Color White Meaning: Symbolism and Meaning of the Color White

White is the color of purity, peace, and cleanliness

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

If you want to learn about other colors of the spectrum, you will want to check out this guide on the color meanings.

Summary of the meanings of the color white
Color white meanings

Where can we find the meaning of white?

Is it in the crunchy morning snow or in the freshly laundered bedsheets?

Perhaps white’s meaning is hidden in the soft cotton balls, in the brightness reflected by the moon, or in the serenity of a dandelion.

Many naturally white things could give us a sense of this color’s true meanings. And that’s precisely what we will delve into this article – the meaning of the color white.

The symbolism of white

While color psychology advocates each color has an influence on our moods and behaviors, color associations are far from universal.

Colors can have different meanings and symbolism in other cultures. Not only that, but each person has a unique experience with each color, creating a personal symbolism to each individual.

For that reason, we will briefly nudge into the meaning of white in other cultures before jumping into its psychological meanings.

Woman wearing white wedding dress

White color meanings in other cultures

  • In Western cultures, white symbolizes purity, peace, cleanliness, and virginity, which is why brides usually wear a white dress on their wedding day.
  • In Eastern cultures, white symbolizes mourning, the passage to a new life, and bad luck.
  • In India, widows are traditionally only allowed to wear white.[1]
  • In Brazil, it represents peace and purity and is traditionally worn on New Year’s Eve.
  • In Peru, white is related to good health and angels.

Color white meaning

White contains all wavelengths of visible light. It is a blending of all colors of the spectrum, carrying both the positive and negative traits of all of them.

With its bright aura, white is the perfect balance of all colors, making it impartial and neutral.

In essence, it symbolizes new beginnings like a blank page of a notebook that waits to be written upon.

As we touched on earlier, white is the color used in funerals, especially in cultures that believe people begin a new journey after passing away. White is the color of reincarnation, of rebirth.

In the same breath, white is the color used in many cultures on new year’s eve to mark the beginning of a new and prosperous year. It’s the completion of a cycle with the beginning of a new one.

White blank page of a notebook
White represents new beginnings

Unlike red, white isn’t stimulating to the senses. Yet, it opens the path for creations and the new. It is a color that enhances the awakening of the soul.

In the meaning of the colors, white is related to light, goodness, innocence, and softness. For instance, angels are often depicted in white.

Also, each baby is born getting white in its purest form. Still, life events, experiences, and social relationships will paint this new life with other colors.

Physical effects of white

Just like every color has physical effects on us, white is a color of renewal. It provides clarity and declutters our minds:

  • Renovation – It promotes feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal, assisting in cleansing and encouraging the purification of thoughts and actions.
  • Organization – It increases the sense of sophistication, cleanness, and order.
  • Calm the mind – It has calming properties that soothe hurt souls. It evokes moods of quietness and concentration.
  • Clarify – It refreshes and purifies the mind, offering clarity.

More meanings of the color white

White, like black, can work well with just about any color of the spectrum.

In business, the color white is associated with the healthcare industry to communicate cleanliness and safety.

Most hospitals, pharmacies, medical centers, and laboratories have white as their primary color, either in the rooms and uniforms.

In graphic design, white is often used as a neutral backdrop or negative space to convey coolness and cleanliness. It suggests simplicity in high-tech products, heavily used in minimalist designs.

Because white is particularly efficient in increasing our sense of organization, it helps declutter our designs, and our homes – white gives a heightened perception of space.

So if you live in a small apartment, painting walls in shades of white might make your rooms appear more spacious than they actually are.

Woman holding brush with white paint
White walls make small spaces appear larger than they really are

The color white is also associated with understanding, faith, sincerity, simplicity, and delicacy.

White is the color of protection, offering a sense of peace and calm, aiding in our inner cleansing.

With its bright aura, the color white purifies and clarifies those in the throes.

While black is the absorption of light, white is the exact opposite of it – it is the reflection of light. It offers the ultimate illumination to those who can’t see their path.

In keeping with symbolism, the highest-ranking Catholic official, the pope, is the only one who can wear a white cassock.

