Black & White or Coloured Designs – How to Choose

Have you ever found yourself in a heated debate over some graphics regarding whether to post them in colours, black&white or sepia tones? You are not alone in this, because there are pros and cons on each side and I will make a round-up of the most compelling arguments to help you decide.

Black&white adds depth and meaning

The most respected graphic designers and photographers have a solid portfolio of black&white work. Portraits, abstract, geometric images look at their best in black&white. Designs simulating hand drawing also look more realistic in black & white.


Coloured designs have a stronger impact

An explosion of colours catches the eye and the attention. There are various techniques to encourage a longer stay on a website by the skillful use of colours and graphics. This works especially on sales pages or promotional materials.


Black&white looks more professional

If you are dealing with a corporate client, using black & white or muted colours might be mandatory to coordinate with their overall corporate identity. This is why it pays to learn how to be creative in black and white.



Colours are what makes the difference between good and fantastic designers

That is correct, too. Talent is shown through the way you use the colour palette, how you combine tones, how you fade to black or blend colours. Some artists prefer to make statements with bold colours, other are skilled at semi-tones, but everywhere we can distinguish a good design from a bad design judging by the use of colours.



Best of both worlds

And I’ve left this trick for last, because it must be used sparsely, very carefully and in the right context. It started as a photo editing technique and it made its way into the world of graphic design. Basically, you have a black and white image with a single item in bright, bold colours. This kind of design is spectacular, so use it appropriately, for a truly spectacular theme.


These being said remember that the techique depends on the subject, on the client and on your own ability to be more creative in black and white, or in colour. What is your favourite design style?

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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