This is NOT the Definition of Greige
“Cooler than a beige but warmer than a gray.”
Confused? Yeah, me too.
No wonder so many are confused about how to choose paint colors.
Why the Definition of Greige is Hard
Beige – what you think is beige might not match what I think is beige.
Gray – what you think is gray might not match what I think is gray.
Cooler and warmer is a matter of context; can’t determine psychological color temperature without comparison.
I’m sure “Cooler than a beige but warmer than a gray” made perfect sense to the person who said it.
However, understanding that subjective color opinion like this doesn’t scale beyond your own head only happens when you have a lot of experience working with people to help them choose colors.
Because when you listen to people describe how they see color, you realize how impossible it is to get everyone on the same page about what color names like beige, gray and greige should look like.
In other words, I could gather together a dozen paint chips for each color word. Lay them all out on a table separated into the three categories – the way I think the colors should be categorized.
You would organize the chips differently than me. For example, you’d feel that some of the colors I categorized as beige were too gray to be beige, etc.
Wondering What Colors I think are Greige?
Ask in the comments below or tell me a color YOU think is a greige – remember whatever you think is greige is absolutely correct! You can’t get this wrong. I’ll answer every comment with one color that fits my definition of greige. This could be a lot of fun so I hope you join in.
How to Find the Perfect Greige?
When someone tells me they’ve tried all the popular greige colors talked about on blogs and forums but they can’t find the right one, it’s because the colors shown and talked about online don’t fit that person’s individual idea of what greige is suppose to look like.
It’s kind of crazy. Because the solution is simple – it’s just a matter of asking what do you think the perfect greige looks like since none of the examples you found online are it.
Then, using The Color Strategist Color Wheel, (CSCW) we simply figure out the hue family for their idea of the perfect greige. Next it’s just a matter of dialing in the right color for the lighting in the space and contents of the room.
In my experience specifying paint colors, I found many define greige as near neutral, chromatic grays from every single hue family. Red, yellow, blue – every single hue family you see in the CSCW above.
Lots of times I wouldn’t describe their idea of perfect greige as greige but it doesn’t matter. Because trying to convince them that my idea of greige is right and theirs is wrong is pointless.
I know I’m not going to change their mind. As soon as I stop shuffling paint chips in front of them pointing to the colors I say are greige, they’re going to go right back into their own head and think about greige the way they always have – and that’s perfectly okay!
Color experts know this and they also know the secret to communicating color clearly and easily is to use objective color notations. Like a Munsell hue, value and chroma notation.
If you want to see what a Munsell color notation looks like, check out Colorographies like this one for Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray in The Colorography Lab over at campchroma.com. We’re always adding new paint colors to the lab, so check back often.
If you want to learn more about the color notations and systems that professional color experts use, check out my color trainings. The Four Pillars of Color would be the perfect course for you to learn how color really works.
Don’t forget to join in the comments!