T-Shirt Color Palette: Shades of Gray
T-Shirt Trends
min read

T-Shirt Color Palette: Shades of Gray

With two different spellings & even more shades — gray is a versatile base color for your next tee.

Life isn’t black and white; it’s mostly gray. Tons of gray in the world means decision making can be hard. If your decision lies in a literal gray area (like choosing a shade of gray for your next custom t-shirt order) - don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. 

Consider Real Thread your guide to gray t-shirt customization. Here are some of our favorite gray t-shirts and their closest Pantone color matches to make your t-shirt decisions simple.

Shades of Gray T-Shirts

Next Level Apparel 3600 in Light Grey

Light gray shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 13-4104 

The Next Level 3600 is one of our most popular t-shirts to print on, so we offer a lot of gray color options. Light Grey is a very neutral look and the closest to white you’ll find in this style.

Next Level Apparel 3600 in Heather Grey

Heather gray shirt - Next Level 3600

Closest Pantone Match: 14-3907 

In Heather Grey, The Next Level 3600 has very cool undertones. Like the name suggests, there is a lot of heathering and texture to the color: leaving a non-uniform look. You may even catch some hints of purple and blue within this shade’s movement.

Next Level Apparel 3600 in Warm Grey

Next Level 3600 in Warm Gray t-shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 16-0205 

Compared to the other Next Level 3600 grays, Warm Grey falls closest to the tan/brown spectrum. With hints of brown and green, it gives a very earth-y look to the super soft, 100% cotton feel of the shirt.

Next Level Apparel 3600 in Heavy Metal

Next Level Apparel 3600 t-shirt in heavy metal dark gray

Closest Pantone Match: 18-3907

The Next Level 3600 in Heavy Metal is much darker than the previous grays. The color is very similar to traditional gunmetal grays, which will definitely make a design on this shirt stand out. Depending on the intended final result you're going for, this shade could lend itself nicely to either a subtle "soaked in" look with our discharge inks, or a pop of bolder/darker color with our Bold ink.

Next Level Apparel 6210 in Stone Grey

Next Level Apparel shirt in stone gray

Closest Pantone Match: 15-000

The Next Level 6210 is a cotton and polyester blend, meaning it will feel way softer than the Stone Grey color's name suggests. Consider this a slightly lighter version of the Next Level 3600 in Warm Grey, both having those slightly green, earthy undertones.

Next Level Apparel 6210 in Charcoal

Next Level 6210 shirt in charcoal

Closest Pantone Match: 19-3927

Charcoal is definitely the darkest gray colorway you’ll see in the Next Level 6210. Its dark color is cut through with cool undertones and the ashiness of the shirt’s heathering. The heathering here makes this a candidate for a cool vintage-style design.

Next Level Apparel 6210 in Dark Heather Grey

heather gray custom t-shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 15-4703

If you closed your eyes and imagined a simple gray shirt, you’d probably see the Next Level 6210 in Dark Heather Grey. Its basic-ness certainly isn't a bad thing, though — instead, it just means you have every opportunity to make this shirt your own and customize it to your heart's content. The texture of the cotton/polyester blend is reflected in the color, with a range of dark and light grays. 

Next Level Apparel 6210 in Silk

A creamy gray custom t-shirt: Next Level Apparel in Silk

Closest Pantone Match: 12-2103

The pearly tint in the Silk colorway of the Next Level 6210 creates a really clean and uniform look. Some may call this more of a cream than a gray—but it definitely has some gray undertones, so we decided to include it in this list for the good of the order. This shade could be perfect if you're trying to go for a more natural look in your design.

Bella+Canvas 3413 in Storm Tri-Blend

A cool and comfortable gray tri-blend

Closest Pantone Match: 16-3907

In our humble opinion, the Bella+Canvas 3413 in Storm Triblend has the perfect name. Like a stormy cloud, the triblend is strong and cool, with hints of lavender and white. 

Want more information on tri-blends in general? We've got the breakdown on our What Exactly Is a Tri-Blend? post.

Bella+Canvas 3413 in Athletic Grey Tri-Blend

Athletic gray t-shirt perfect for a custom design

Closest Pantone Match: 14-3903

The Bella+Canvas 3413 is a combination of cotton, polyester, and rayon, giving it an incredibly soft feel. Reminiscent of your old school gym uniform, the comfortability of the Athletic Grey Triblend is obvious in its look and feel. This gray is on the warmer side.

Bella+Canvas 3413 in Solid Dark Grey Tri-Blend

A Bella + Canvas custom dark gray t-shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 19-3917

The Solid Dark Grey Triblend from Bella+Canvas 3413 has a very similar look to the Next Level 3600 in Heavy Metal. This coloring has similar undertones, but is a shade darker than the Heavy Metal.

Bella+Canvas 3413 in Grey Tri-Blend

Bella Canvas gray triblend shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 16-3905

The Bella+Canvas 3413 in Grey Triblend is a truly neutral gray: a perfect middle ground between white and black. With a vintage look, the Grey Triblend would be the perfect choice for retro designs.

Bella+Canvas 3413 in Charcoal-Black Tri-Blend

Bella Canvas Charcoal triblend t-shirt

Closest Pantone Match: 19-4109

Of all the gray shades on this list, this Charcoal-Black Triblend is the closest to black. Like the name suggests, there are hints of black in the dark charcoal color. 

Looking to print a tonal, "black-on-black" look for your next design? We often recommend shading up or down in either your base garment color or ink color. We break it down a bit more in our Guide to Black-on-Black Printing — check it out! 

American Apparel 2001 in Slate

American Apparel 2001 in slate

Closest Pantone Match: 16-3905

The American Apparel 2001 in Slate is very similar to the Bella+Canvas 3413 in Grey Triblend, so the choice between the two may come down to your preference for fabric and fit. Where the Bella+Canvas 3413 is a tri-blend, the American Apparel 2001 shirt is 100% cotton. This garment has a slight cool, lavender tone to it.

American Apparel 2001 in Asphalt

American Apparel 2001 in Asphalt

Closest Pantone Match: 18-3906

Asphalt is a darker version of its sibling, the American Apparel 2001 in Slate. With light hints of earthy brown, it is also a warmer-toned option. 

American Apparel 2001 in New Silver

American Apparel 2001 in New Silver

Closest Pantone Match: 14-4002

Just like classic silver, the American Apparel 2001 in New Silver looks slick and sophisticated. With the 100% cotton build, the shirt will be durable and keep that new, professional look for longer than other shirts. We love how neutral this shade is — it's kind of an in-between tone of sand and gray, making it an interesting but versatile base to many designs. This one's great if you're simply looking for a neutral swap for a traditional white base garment.

American Apparel 2001 in Heather Grey

Closest Pantone Match: 13-4201

Being very similar to the Light Grey in Next Level 3600, this choice may again come down to the fit and style of the shirt itself. This Heather Grey is lightweight and simple, so you really can’t go wrong with this choice.

American Apparel BB401 in Heather Black

American Apparel poly blend shirt in heather black

Closest Pantone Match: 19-4109

Another dark, "almost-black" look to round out the list. This lightweight crew neck is made of 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester that lends itself to a super-soft feel. It fits a bit slimmer than the 2001, making this a super stylish option.

Talk to Us

Whatever shade you’re looking for, we want to help. Want more information on choosing the perfect shade of gray for your next design? Reach out to one of our printing pros and we'll get you headed in the right direction.

Let yourself live in the gray area by checking out our full selection of t-shirt shades in our product catalogue

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