The meaning of the color Whitesmoke and color combinations to inspire your next design.
Whitesmoke is a slightly gray shade of off white. The whitesmoke hex code is #F5F5F5.
Off white paint shades can be difficult to mix at home. But as whitesmoke contains a pale hint of gray, you could try mixing a very small amount of black paint into a white base to create its icy hue. If your mixture looks too dark, just add some more white to lighten it.
On the hex color chart used by web designers and developers, whitesmoke is one of the shades closest in appearance in pure white. Other shades that are very close to white include snow (#FFFAFA) and ghostwhite (#F8F8FF).
Other commonly-used shades of off white include ivory, cream and vanilla, however these are more yellow in appearance. What sets whitesmoke apart is its very pale hint of gray.
Whitesmoke was formulated in 1987 as part of the X11 web colors, a collection of shades made for display on computer screens. Today, it’s still mostly used as a web color. While paint colors sold as “whitesmoke” exist, it would be unusual for an item of clothing to be described as “whitesmoke”.
However, off white shades have a long history and have often been used interchangeably with pure white. In the Stone Age, Paleolithic artists used white chalk and calcite in cave paintings. Since then, white has often been associated with people of high status. In ancient Egypt, priests and priestesses wore white to symbolize their purity, while Romans wore white togas as a marker of citizenship.
White is also an important color in many world religions—for instance, the color is worn by pilgrims in Islam while the Pope has worn white since 1566.
White has long been considered the color of purity, an association likely to be extended to off white shades like whitesmoke.
The color’s link with religion means it can symbolize spirituality, sacredness and goodness. White is also the color of peace—the white dove is a symbol of peace, while a white flag is used to represent surrender.
White is also often associated with innocence or fresh starts, which is why it’s worn on occasions that signify a new beginning. For instance women traditionally wear white dresses when they get married, debutantes wear white to their first ball and in Christianity, children wear white for their baptism and first communion.
However, as whitesmoke contains of a hint of gray, it might also conjure associations common to that hue—like neutrality, conformity, boredom and old age. But very pale grays are more likely to be considered cool and assured than dreary or dull.
Whitesmoke is a great choice when you need a less intense alternative to pure white. Its icy, slightly gray appearance can look mature and fashion forward. Its neutral tone means its suitable for use in large quantities and for this reason, it’s a popular color in web design.
Many off whites shades, like ivory or cream, are yellow-tinged and can look feminine or whimsical. But as whitesmoke is mixed with gray, it’s more serious in appearance and is suitable for gender neutral designs.
Whitesmoke is a neutral shade and therefore goes with most colors. It works well alongside cool shades of red like maroon or dusty rose and pairs nicely with icy shades of blue or pink. However, off whites like whitesmoke can appear dirty when used alongside pure white—avoid this combination. The colors that pair well with off white include:
Looking for a different hue? The following colors are related to whitesmoke.
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