Difference between black and white

To begin with, color can be defined as the visual perception of the reflection of light that illuminates the different surfaces and that bounces off the retina of the eye. This means that color is a sensation that occurs in the brain as a reaction to the incidence of light rays in the eyes.

Colors are classified into primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Within this order of ideas, black and white colors are color spectra that have to do with the refraction of light and the way it is perceived by the human eye. In this article, we will point out the differences between black and white. To do this, we will start with the definition of basic terms.


White is the color of sunlight in which all colors are present before their decomposition. Hence, the white color breaks down and forms the various colors of the spectrum. Therefore, when the color is not decomposed, it is white. White is the opposite color to black and is the brightest of the entire color spectrum.

The color white is usually associated with clarity, purity and cleanliness. Consequently, it can be said that white is an achromatic value (lacking color), the one with the greatest luminosity. The white color cannot be obtained from the mixture of pigments, unlike the secondary and tertiary colors that are obtained from the mixture of pigments of the primary colors. By mixing white pigments with pigments of other colors, lighter colors are obtained, because white provides clarity or luminosity.

White is considered a neutral color that can be combined with all shades of color. Additionally, it is believed that there are 63 shades of white, including white lead, birch white, alabaster white, albino white, mother-of-pearl white, snow white, opaque white and pearl white.


Black can be defined as the visual perception of maximum darkness, that is, the total absence of light. It corresponds to a chromatic tone, so it is not a neutral tone but a tone that absorbs all the light without reflecting it. The black color is obtained from the mixture of pigments of all colors. Additionally, it does not present shades, however, in some cases when shades are observed it is because it has white pigments and reflects parts of light.

On the other hand, the color black is usually associated with silence, darkness, denial, loneliness, mystery, death, negative feelings such as sadness and hopelessness. Likewise, black is a chromatic tone and is the darkest value.

As can be seen in the previous definitions, the differences between white and black are:

White Black
White color is the absence of color, so it is an achromatic value. Black is a chromatic value, so it has color.
The white color is obtained from light. The black color is obtained from darkness, that is, in the total absence of light.
The white color when used as a pigment lightens any other color, since it provides clarity. Black as a pigment, when mixed with another color, darkens it, because it provides darkness.

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