Color Symbolism and Meaning of Black

How do we know the meaning of black? Is it the mysterious dark of night that conceals terrifying nightmares? Is it the sharp delineation of black typeface on stark white paper that conveys meaning? Is the significance of black found in the dark attire of mourners at a funeral? Black is everywhere, and its significances infuse our cultures.

Meaning Of Black: Explained

Like its opposite, black is a definite color. It’s the color of borders, and of authority. Though we have many negative associations with black, we also find it intriguing.

Physical Effects

Black absorbs all light, so it’s a low-energy color. Though black used in contrast–particularly with white or yellow–does create energy, black on its own can be depressing and can dampen the mood. Black lines on white paper are stark, definite marks–bearing huge communicative potential for transmitting information.

Color meaning of black - sophistication, power, drama, elegance, formality and mystery.

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Symbolism And Meaning Of Black

Black represents evil, darkness, night, and despair. It’s the color used to convey certainty and authority, and when used in opposition with white, it’s a symbol of the eternal struggle between day and night, good and evil, and right and wrong.

Meaning of Black Words
Meaning of Black Defined

Positive Associations

We think of black as sophisticated and serious. It’s the preferred color for much formal attire, and the little black dress is a classic piece of attire that’s timeless and always appropriate. Black is unambiguous, definite. It’s not easily misunderstood, and in design it’s dramatic and helps create a feeling of certainty.

Black is unambiguous, definite. It’s not easily misunderstood, and in design it’s dramatic and helps create a feeling of certainty.

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Negative Associations

Black’s sober hue is associated with mourning in much of the world. A black mark on your record reveals wrongdoing, and we characterize bed people as being black-hearted. Black is frightening, as it conceals, rather than illuminates, and the cover of night is a perfect scenario for bad behavior. Too much black in design can be overwhelming and dull.

Black Color Morsels

The black widow spider is the most poisonous spider in North America, but only the females are dangerous. Black widow spiders produce the strongest silk of any spider species, and the bright red hourglass on the spider’s abdomen warns birds and other predators of the potent venom the spider produces.

The Black Sea is bordered by Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, and Russia. Its waters are particularly calm, and it doesn’t have any tidal variations. Though it used to be a more plentiful source of fish and wildlife, the Black Sea has been heavily polluted and rampant overfishing has contributed to a steep decline in fish populations.

Black holes are formed when large stars collapse, and they’re so dense that gravity is inescapable, even for light! Astronomers believe there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Black bears are found only in North America, where they’re the smallest of the three North American species. Black bears live in at least forty states in the US, and their average lifespan is about ten years.

Read About the Color Black

Black: The History of a Color
Black Magic and Purple Passion

Quotes About the Color Black

Quotes About Black
“Any color, so long as it’s black.”-Attributed to Henry Ford
"Black is such a happy color darling."-Morticia Addams

More About The Meaning Of Black

Green Black Brand Colors
What's Behind the Color Name Black

Black As A Signature Color

A signature color is different than a favorite color although for some people they many be one and the same. It is all in how you express yourself with a color and how consistently you wear it or surround yourself with the color that makes it your signature shade.

  • Johnny Cash — This country music icon was referred to as “the man in black.”
  • Roy Orbison — He was always seen in black but it was his trademark black sunglasses that caused the most speculation.
  • Kiss — American rock band Kiss - Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley - known for their black wigs, black clothes, and painted faces.
  • Clint Black - With the last name black it makes sense for this country singer to always be seen with a black cowboy hat and black wrangler jeans.
  • Coco Chanel - Until 1926 when this French fashion designer single-handedly turned the "little black dress" into a chic wardrobe staple, a black dress was a dreary symbol of mourning. Chanel’s “simple yet elegant sheath, in black crêpe de Chine, with long, narrow sleeves, worn with a string of white pearls” (as described by Justine Picardie in her biography Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life) represented a seismic fashion shift.
  • Steve Jobs - He didn't don all black but rather a well-recognized uniform of a black mock turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers.
  • Karl Lagerfeld wears the same thing every day – black pant suits, white shirts and tie – but adds different accessories.
  • Michael Kors once told the Seattle Times, “I wear the same thing every day. I always pack two black jackets, loads of black T-shirts, loads of white jeans. I feel a little fresh and glamorous and graphic.”

Companies & Brands Identified by Black

  • Mont Blanc
  • Uber
  • Chanel
  • New York Times
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Prada
  • Gillette
  • Zara
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Sony
  • Nike
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Cartier
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Lancome
  • Honda
  • Puma
  • Accenture
Business Color Identify

Black And Our Sense Of Taste

It’s not just emotion that makes scent powerful. It’s closely tied to your memories, as well. Smell also plays a major role in our ability to taste. When combined with with color those connections become even stronger.

