Evergreen Fog named 'Color of the Year' by Sherwin-Williams, but what color really is fog?

What does fog actually look like? Can it be green like Sherwin-Williams chose?

The famous paint company, Sherwin-Williams, has officially named its color of the year – Evergreen Fog. 

Evergreen Fog SW 9130 is described as a green-meets-gray color. 

"Evergreen Fog is a sophisticated wash of color for spaces that crave a subtle yet stunning statement shade," said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "Evergreen Fog inspires us to begin again and is a great choice for modern interiors and exteriors."

The company says that after years of cool neutrals and bold jewel tones, Evergreen Fog ushers in a new era of nostalgic mid-tones. 

They go on to say that it is a cool and refreshing color. But what does fog actually look like? Can it be green like Sherwin-Williams chose? 

Spoiler alert: Fog isn't just one specific color. Like most things with the weather, the answer isn't linear, so let's break it down. 

What is fog?

Fog is defined as tiny water droplets suspended in the air at Earth's surface. It is actually a layer of stratus clouds that are on or near the ground. 

For a cloud to form, there needs to be water and nuclei. 

With water or water vapor always being in the atmosphere, the actual molecules are too small to bond together. That's where the nuclei come in to help. 

Nuclei are tiny particles consisting of things like specks of soil, ocean spray, or smoke. This means that every cloud droplet has a bit of dirt, dust, or a salt crystal within it. Even though it has a pollution particle inside, the cloud droplet is still essentially pure water.

Depending on the temperature and dew point temperature, clouds or fog can form suddenly or take some time.

Get to it already! What color is fog? 

The color of clouds or fog depends primarily on the color of light it receives. 

If it is daylight, the cloud usually will appear white because the sun provides ‘white’ light. This white light combines all the colors in the visible spectrum. If there is more haze or dust in the air, clouds can appear pink or orange. 

For the cloud to appear grey, sunlight passing through the cloud or fog will need to be blocked or diminished. That is why fog often appears grey because it is at the surface, and the sun is blocked. 

The NWS says that the color of perception also has a lot to do with what something, like clouds, in the atmosphere appears to be, "A more common reason is the contrast between the background and foreground cloud overwhelms our vision. In essence, our eyes are tricked with our perception of foreground clouds appearing dark relative to the overwhelming brightness of the background." 

But what about the color ‘Evergreen Fog’

So, could the scattering of light through cloud droplets mix with the green forest make an ‘Evergreen Fog' color? Sure. 

Are our eyes just playing tricks on us because we see the green forest's background and the fog's foreground? Maybe. 

Was it just Sherwin-Williams' choice to mix green with grey? Also, a very promising possibility. 

You be the judge.