Black, white, gray and browns are neutral colors and can be combined with warm colors or cool colors. Neutrals can stand up on their own or take up new meaning when combined with either a cool or warm color.
White is associated with purity and positivity. It can be used with any other color but looks very clean when used in abundancy. White is associated with marriage, health care and holiness. White can also be used to represent youth and innocence when combined with other colors.
White is generally used to portray simplicity and minimalism. When combined with cool colors, white can represent winter. When combined with warm colors, white can represent summer. White is also used as a backdrop for health care professionals such as doctors and nurses because it represents safety and cleanliness.
Black is the opposite of white and carries a lot of weight. Black is often combined with other colors but is not as versatile as white. It does work well with white and other neutrals. Black can be conservative and traditional but can also be edgy and modern.
Black can represent both positivity and negativity. On the positive side, black is associated with power, luxury and elegance. Most luxury goods are represented using black as it reflects prestige and professionalism.
Black is also associated with death, evil and fear. It is a mysterious color but can also be associated with grief and mourning in the West. Black can become energizing when used with warm colors. It can become calming and elegant when used with cool colors.
Gray is a very neutral color and can take up both warm and cool attributes. Light grays are often used instead of white while dark grays are used instead of black. In character, gray is calming and moody. It is often used with modern design as well as corporate design.
Gray is associated with professionalism, formality and sophistication. In some cultures, gray is the color of mourning instead of black. In comparison to black, dark gray tends to be easier on the eye.
Brown, tan, beige and other similar tones are highly versatile and natural. These neutrals work best with every other color when used right. When used with other colors, browns bring balance and harmony.
Browns are associated with natural elements such as earth, stone and wood. They also represent dependability and strength. Browns tend have warmth but can become cool when used with cooler colors.
Lighter tones such as beige are often used in place of white. They can be both warm and cool. Beige and ivory tones take up the characteristics of the colors they are combined with. They are conservative, sophisticated and elegant.