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Meaning of the Color Black: Symbolism, Common Uses, & More

Black is the color of mystery, elegance, and power

This article is about the symbolism and meaning of the color black, which is part of the Color Meaning Series.

To learn about other colors too, browse our meaning of the colors guide.

Summary of the meanings of the color black
Color black meanings

Where can we find the meaning of black?

Is it in the fluffy black cat purring when petted? Maybe it is in the classic black dress in every woman’s wardrobe or in the darkness of an eerie forest.

As the most mysterious color of all, black is associated with Halloween and the occult. Still, its meanings go way beyond its dark side.

Black evokes elegance, authority, and much more. And that’s exactly what we will delve into in this article.

To give you a full picture of the symbolism and meanings of the color black, we’ll also talk about its most common uses, company logos, chakra, gemstone, facts, quotes, and idioms.

Black Color Meanings in Different Cultures

According to color psychology, each color influences our lives – from our behavior to our mood. Still, color associations are everything but universal.

The symbolism of the colors can be different in different cultures. Still, each person has their own experiences and upbringing, making the way they perceive colors unique.

For that reason, we will briefly nudge into the symbolism of black in different cultures before we jump into its psychological meanings.

  • In Western cultures, black means mourning, sadness, and passing.
  • In ancient Egypt, black signified life and rebirth.
  • In China, black represents immortality, stability, and power.

What Does the Color Black Mean in the Bible?

The Bible uses colors to convey messages and emotions. In this case, black is associated with the devil, darkness, suffering, passing, mourning, famine, and judgment of sin.

Psychological Meaning of Black

Poor black, a wildly misunderstood color.

As opposed to white, black usually has a negative connotation. It often represents the evil character in the cinema as the color conveys occult threats and dangers.

For instance, many idioms negatively use the word black, but we will talk about it later.

Black cat with yellow eyes

Color Black Meaning

Many people even wonder if black is a color at all since it is the absence of light, the absence of color.

As such, black conveys pessimism and a lack of hope, suggesting sadness and depression. It takes the positive aspects of life out, just as a black hole sucks everything that comes too close.

The color black stimulates thoughts of misfortune, evil, and passing, urging to be left alone. As an unapproachable color, black is afraid of showing its vulnerabilities.

It creates a barrier between itself and the outside world – hiding the excess of weight, feelings, and insecurities.

Black is often used as protection as no one would dare to approach it. Black is feared. People retract themselves in the presence of black, leaving it isolated.

It is a color of rebellion, often worn by teenagers and youth during their transitional phase from childhood to adulthood.

Man walking on a path in a black forest surrounded by darkness

Black allows them to hide from the world while discovering their true selves.

More often than not, black also offers a sense of power to teens (and adults too) who relish their challenging moments – and black helps their message get across.

However, if this phase extends to a later age, and people continue to wear black clothing excessively, it might be a sign they experience emotional pain.

The unknown and lack of light in black leave a lot to the imagination. Its unwillingness to divulge its innermost thoughts sparks a mysterious aura that eclipses everything surrounding it.

Like purple, black is seen as a mysterious color and therefore versed in the art of seduction – black arouses sensations.

The color black needs power and control. It hangs on to information and things rather than giving out to others. And yet, it also implies submission. For instance, priests wear black in obedience to God.

These contradictory traits make black an appealing and intimidating color, yet refined and confident.

Beautiful woman wearing a black dress
Black is powerful and elegant

More often than not, black ignites a sense of superiority attributed to expensive products. In the fashion realm, black stands for class and flair, using its prestigious appeal to evoke strong emotions.

Black is incredibly strong.

In keeping with that, it doesn’t come as a surprise black is predominantly used in edgier and elegant designs.

Black is not only sleek and bold, but it also is versatile and looks good when combined with any color of the spectrum.

In design, it is often used as an accent color or for texts because of its neutrality and versatility. The same concept holds on for the timeless black dress, a staple in most women’s wardrobes.

In the meaning of the colors, black can be conservative or modern, traditional or unconventional – it all depends on the colors you’re combining it with.

For instance, bright colors combined with black break black’s aggressiveness – bright green, orange, red, pink, and blue brighten black’s energy.

