Black is usually the color people try to avoid getting associated with, especially that it mostly represents negativity, bad luck and death, especially in Asian countries.
However in the world of art and design, black is one of the well-loved and most used color because of its neutrality. Depending on the color it is paired with, black can either look modern or traditional and even anything between. Even when used on its own, black boosts an image since the color exceeds an air of elegance, sophistication and a classic touch, especially when used in silhouette designs.
Check out these black silhouettes that exude an edgy yet elegant vibe:
Just how the same words can mean differently with every language, color symbolism can also be depicted differently from culture to culture—just like how a crow can symbolize death or change.
Here are a few examples:
In the Chinese culture, the color symbolizes destruction, disasters, suffering, evil, sadness, and cruelty. It is called “hei” which literally mean bad luck. However, feng shui, the most popular Chinese philosophical system, associates black with money, income, career success, stability, power, and emotional protection.
In Japan, black also has a negative connotation such as fear, sorrow, destruction, and death. It is widely used in funeral ceremonies since the color in Japanese culture represents mourning and misfortune. But, black has been slowly elevating itself to be a color of elegance and is somehow considered a color of formality.
The colorful culture of India associates black with anger and lack of desirability. It may also represent negativity, evil, and darkness. Because of these meanings, black is less visible among others colors in the beautiful land of India.
Going completely contrary with the Asian’s mostly negative relations with the color, the West cultures see black as a widely-accepted representation for sophistication, elegance, and formality.
Moreover, in Africa, the color represents age, wisdom, maturity and masculinity.
Did you know that Abercrombie’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, does not allow the production of black clothing for his company, and for his employees to wear such color to work?
While other people swiftly conclude that Jeffries is an absolute believer of traditions and cultural beliefs, Jeffries’ statement in an interview proved these speculations otherwise.
He said the main and only reason why he does not allow the production of black clothes in his clothing line and neither does he allow his workers to wear anything black while at work is because he sees black as a color that speaks so much of formality—it wouldn’t really quite fit for a company that sells casual clothing, would it?
Black is black, however you look at it, either artistically or philosophically. It can be a color that brings bad luck, or an element that breathes life into images. It can come across as a warning or a blessing. But at the end of the day, if you’re up for a classic choice in design, black is your safest bet.
For other classic design picks, check out our gallery of heart silhouettes.