Skip to Content

Metallic Colors: What They Are, Meaning, Tips & Examples

Metallic colors are instrumental in catching people’s attention when used correctly since they are derived from natural metals and have a shimmer and glint that can elevate any artwork or object through their shiny effect.

This article will comprehensively analyze metallic colors, their meaning, and how to use them in your designs best.

We will also give you some tips for using metallic colors and some tried and tested insight into the pros and cons of using the colors of metals.

Colorful pencils in metallic colors
Metallic colors symbolize power, luxury, and regality

What Are Metallic Colors?

Metallics are colors with a metallic sheen, like polished metal. They will usually glimmer and shine with the surface angle to the light source.

They are considered luxurious colors and have been used throughout history to add importance and power to the objects they are used to illuminate.

True metallic shades are developed directly from the color of metals, such as gold, silver, bronze, brass, nickel, chrome, aluminum, zinc, and copper. Still, there is a wide variety of colors with a metallic sheen.

You can give other color pigments a metallic finish by adding superfine metal dust to a dye, and this fine metal dust provides the required metallic sheen colored by the chosen pigment.

One thing to remember is that metallic colors can’t be reproduced using solid colors. In addition, there is no mechanism for showing metallic or fluorescent colors on a computer without resorting to rendering software that simulates the action of light on a shiny surface. 

Golden gift boxes

Psychological Meaning Of Metallic Colors

Colors arouse particular feelings and emotions, which have forged specific associations in our brains. For example:

  • Bright colors link to high energy, fun, and youthfulness. 
  • Light colors are related to stillness, peace, cleanliness, and softness.
  • Pastel colors are linked to playful calmness and friendliness.
  • Dark colors are typically associated with stability, competence, power, and sophistication.
  • Muted colors are related to safety, familiarity, and genuineness.

Since ancient times, metallic colors have been associated with power, luxury, and regality. Humans have always venerated metals due to both their usefulness and aesthetic allure. For instance, the Byzantine era saw gold and silver leaf used in artworks and mosaics.

Gold leaf was used to illuminate religious manuscripts, heraldry, and important state papers in the medieval period. 

The metallic effect conveyed importance and gravitas to whatever object a person used it used on.

In modern times, metallic colors have been associated with affluence, plenty, and a good time. Metallic is often used to give an occasion a celebratory feel because the metallic shimmer and shine add glamour.

Also, metallics are trendy automobile paint, adding a brilliant finish that enhances the contours of a car.

Below are some of the other meanings that can be associated with metallic colors:

Gold has a long history associated with affluence, power, wisdom, and success. It is also associated with the sun, masculinity, and glamour due to its bright sheen.

On the other hand, silver is aligned with the moon, a feminine metal, and elegant, subdued, but strong, silver is ethereal in its white glint.

Copper provides a rich, warm glow with an earthy undertone. Many early pots and pans were made of copper, so it has a homely appeal.

Bronze has an earthy feel; it exudes strength and power; humans made many early weapons and tools of bronze, which is imparted in its sense.

Brass has a bright, cheerful feel to it. It lacks seriousness and could be considered the poor man’s gold.

Iron exudes strength and purpose.

Metallic pigments convey a sense of celebration and joyousness.

Silver gift boxes

Pros And Cons Of Using Metallic Colors

As metallic colors can have highlighting and emphasizing effects, there can be pros and cons to using metallic colors, and I’ll take you through them:


Metallic colors help to enhance objects, and even the most subdued pigment will be enhanced with a metallic sheen.

Even little amounts of metallic paint can completely change a room and create an elegant atmosphere.

In cars, it tends to hide small vehicle blemishes and dents better.

You’re not restricted to actual metal colors because there are metallic versions of many solid colors, like pink (rose gold), purple, and green.


Too many metallic colors can be flashy and kitsch; one must use these colors carefully.

If you’re trying to keep a low profile, stay away from metallic colors as they tend to draw attention to themselves and the things they are used on.

Most metallic colors will have very fine metal, so they may not retain their original sheen as the metal dust may be reactive and corrode.

Metallic color palette of silver, bronze, rose gold, and gold

Tips For Using Metallic Colors

Metallic colors are best used on physical objects as computer screens can’t properly convey metallic glints in digital format. While a metallic Pantone may be shiny in person, it will appear dull and flat online.

Metallic colors are great for illuminating items, so use them sparingly, the aim being to enhance an object. Too much metallic color may overwhelm the object or do the exact opposite.

Color contrasts can be instrumental with metallic colors, as blues and purples will help to enhance the yellow in gold.

If you’re trying to subdue a metallic pigment, add some neutral colors like white or black, this will tone the metallic color down.

Depending on the occasion, one can go to town with metallic colors, particularly if you’re throwing a party. That said, care will need to be taken not to allow the metallic color palette to become kitsch.

Metallic Color Examples

Platinum – grayish-white metallic color. Both deep blues and reds pair it very well.

Gold – yellow metallic color. Blues and purples enhance and complement this vibrant color very well.

Silver – light-gray metallic. You can go wrong with silver. It goes well with nearly every color.

Bronze – orangy-brown color resembling alloy bronze. It goes well with deep blues.

Nickel – greenish-gray metallic. It’s a beautiful neutral that you can pair with most colors.

Metallics Hex Codes

Even though we can’t see the shiny quality of metallic colors by using the RGB color, we can use colors that resemble those real metals. Here are a few hex codes to inspire you:

#E5E4E2 – platinum

#D4AF37 – gold

#C0C0C0 – silver

#CD7F32 – bronze

#73706F – nickel

#4682B4 – steel

#B87333 – copper

#B76E79 – rose gold

Have you enjoyed this article about metallic shades? Then share it on social media! 

Drop the name of your favorite metallic color in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!