Still, too much black can be overwhelming as its dark essence doesn’t inspire much positivity.

Black is a visually slimming color for clothing and interior design. Rooms painted in dark colors appear to shrink in size.

Black wall in home office

But when used sparingly, black has a grounding effect on your environment.

If painting a wall black seems too much for your taste, consider starting by adding black home decor items, such as vases and canvases.

Physical Effects of Black

As we touched on earlier, each color has distinct effects on us. Here are some of the physical effects of black:

  • Hides vulnerabilities – It conceals weaknesses, such as weight, feelings, and emotions.
  • Intimidates – Its boldness intimidates those around, creating an invisible sense of power.
  • Depresses – It brings moods down, allowing sad and depressive thoughts.
  • Boosts confidence – It boosts confidence and the sense of possibility to those who wear this timeless color.

Personality Color Black

Black is mysterious and instills a sense of sophistication while provoking it through its power.

If black is your favorite color, then you might have the personality color black.

Meanings of Black Shades

Like white, black has no pure shades because the color is, in fact, the absence of light.

Charcoal: It represents strength, mystery, and is often associated with minimalist designs.

  • Charcoal hex code: #36454F

Jet black: It is associated with elegance and sophistication. It is a timeless shade that is also related to funerals.

  • Jet black hex code: #0A0A0A

More Shades of Black

Shades of black
Shades of black

Here are some more shades of black: Midnight, ebony, coal, raven, ink, onyx, leather, pitch, obsidian, oil, jade, jet, chalk.

Most Common Uses of Black

The color black is mostly used to promote technology, expensive, or even rebellious products and services.

It is also often used in clothing, shoes, make-up, vehicles, furniture, and appliances.

Companies and Brands That Use Black in Their Logo

Most brands that use black in their logo have a font-based logo that focuses on a business’ name alone, which is often simple yet powerful.

Black logos
Companies and brands that have black logos

Black Gemstone

Black gemstones are believed to clear and protect the aura from negative energies. It is a stone that helps the one who bears it to connect to the earth.

Facts About Black

  • Black is the darkest color and is achromatic (a color without hue).
  • Black was one of the first colors used in art. The color was extracted, among others, from burned bones.
  • In 2014, an English high-tech company created what they call the darkest black ever seen, called Vantablack – it absorbs 99.96% of light.[1]
  • As a professional-looking color, black is the most common color in business attire.
  • Among all naturally black things, flowers are the rarest in this color.

Quotes About Black

Here are a few glamorous quotes about black.

You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion.

Christian Dior
Quote about black

Black is not sad. Bright colors are what depresses me. They’re so… empty. Black is poetic. How do you imagine a poet? In a bright yellow jacket? Probably not.

Ann Demeulemeester
Quote about black

I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color.

Wednesday Addams
Quote about black

Women who wear black live colorful lives.

Neiman Marcus
Quote about black

Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy — but mysterious. But above all black says this: I don’t bother you — don’t bother me.

Yohji Yamamoto
Quote about black

Popular Idioms With the Word Black

  • Pitch black: Something completely black.
  • Black belt: A black belt worn by an expert in karate, judo, and other martial arts.
  • Black tie: Formal dress code for social events in the evening.
  • Blacklist: A list of things or people regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy.
  • Black market: An illegal trade in officially controlled commodities.
  • Black sheep: A member of a family or group regarded as disreputable.
  • Blackmail: Demanding payment or another benefit from someone in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them.
  • Blackout: A temporary loss of consciousness.

Summary Color Black Meaning

As a powerful and versatile color, black charms with ease concealing its vulnerabilities.

It calls for sophistication and is often attributed to expensive products. 

More often than not, black evokes authority and formality, intimidating others by its mysterious aura. Unsurprisingly, it is a color versed at the art of seduction.

The unknown and lack of light in black instill fear, pessimism, and thoughts of loss and rebellion.

It is a dominant color, and often, a misunderstood one.

Black means: mystery, power, formality, authority
Effects of black: boosts confidence, depresses, hides vulnerabilities, intimidates
Positive traits: sophistication, elegance, protection, strength
Negative traits: pessimism, fear, evil, loss