Neutral colours occur when the purity of a dominant hue becomes unrecognisable due to the introduction of another colour or neutral. Neutral colours can be created by adding an achromatic neutral to a colour, colour to an achromatic neutral, or by blending colours together. Most often, a neutral colour has an underlying dominant hue.
Achromatic neutrals have no colour or hue. They are only a measurement of value, from pure white to pure black and different measurements of grey in between.
Chromatic greys are based on the greying of a hue through the addition of achromatic grey.
Near neutral is a term used for ambiguous tones of colour, which can be seen as either neutral or colour.
The purity of a hue in a near neutral is at the point where it is becoming unrecognisable. Near neutrals can be influenced and changed by different light sources, juxtaposed colours, patterns and textures, different materials, the screen quality of a monitor or device, and by the variation of humans’ colour vision.
When mixing a pure hue with a colour or neutral, the strength of the introduced colour or neutral will determine how intense the change will be.
When mixing light achromatic neutrals with pure hues, the result will be a lighter version of the pure hue – a chromatic grey or near neutral. When mixing a light chromatic grey or near neutral with a different coloured pure hue, the result will be a neutral.
When mixing dark achromatic neutrals with pure hues, the result will be a dark neutral version of the pure hue, or a dark near neutral. When mixing a dark neutral or near neutral, with a different coloured pure hue the result will be a dark neutral.
Mixing Colours and Neutrals
The darker the achromatic neutral is when mixing it with a colour, the faster the colour will turn into a neutral tone. Light neutral tones are predominantly white based.