In color spaces we have the regular solid colors like solid red (#FF0000), solid green, solid blue, etc. ... Then when we add about 50% white ontop of it, it becomes a "pastel" color space... What about the opposite, if I add 50% black it gets just a dark and a pastel gets light... What are these called? What is the antonym of a pastel color space? Thanks! God bless!

  • "Pastel" is usually used when talking about paints and other physical colours, and usually implies a subdued matt finish as well as paler (lighter, less saturated) colours. "Vibrant" or maybe "vivid" or "gloss" might be a sort-of opposite here - but there's more to these than adding black. You can't control how matt or gloss (flat or shiny) the viewer's screen is, so "pastel" vs "vibrant" doesn't work so well RGB for colours on a screen. "Tint" is usually more appropriate than "pastel" (though "pastel" will still be understood). Nov 6, 2013 at 10:23
  • What about "jewel tone", which is an intense, darker colour? aesthetics.fandom.com/wiki/Colour_Theory#Others color-hex.com/color-palette/19155
    – Ben C
    Dec 12, 2020 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Although I never heard the term 'pastel colour space', it looks like you're talking about tints, tones and shades of a hue, in HSB colour space. The term you're looking for is shade.

The pure hue has S(aturation) and B(rightness) each equal to 100%. Adding any amount of white reduces saturation, while keeping the brightness at 100%, yielding a tint of the hue. Adding any amount of black reduces brightness, while keeping saturation at 100%, yielding a shade of the hue. Lastly, adding both white and black (also known as 'grey') to a pure hue yields a tone of the hue.

painter's colour mixing terminology

[source: Wikimedia commons]


I don't know why people have to make this complicated. I'd say muted colors are the opposite of pastels. While we think of pastels are loud, bright and vibrant muted colors have a grayer tone.

  • I agree, pastels are kind of washed out with white too, like saturation down, brightness up. Muted seems to be saturation down, brightness down. As if they are washed out with black Mar 4, 2016 at 19:54
  • Does "dark color" work?
    – Rafael
    Mar 4, 2016 at 20:53

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