. They don’t usually like to attract attention, so they can be good at camouflaging, acting in ways that go unnoticed.

5. They can be very reliable, discreet, calm and peaceful people, so they can be the ideal candidates to trust them with secrets or ask for help in difficult situations, despite their dislike for chaos.

6. They are hard-working and constant people, who do not get distracted or delay the start of their tasks, and do not stop until they are completed.

7. On the contrary, they can be indecisive and lack confidence, so sometimes they can go from one point of view to another, either to please others or due to indecision.


Heller, E. (2000). Wie Farben auf Gefühl und Verstand Wirken. Droemer, Munich.

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