In terms of light frequencies (additive color theory), white is the presence of all colors and is, therefore, a color. Black is not; without light everything is black. However, when thinking about color in terms of physical pigments ( subtraction color theory), like paint, the tables turn; white is not considered a color while black is the presence of all colors.
Black is visually heavy. Its message is therefore very strong. Black’s most common association is power, authority, and strength. It is for this reason that too much black can become overwhelming. In stories of good versus evil black and darkness is always symbolic of the villain (Darth Vader being a prime example). Other associations of black include intelligence (black horn-rimmed glasses), professionalism (suit and briefcase), mourning and mystery. As a deep and serious color, black can direct communication in a powerful way.
White is considered safe and open. While black is symbolic of evil, white is directly linked to that which is righteous, good and peaceful (sticking with the Star Wars theme, Luke Skywalker is an effective example). Furthermore, white projects clarity, cleanliness (doctors in white coats), purity (wedding dresses) and salvation. White is said to promote creative thought (a blank whiteboard) and is also synonymous with fresh beginnings. As a positive, clear and open color, white can direct communication in a powerful way.
History and culture shed light on how black and white associations have become so easily accepted as being in opposition. The most recognized example of this is represented in the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol, an embodiment of contrary forces (good and evil) that are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world.
In martial arts, the black belt signifies the highest rank (power), while the white belt represents someone who would run screaming from the person with the black belt.
n Aztec culture, black represented war because the black obsidian glass was used as the cutting edge of battle swords. In battle, a white flag is universally recognized as a symbol of surrender. Black is evil; white is good. Black traps space, while white opens space.
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