Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, and mystery.

It creates diverse characteristics: providing a feeling of protection and comfort and at the same time a sensation of mystery. It is associated with silence and infinity as well as with the feminine vital force. Since its effects are dramatic, black should be used carefully. Some believe its powers can also be associated with restraining personal evolution or as a deterrent to change.

The use of black in decoration can be dramatic and inspiring and it enhances the psychological effects of other colours. It is, however, important to use it in moderation: a large black wall or ceiling can feel smothering and decrease the visual size and feel of the space, but, used sparingly in accents and for heightened dramatic effect, can be extraordinarily successful.

Judicious use of black in your décor will highlight other colours and add a touch of refinement and drama. Finally, open yourself up to the virtues of good fortune and luck that the Chinese associate with the colour black – surely it is a virtue we can all appreciate to enhance our lives.

Black is a mysterious colour associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humour, ‘black death’). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant and prestigious colour (black tie, black Mercedes). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.

Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background diminishes readability. A black suit or dress can make you look thinner. When designing for a gallery of art or photography, you can use a black or gray background to make the other colours stand out. In fact, its neutral tone allows black to work well with most other colours; a great feature when it comes to designing. Black contrasts particularly well with bright colours. Combined with red or orange – other very powerful colours – black gives a very aggressive colour scheme.

White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity and virginity.

It is considered to be the colour of perfection. Being a neutral colour, white goes well with just about any other colours.

White means safety, purity and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.

In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because it’s the colour of snow. You can use white to suggest simplicity in high-tech products. White is an appropriate colour for charitable organisations; angels are usually imagined wearing white clothes. White is associated with hospitals, doctors and sterility, so you can use white to suggest safety when promoting medical products. White is often associated with low weight, low-fat food and dairy products.

For further reading about specific colours please view some of our previous posts:

The power of colour

Blue
Orange
Green
Red
Yellow
Violet

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