Why Black and White Works So Well…

From the day we are born we see objects in black and white. We are fabulously bombarded with endless stimuli that we can’t possibly understand. It is not until the age of six months that the puzzle pieces begin to make sense and colour starts to play a role in our perception of the world. The strong contrast between black and white helps objects to ‘pop’ so to speak and hence become more noticeable. Is it just a coincidence or is it nature’s way of protecting our young fragile minds from a sensory overload?

Now we are not suggesting that your employees have the mental capacity of a 6-month-old, especially when it comes to understanding topics in your company newsletter. But just maybe, a correlation between simple black and white visuals and catching our attention is stronger than we initially thought. I know when I first think of an attractive cartoon, what comes to mind is vivid colours dancing around on screen (preferably to some catchy theme song). This might make for a more entertaining show, especially when the audience is already engaged and does not need to take away any key information. The challenge is posed when the purpose of the clip is to educate us on a topic we don’t automatically find exciting.

According to studies carried out by Ohio State University, we are more likely to focus on the unimportant, superficial details of a picture when colour is used as opposed to a black and white image. The latter allows us to focus on core attributes of the object and see the bigger picture. We may not realize this but advertisers often use colour when they want to evoke personal preference in a consumer, often over function. Those flashy gold sneakers you bought last week perhaps? In contrast, a black and white campaign might be applied when a brand wants consumers to notice function or important defining components of a product.

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Colour may play a big role when choosing a sofa and matching curtains but when it comes down to rendering essential information, it could simply be a distraction. Enter black and white. At simpleshow we aim to break down a complex topic so that it’s not only easy to digest but makes an impact too. By limiting an explainer video to simple black and white images and omitting additional flowery text/corporate jargon flashing across the screen, the audience is able to focus on the take-home message.

Because as we know all too well, It’s not what you say but how you say it that really matters.