Everything about
the color Silver

The meaning of the color Silver and color combinations to inspire your next design.

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What color is silver?

Silver is a solid color visually characterized by a sleek, metallic shine and typically associated with the color gray.

The best way to achieve a silver tone is by creating multiple shades of gray through the mix of black and white. By combining multiple grays and adding a final dollop of white, this will create a silver gradient.

Metallic silver, however, isn’t entirely a true or solid color – it’s a reflective tone that can only be attained through the use of reflective pigments, with gray as a base. To achieve silver’s bright and light hues, try a metallic paint that gleams, or try a graphic design effect that mimics light on a bright surface.

The silver hex code is #C0C0C0.

silver

Silver versus gold

Silver, just like its colored counterpart, gold, has always represented wealth and value, however the two colors continue to differ in the way they’re perceived. On a winner’s podium during sporting events, gold is ranked first and silver is the runner up.

The history of silver

Silver is often hard to categorize as its presence in everyday life, society and culture is ever-changing. We celebrate the beginning of life with silver spoons, yet we dread the day our hair begins to silver with old age.

Silver is perceived as a modern color that encourages visions of a futuristic tomorrow (even astronauts were decked out in silver), yet it also ties together our past through fading reflections in old photographs and film footage.

For years artists and poets have waxed lyrical about the beauty of silver. William Butler Yeats wrote about the stars “dancing silver-sandalled on the sea” in 1893, while many modern-day musings have been crafted around the color. The term “silver screen” was a whimsical expression coined in the early 20th century, which referred to the black and white movies that were shown through the reflecting agent of a silver coating on theatre screens.

The meaning of silver

Silver has traditionally been viewed as a distinguished color – one associated with wealth, modernity, glamour, grace and elegance. As a metal, silver also represents that which is innovative, refined, sleek and sophisticated.

In many cultures and throughout history the color silver and its reflective nature has been interpreted as a mirror to the soul, allowing us to see ourselves in the same way as others do. Many also believe silver encourages the mind to communicate better, allowing us to articulate ourselves and speak with confidence. Indeed, the term ‘silver-tongued’ is often used to describe those of us who speak with wit, self-assurance and vigor.

How to use silver

The color silver is often associated with wealth and prestige. When used in art and design, it typically portrays a sense of glamor and elegance. Unlike the color and tone of other precious metals like gold and bronze, silver is much cooler.

Silver is also incredibly versatile and often associated with status and innovation. Use the color to portray a sense of modernity and affluence. This can work particularly well within a corporate or business environment in portraying respect and responsibility. When used within the field of design and branding, it portrays excellence and modern innovation as seen across brands including VW, Mercedes and Apple.

While metallic and reflective colors can be difficult to recreate, you can use highlights and shading to emulate the illuminated and metallic sheen of silver. Best of all, silver has the ability to be both classic and modern, as well as serious yet playful.

What colors go with silver?

Silver is often seen as the ultimate balance between black and white, allowing it to be an unbiased color that works well with most palettes and schemes. Silver illuminates and reflects the energy of the colors it’s paired with. This is what separates it from gray. Silver is more optimistic by comparison.

Most pastel colors compliment silver as the soft shades bring out the metallic hues. Colors that pair well with silver include:

  • Light pink
  • Light blue
  • Light purple
  • Light green
  • Light yellow

Wondering about a good contrast for silver? Most jewel tones will work perfectly to complement silver, including sea green, medium blue, emerald green and turquoise – as seen in traditional Native American jewelry.

Similar colors to silver

Looking for a distinctive yet slightly different hue of silver? The following colors may work best:

  • Pale silver
  • Silver pink
  • Silver sand
  • Roman silver
  • Silver chalice
  • Sonic silver
  • Old silver

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