This guest post was written by Corissa McClay for MakerCraft.
Welcome back! This is the third post in our Fashionable Color Theory series, and this time we’ll be talking about how to use black and white to enhance colors in your designs. First we’ll recap though. In our first post we went over the color wheel, and talked about how to use monochromatic and analogous color schemes. In the second post we built on that and introduced triadic and complementary designs. Those four are some of the most used color schemes. But black and white don’t fall into those categories, so we’ll be doing this post and the next one on black and white!
Black and White: Color Enhancers Extraordinaire!
So how do you use black with other colors? The best answer is: however you want! One of the best ways though, is to use it to enhance the other colors around it. Take a look again at the picture at the top of this post. That necklace uses a lot of black, but the red is really what steals the show! That’s one of the best things about using black in jewelry: it immediately makes all the colors around it stand out.
The first necklace was fairly balanced between the two colors, but you can see that the rule holds true even when the jewelry is mostly black. The gold in the design stands out, because it looks incredibly vibrant next to the black. This will be true of any color or shade. Vibrant colors, like cherry red or emerald green will stand out like sparks. Paler colors, like pink or baby blue will soften the darkness of the black around it. That contrast will make them stand out as surely as the vibrant colors.
And white? It does much the same thing, but in a much softer way. Black can be harsh. White, as it’s opposite, is gentler and easy on the eyes. So while it enhances colors it does it in a way that isn’t aggressive. Compare this necklace to the design at the top of the page.
In the first design the combination of black and red was aggressive and hard to miss. This second necklace is gentler. The red stands out and draws your attention, but it’s not likely to be read as harsh or forward. If you’re looking for a way to use only a small amount of color, and have a simple, elegant design white is the way to go.
Fashion Bonus: Matching Jewelry to Outfits
There’s another bonus to using black and white as the predominant colors in a jewelry design. They’re incredibly easy to match with clothes. Do you have a vibrant, colorful outfit? Pick one of the colors to use in the design and match it with black or white for your design. The pieces of color in your design will tie in with the color in your clothes, but won’t be overwhelming. Additionally, a monochromatic outfit can be matched with black or white and one color. A white dress with a necklace in blue and white would be cool and light. Red and black worn with a business suit in black or grey would add just the touch of color you’d need to make it interesting.
And that’s not nearly all. There’s one more post in this series, and in that we’ll talk about using black and white exclusively, either by themselves or together. Stay tuned! And if you have any interesting tips or ideas for using black and white with color let us know in the comments!