top of page

'Black colour' diversity: Did you know the psychology behind it?

"Black is real sensation, even if it is produced by entire absence of light. The sensation of black is distinctly different from the lack of all sensation." ~ Hermann von Helmholz, a German scientist.

Within this tense and sometimes turbulent period of protests we daily read the word ‘Black’, without giving too much attention to its deeper meaning, but possibly just associating it with another ‘Black Lives Matter’ news. However, what associations do you have with black colour? While black has different symbolic meanings, individual reactions to the colour black can vary widely. Yet, have you ever digged deeper?

Illustration by Cindy Chung, credit Verywell

According to “colour psychology”, these are the unique and not so known characteristics of black that go beyond the commonplaces of black colour associated nowadays in Western societies. Here’s some:

  • Black absorbs all light in the colour spectrum.

  • Black is often popular as an indicator of power. It's used to represent treacherous characters such as Dracula and is often associated with witchcraft.

  • In ancient Egypt, black represented life and rebirth.

  • Black is often used in fashion because of its slimming quality.

Black in Marketing

In marketing and branding psychology, black is associated with boldness, formality, mystery, strength, luxuriousness, and seriousness. Famous brands that utilize black in their logos and marketing are Blackberry, Tiffany & Co., Apple, Disney, Nike, Gillette, Adidas, Sony, Ralph Lauren, and MTV. Besides being sleek, black is versatile and can be combined with any other colour.

Image credit Feedough

A Preference for Black

People's preference for certain colours is based on a whole host of factors such as environment, personality, experience, economic status, and upbringing. One recent study on colour preference in adults found that out of 18 total colours, including no preference, black ranked number 13 as adults' favourite colour overall. However, when it comes to clothing, black was ranked as the number one favourite colour for both genders combined. Interestingly, black got the first place because 40 percent of the females chose black as number one compared to only 16 percent of males, who ranked it as their fourth favourite clothing colour.

Anok Yai opens the Prada autumn/winter 2018 show at Milan Fashion Week. Image credit Rex Features, via The Independent

Black in Feng Shui

In feng shui, a way of harmonizing your home, office, and other environments, each colour represents a feng shui element. Black is associated with the water element and evokes power, mystery, and calm. When it's used sparingly, black has a grounding effect on your environment.

The use of black in feng shui is very popular when it comes to putting a black door for doors that face north, east, or southeast, or when it is recommended when choosing black for your kids' room can bring calm and creativity. But also try placing black accessories like knick-knacks, frames, or vases around your home, which will give a sense of modernity and a fresh view of your house.

Bed Placement according to Feng Shui. Image credit Nightfly Black Rossetto, via Modern Furniture Blog

Interesting, isn’t it? And you, what do you think? What are your thoughts on the psychology of black colour?


bottom of page