Neutral colours divide into two camps:
a) the lazy camp are those non-descript, achromatic and uninteresting colours that we see all too often, being named ‘neutral ‘ the sole justification for existence. These are chosen by those who are afraid of colour, have perhaps made a mistake once or twice.
b) In the other camp are the natural neutrals, colours that have their roots in the ground, earth pigments and natural stone. The image of the camel train, highly colourful textile set against sand, stone, sky is relevant, as is the idea of Regatta, highly coloured celebration against other ‘neutrals’, water and sky
These natural neutrals have enough depth and resonance to be great backgrounds and backdrops,in the same manner as sea sky, sand and stone, in order to facilitate the more vibrant colours. Good neutrals provide space, allowing these ‘stars of the show’ to reveal their true quality. In effect to show their true colours.
More recently, ‘neutral colouring’ has come to describe full monochromatic colour combinations – a pallete of tonal colours from the same base. These ‘neutrals’ fall mostly within the warm spectrum and encompass a wide range of natural hues and tones with redolent names such as: ivory, sand, oyster, rye, cream, candle, café au lait, snow-white, porcelain, stone, wheat, parchment, white pepper, canvas, chalk, frost, quartz, travertine, limestone (see lime) and greige. …