Black and white branding has a short list of associated traits and feelings. This striking minimalist color combo is a branding classic, and for good reason.
Black works well on its own as the ultimate formal color, lending a solid and elegant air for brands geared toward either gender. Paired with white, it’s the very foundation of branding – it’s common for a brand to have a full-color logo design along with a black and white version for certain uses.
Black and white branding meanings
The colors without hues
The Wikipedia page for black defines it as “…the darkest color, the result of the absence or complete absorption of visible light. It is an achromatic color, literally a color without hue, like white and gray.”
And white is “…the lightest color and is achromatic, because it fully reflects and scatters all the visible wavelengths of light.”
Perhaps that’s what makes these colors – if you can call them that – so fascinating and striking to the eye. One absorbs all visible light, appearing as dark as the eye can detect, and the other scatters and reflects all visible light, appearing as the complete absence of color.
Uses of black and white
Black and white together are versatile because they can be dressed up (formal black and white) — or dressed down, using black to accent the clean, basic white.
Traditionally in Western culture, black is the color worn by clergy and is also symbolic of death and mourning while white is symbolic of purity and peace. Most brides in the United States choose white wedding gowns for this reason, and to convey a new beginning – a fresh start.
Black and white branding stands out because black brings the formal, luxury component while white supports the clean, simplistic side. On the other hand, black and white branding is often the top choice for companies built on being out of the ordinary – like Vans and Converse.
Companies using black and white branding include:
- Dolce & Gabbana
- L’Oreal Paris
- The North Face
Is black and white right for your brand?
It’s here, in black and white – this is an elegant, powerful branding choice! Each of the above brands is considered an authority within their sector. We think their simplistic black and white branding has something to do with their staying power. Chanel hasn’t changed its logo even once in the entire time the company has existed – that’s a classic, timeless logo.
In branding and business, this color combo is all about solidity, luxury, sophistication, elegance, power and formality. Even if you don’t choose to do your logo and branding materials solely in black and white, it’s still wise to have a black and white version of your logo. Sometimes, viewing your logo in black and white before deciding on a color can help you get a better sense of which color would look best.
Read next: Color: For Branding, Blue Could Be You!