What is greige?

Figuring out what “greige” is supposed to look like is a pain point for many.

There’s certainly no shortage of attempts to define it – the image above is a screen shot of what you get if you search “greige paint” on Pinterest.

The overarching problem is words like greige, taupe, beige, khaki, putty don’t mean anything specific.

If they were universally useful words for defining, describing, and categorizing color, then everyone would agree on the meaning and color appearance.

But they don’t.

In fact, far from it.

In other words, the theory that you can categorize colors using words like these falls short because they are subjective; they mean something different to everyone because everyone perceives color differently.

This statement is controversial. It’s been my experience that it can make some people down right angry.

And I know I shouldn’t find it funny but I kinda do. (warped sense of humor and I question if it’s worth getting angry about)

What gives me the giggles every single time is every single time the defenders of the usefulness of “greige” will use the crystal clear concept {sarcasm intended} of “beige” to clarify what “greige” looks like.

This strikes me funny for two reasons:

  1. They believe they really do know what greige looks like. If someone doesn’t describe greige the same way they do, all it’s gonna take is more words – or maybe links to pictures of “greige” on the internet – to get them to change their mind.
  1. The irony of using the concept of “beige” to clarify “greige” is completely and totally lost on them.

The cure for the chaos caused by words like beige, greige, taupe, khaki, etc. is a simple color notation that describes a color’s hue, value, chroma and LRV for you.

You can find hue, value, chroma and LRV notations for the most popular colors in the most popular brands over in The Colorography Lab.

No visual gynmastics required.

No guessing games.

Just clean, simple, at-a-glance clarity.

Colorography Lab