  • Today black pepper is added to just about every plate of food making it hard to imagine that this spice was once used as currency and presented to the gods as a sacred offering. Unlike salt, which can be found or made practically anywhere in the world, black pepper is indigenous only to Kerala, a province in southwest India. As trade made pepper available its popularity quickly spread through world cuisines. This resulted in typical spice blends such as garam masala in India, ras el hanout in Morocco, quatre épices in France and Cajun and jerk blends in the Americas. – The Story Of Pepper
  • True licorice candy contains an extract from the root of the licorice plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra. This licorice root has been used since ancient times to flavor and sweeten candies, teas, throat lozenges, pharmaceuticals, and other products. Today many, but not all, black licorice candies are flavored with licorice extract. - The Hershey Company

Color And Our Sense Of Smell: Black

It’s not just emotion that makes scent powerful. It’s closely tied to your memories, as well. Smell also plays a major role in our ability to taste. When combined with color those connections become even stronger.

  • Anise is often referred to as licorice scent and as a result is often a favorite of licorice lovers. Its aromatherapy benefits include: cheering, sense-enhancing, and being mildly euphoric.
  • Licorice: mysterious, spicy-sharp, almost louche — as scents go, licorice is notoriously polarizing. Blended into perfumes, it gives otherwise ho-hum fragrances a “sexy, murky spin.” – Cristina Mueller (Lucky magazine Sept. 2006)
  • The black colored Magic Scents Crayons labeled "Licorice" from Binney & Smith Inc. originally were scented to smell like black licorice. However, after numerous reports that children were "eating" the food-scented crayons the company replaced the current with names and scents that wouldn't be considered so tasty. The scent for the color black became “leather jacket.”

Black In The Garden

Why grow black flowers? Not just for the sake of having a conversation piece in your garden, although they are good for that. The best reason is because they have so many design uses. For example, black flowers are great for cooling down hot colors, like fire-engine-red ‘Lucifer’ crocosmia or hot-orange Mexican sunflower. – Garden Gate Magazine

The magic of black flowers has attracted our attention for centuries. Black tulips and black roses appear to originate from a fairytale world.

A pure black flower is the Holy Grail of plant breeders worldwide. Their improbable and “unnatural” color inspires a powerful feeling of mystical expectation. - Flowers and Plants Association

Black Plants

Creating a black garden needs to be given some thought. Is your aim formal or modern? Do you wish to use black as accents and highlights or as the main color? Forget people who say that black cannot be used on its own and don’t argue over what is or is not black, just simply plant it. Use the differing tones and hues to enhance the overall feeling. Be certain of one thing: this color is not gloomy. It is modern, vibrant, and sexy. It mixes so easily with other colors of the spectrum, above all with green, chartreuse, gold, and silver. – Karen Platt, garden book author, quilter, and photographer

Discover More About The Meaning Of Colors

Color Symbolism and Meaning of Red
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Gray
Color Symbolism and Meaning of White
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Pink
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Green
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Brown
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Orange
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Purple
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Yellow
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Blue

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Talk to Us About the Color Black

We'd enjoy knowing what you love about the color black or what you most enjoyed about this article. We love hearing from you and read every comment.

Is there something that you know about black that should be included here? Great! We’d love to hear from you. Share what you know about the color black by leaving a comment below. We may just add it to the information shared on this page.

Read Time: 8 min
  • Dr. Orland LARSON says:

    Black IS THE Spring COLOUR IN SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN! 80% of t he people wear black
    or carry something black!

  • you are very good i congratulate you all

  • This article entitled Meaning of black it’s very helpful for me..very nicely describes this information. Thank you for sharing such great content for us!

  • Wren says:

    This article helped a lot but I still have one question. Can black represent fear?

    • Kate Smith says:

      Yes, it can and it often used to evoke feelings of fear — darkness, grim reaper, vampires — many things that are frightening are shown in black, which links the color to fear in our mind.

  • Black orbs , lines have been shown to me for months, by Spirit Guide, because of my fear of disease and death, and lack of trust?

  • Saurabh says:

    Wow! This is really amazing

  • Christopher says:

    Here’s some Black songs for your list: Black Dog; Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath; Black Sabbath. Black Black Heart; David Usher. That Old Black Magic; Sammy Davis Jr. Men in Black; Will Smith, and as you stated Johnny Cash “The Man in Black” also has a title song Man in Black.

  • Use full

  • Roshan Kumar says:

    Awesome blog. Thank you for guiding us. We will add all your suggestion on wowfas.

  • christina says:

    black is a very protective color. The stone black tourmaline is a enviroment protecter and absourbs negative energy when placed at the enterances of a building.

  • Mark says:

    Wow! This is really amazing 🙂

  • Milind says:

    Do u think doctors surgical scrub should be black? I love it, but afraid of negativity

  • Student says:

    Thank you for the help! I am doing a school science fair experiment about what color helps memory the most.

  • Peter Hanley says:

    I wish the message you sent by driving a black vehicle was: ugly, a loser, stupid.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Haha, there are some exceptions to every rule. 😉

      • Peter Hanley says:

        I am ashamed of myself.

  • JILL GATSBY says:

    I love this! Amazing. I created a hashtag #blackismorebeautiful

    My goal is to redefine the color BLACK.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Thanks, Jill. Best of luck on achieving your goal of redefining black!

    • no says:

      Thank u this article is amazing for my class project

      • Kate Smith says:


  • MEXI says:


    • Kate Smith says:


  • tanıma ve tenfiz says:

    Hello everyone, it’s my first time to pay a visit to this website and it was helpful, keep up posting such good content.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Thank you for your great comment, Tanima.

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