Have you ever wondered why some companies still use black and white video/print campaigns? Or do you like black and white imagery but don’t know how they can stand out? Read on to find out why you might want to consider running a black and white advertising campaign.
It’s in the eyes
To gain a better understanding of why black and white images are appealing to us we first need to look (pun intended) at our visual organ, the human eye. Eyesight is possible through photoreceptor cells which react to light and provide signals to the brain that are then translated into visuals. You’ve probably heard of “rods and cones”, the former enabling us to “see” light and the latter being responsible for differentiating colours. Rods outnumber cones 20:1, which basically means our eyes are primarily built for recognising changes in light levels rather than colour. This predisposition combined with the possibilities in post production makes black and white elegant. Pure contrast simplifies images, optimising it for the human eye.
Drawing with Light
Amongst colour ads a b&w image will stand out. Variations like duo/tritone or black and white with partial colour usage can assist in drawing attention to a particular subject or convey a certain mood through subtle hues in highlights, midtones and/or shadows. When editing a black and white image you can also emphasize or play down the contrast of different tones in your picture (provided you are starting out with a colour image of course), or even portray two different colours with similar tones as the same hue. Photography is a word derived from the Greek photos- for “light” and -graphos for “drawing”, and that is the essence of black and white images – visual story telling through light and shadows.