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Are Black and White Colors?

Sometimes you hear people talk about black and white, as if they were colors. But are they really? The tiger in the photograph was originally full color, but photoshopped for this article. Many times graphic artists like to “pump up” the color for dramatic effects, even though the final outcome becomes quite an eyeful, to say the least. But what about black and white?

Technically speaking pure white is the absence of color. Put another way, you cannot make white by getting several cans of paint, and mixing them up to produce white. On the other hand you can take those same cans of paint, and mix them up to get black!

This is what makes white and black special. And artists, graphic artists, designers, etc., exploit these special qualities. You see this all the time. Take the tiger. He has been electronically denuded of most of his colors. That’s why he looks so silly and lethargic. Sorry Tony!

The whole point of this is to show that you can have a significant impact by removing most of the color in an image, and just putting the focus right where it has the most impact. In this case, the tongue. Keep this in mind when you are working with a designer. Sometimes, less is more…

Oh, and about white, in many circles it’s not a color, until you start talking about light, a discussion for another day.

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