Are Black And White A Color

By | 19/08/2022

Is Black a Color?  Is White a Color?

Are black and white colors? Zebra?

The answer to the question – “Are black and white colors?”

is one of the most debated issues about color. Inquire a scientist and you’ll become a respond based on physics: “Black is not a color, white is a color.” Ask an creative person or a child with crayons and you’ll go another: “Black is a color, white is not a colour.” (Perchance!)

There are 4 sections on this folio that present the all-time answers.

Introduction: How Colors Exist

# one – The Kickoff Answer: Color Theory #i – Color every bit Light
Black is not a color. White is a color.

# 2 – The Second Answer: Color Theory #two – Colour as Paint or Molecular Coloring Agents
Blackness is a color. White is not a color

# three – The Third and Most Consummate Reply: Vision and Reflection

Comments from color pros: More about black & white


How Colors Exist

A basic understanding of how colors are created is the first step in providing correct answers. Here are two examples:


The color of a tangible object is the result of pigments or molecular coloring agents. For instance, the colour of a red apple (in the illustration at the left) is the result of molecular coloring agents on the surface of the apple. Also, a painting of a red apple is the result of red pigments used to create the prototype.

The colors of objects viewed on a goggle box or on a estimator monitor are the consequence of colored light (in the illustration at the right). If you lot’re not familiar with how colors are created past low-cal, expect at your monitor or television screen close upwards. Put your middle right upwards against the screen. A small-scale magnifying glass might help. This is what you will see:

TV pixels

A simplified way to explain information technology is that the color of a red apple on a computer or television is created past photons of red light that are transmitted within the electronic arrangement.

Primary Colors

It’s likewise important to sympathize the concept of “master” colors. The fundamental rule is that in that location are iii colors that cannot be made by mixing other colors together. These three, ruby, blue, and yellow, are known as the master colors.

Now that we’ve described two different categories of colors (paint and calorie-free-generated) and have a definition of master colors, the answer to whether black and white are colors can exist answered.

Colour Theory 1 – Colour as Light

(Additive Color Theory)

Red Green Blue

Crimson, Green, and Blue
(The primary colors of light)

 The question:

Are black and white colors when generated as light?

Cats on TV

Black and white cats generated on a television set.
These colors are created by lite.

The answers:

ane. Black is the absenteeism of color (and is therefore non a color)

When there is no light, everything is black. Test this out by going into a photographic dark room. There are no photons of calorie-free. In other words, there are no photons of colors.

2. White is the blending of all colors and is a color.

Light appears colorless or white. Sunlight is white light that is equanimous of all the colors of the spectrum.  A rainbow is proof. You lot tin can’t run across the colors of sunlight except when atmospheric weather bend the light rays and create a rainbow. You tin can also use a prism to demonstrate this.

Fact: The sum of all the colors of light add together upwards to white. This is condiment color theory.

black symbolism

Black = predator & danger. That’s the symbolism of the color that some say isn’t a color. Learn more well-nigh the purest symbolism of colors in this online course – Organic Color Symbolism – from Color Matters.

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Color Theory 2 – Colour as Pigment or Molecular Coloring Agents

(Subtractive Color Theory)



Red, Yellow, and Blue
(The primary colors of pigments in the art world)
Cyan, Magenta, and Yellowish
(The primary colors of inks in the press industry)

The question:

Are black and white colors when they exist as pigments or as molecular coloring agents?

black and white cats created with crayonsBlack and white cats created past colored crayons.
This is color generated past pigments.

Black and white cats

Black and white cats. The colors of the fur is the result of molecules.

The answers:

1. Blackness is a color. (Chemists will ostend this!)


Here’due south a simple way to evidence how black is made: Combine all 3 primary colors (cerise yellow and blue) using a liquid paint or you fifty-fifty food coloring. You won’t get a jet black, simply the bespeak will be clear. The history of blackness pigments includes charcoal, iron metals, and other chemicals as the source of black paints.
Resource: History of Pigments

Therefore, if someone argues that black is the absence of color, you lot can reply, “What is in a tube of black paint?” Still, y’all must add the fact that blackness is a color when you are referring to the color of pigments and the coloring agents of tangible objects.

2. White is not a colour.
… but …. in some cases you could say that white is a color.

The grey area:
Technically, pure white is the absenteeism of colour. In other words, you can’t mix colors to create white. Therefore, white is the absence of color in the strictest sense of the definition.

However, when you lot examine the pigment chemistry of white, ground-up substances (such as chalk and bone) or chemicals (such as titanium and zinc) are used to create the many nuances of white in paint, chalk, crayons – and even products such as Noxema. It’s worth noting that white paper is made past bleaching tree bark (paper pulp). Therefore, you could say that white is a color in the context of paint chemistry.

More Information about CMYK primary colors:

In theory, mixing equal amounts of three main colors should produce shades of grey or black when all 3 are fully saturated. In the impress industry, cyan, magenta and yellowish tend to produce muddied brownish colors. For this reason, a fourth “primary” pigment, black, is often used in addition to the cyan, magenta, and yellow colors.

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Learn the linguistic communication of color online

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Vision and Reflection

The last answer to whether black and white are colors takes other factors into consideration.

Colors be in the larger context of human vision. Consider the fact that there are three parts to the procedure of the perception of colour.

1. The medium – The color as it exists as a paint/colorant (such as the colour of a tangible object) or as light (such as the colour of an image on a television screen).

2. The sender – How the color is transmitted.

iii. The receiver – How humans run into color. In other words, how we receive data nearly color.

(If a tree falls in the wood and at that place is nobody around does it brand a sound? Does a color exist if in that location is no i to see it?)

The question:

Are black and white colors?

The answer:

The best answer combines both of the theories described in Role 1 and Function ii.  Pigments and coloring agents (as described in Office 1) are but half of the respond.

Here’southward how we encounter color:
reflection of light  red apple

The color of a tangible object originates as a molecular coloring agent on the surface of the apple. We see the color of an object because that object reflects “a color” to the eye. Every color is the effect of a specific wavelength. Link to ElecroMagnetic Color at Color Matters.

In the instance of the apple, nosotros see the colour red because the red apple reflects the specific wavelength of red (640nm is red).

The aforementioned theory applies to black and white.

black and white

The question:

Are blackness and white colors?

The answer:

1. Black is non a color; a black object absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and
reflects none of them to the eyes.

The grey area virtually black:

  • A black object may expect blackness, just, technically, information technology may yet be reflecting some calorie-free. For example, a black pigment results from a combination of several pigments that collectively blot about colors. If appropriate proportions of 3 primary pigments are mixed, the result reflects and so little low-cal as to be called “black.” In reality, what appears to be black may exist reflecting some light.
  • In physics, a blackness body is a perfect absorber of light.

2. White is a color. White
reflects all the colors of the visible light spectrum to the optics.

In conclusion

The colors nosotros see are but a degree of how much of this colour nowadays in lite is reflected. To be completely authentic, a color reflects the wavelengths in the NM range that our retinal cones respond to.

The medium is the process of reflection of the wavelength of the color.
The receiver is our eyes which receive the wavelength of the colour.

More from Color Matters

Find the answers to color design questions.

There’due south more than to color than black and white! When y’all’re finished with this article, observe the 3 nearly of import things most color at Color Matters. See Basic Color Theory

Why is yellow happy and blue sad? Explore the meanings of colors.

When you’re finished with black & white, explore some existent colors at Color Matters:
The Meanings of Colour

Comments from colors pros: More than about blackness & white

More about color vision:How the Eye Sees Color

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