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Color Theory from Raving Software: Using Black and White in Your Website Design

By November 16, 2017May 23rd, 2020Design Tips

Ways to use white in your web design

This is part of our ongoing “Design Tips for Clients” series. Whether you’re one of our clients or you’re looking to learn about design, we’ll give you an introduction to color, typography, industry jargon and much more.

This will be our final in-depth look at individual colors. If you’ve missed any, we have discussed six base colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) and the different ways they can be implemented in your design. Today, we’ll talk about white and black.

White and black are the default colors when it comes to web design. Before applying any formatting, a web page will display a white background with black text. These two colors are rarely considered part of a color scheme, even if they appear frequently throughout the design. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be an afterthought. An attentive approach when using black and white as prominent colors can lead to an impactful design.


How to use black as more than just a text colorWhite is often used to imply ideas of space, holiness, light, softness, cleanliness, and innocence. Meanwhile black is often used to portray darkness, luxury, power, elegance, destruction, death, glamour, and sophistication. Using black and white together can lend your website a very modern and state-of-the art feel, which fits with luxury and technology products. The contemporary feel is enhanced even more when adding gray into the mix.

Depending on how you look at it, gray is either a shade of white or a tint of black. Shades occur when you add different amounts of black to a base color, while tints come from adding white to a base color. Adding white to white or black to black leave you with the base color. So what we’re left with is adding black to white (or vice versa) to create different variations of gray.

How to use white as more than just a background color.In past posts, we’ve talked about how including a bright color, such as red, yellow, or green, to a black-and-white monochromatic scheme adds a fun element and pop of color. White and black offer a lot of flexibility when paired with other colors, as well.

Either black or white can be paired with light pastel or rich dark colors. Mixing black with darker, more muted colors is good for businesses who want to project an earthy tone. These color schemes would fit with high-end outdoors equipment. However, mixing black with soft rainbow color scheme, which is a popular trend at the moment, can give a dynamic and exciting feel for your website. Another strategy is to pair pastel colors with white to convey a clean, natural, and soft tone through your design.


As with all color schemes, ensure there is enough contrast within your colors so that content doesn’t blend and isn’t difficult for visitors to read or see. You can experiment with different color schemes using free online tools like Color Scheme Designer, Coolors, and ColourLovers.


Resources: “How to Use the Psychology of Color to Increase Website Conversions” from kissmetrics and “Color Theory 101” by James George.

Is there a design topic you want to know more about? Let us know in the comments or contact us through email.

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