The reason for that is white symbolizes perfection because it is the purest and most complete color.

After all, lucky white. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. For instance, it often represents a good character in the cinema as the color doesn’t threaten or endanger.

But like every other color, white also has negative traits. It conveys unfriendliness, emptiness, and coldness.

Given that white provides little stimulation of the senses, white makes a place look sterile, bland, and unimaginative when overused.

Personality color white

White has the highest equality standards as it combines equal amounts of every color of the spectrum.

If white is your favorite color, then you might have a personality color white.

Variations of the white

White has no pure shades because the color is a combination of all others. Yet, these are some (unpure) shades of white:

Ivory: It represents the pureness of white with the added warmth of yellow.

  • Ivory hex code: #FFFFF0

Beige: It has the warmth and down to earth traits of brown and the light crispness of white. It is a relaxing and dependable color.

  • Beige hex code: #F5F5DC

Pewter: This color retains the seriousness and neutrality of gray.

  • Pewter hex code: #E9EAEC

Additional shades of white

Shades of white
Shades of white

Pearl, snow, ivory, cream, eggshell, cotton, chiffon, salt, lace, coconut, daisy, porcelain, rice, baby powder, frost, ghost, floral, antique white, chalk, milk, linen, ghost white, lily, alabaster.

Most common uses of white

The color white is mostly used to promote high-end technology and health-related products – always balanced out with another color.

It is also often used in hospitals, medical centers, and pharmacies.

Companies and brands that use white in their logo

Many brands use white in their logo as negative space or for the font. Some of these companies are Starbucks, Levi’s, Ford, Volkswagen, Lego, Hewlett Packard, Gap, Michelin, WWF, and Uber.

White gemstone

Many people believe white gemstones help with new beginnings, nurture self-care, increase purification, and awaken consciousness to higher states.

Facts about white

  • White is the lightest color and is achromatic (having no hue).
  • White is not among adult’s most favorite colors. However, it is, by far, most adult’s favorite color when it comes to physical environments.[2]
  • Off-white is an umbrella term for a variety of shades that differ only slightly from pure white, such as ivory, cream, and old lace.
  • White cars are the safest ones because of the color’s high visibility index.[3]
White swan in foggy lake

What does the color white mean in the Bible?

Colors are used throughout the Bible to convey meanings, and white is used usually associated with innocence, honesty, purity, and redemption of sins.

Quotes about white

Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is perfect harmony.

Coco Chanel
Quote about white

She knew then that white was more than a color: It was a cold, pale shade of understanding that seems to take all of your hope away.

Vannetta Chapman
Quote about white

Life starts from a white hole and ends in a black hole.

Santosh Kalwar
Quote about white

The color white is a blank canvas, just waiting to be written on. Compared to other more stimulating colors, it is a refreshing change, a soothing and calm visual experience for the mind, which allows for imagination growth and creativity.

Chantal Larocque
Quote about white

Is there anything whiter than winter snow?

Laiah Gifty Akita
Quote about white

Popular idioms about the white color

  • White as snow: Something that is very white in color.
  • White knuckle: The quality of feeling extreme excitement or fear.
  • Whitelist: List of trustworthy people or email addresses in internet terminology.
  • White as a ghost: When someone is very shocked at something they saw or happened.
  • Whiteout: A weather condition in which the snow-covered country’s features and horizon are indistinguishable due to uniform light diffusion.
  • White flag: It is a symbol of truce.
  • White elephant: A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain.

Summary: Color white meaning

As the purest of all colors, white is a serene and calming hue that symbolizes new beginnings.

It marks a new cycle and declutters our minds bringing clarity to solve problems.

In essence, white is a blank page of a notebook that waits to be written upon.

More often than not, white is considered a positive color that instills goodness.

However, it can be perceived as cold, bland, and unfriendly.

As a virtuous color, white is uplifting, offering mood quietness and mental organization.

White means: purity, virtue, innocence, delicate
Effects of white: calms, balances, purifies, brings clarity
Positive traits: cleanliness, elegance, simplicity, goodness
Negative traits: bland, unfriendliness, emptiness, coldness

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