Designs that shine in black and white

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Black and white, the king combination of high-contrast, is a fail-safe and classic marriage.

Whether it’s applying a grayscale photo filter, or as a monochromatic combination of shapes – the black and white partnership can be be applied to content that is either elegant, contemporary or unbeatably chic.

Here we show you different ways to use this tonal union within your graphics.

01. Achieve separation and structure

A monochrome palette is a great opportunity to implement a strong and solid composition where text and image are married with shape.

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One of the advantages to using black and white is the clean lines the duo creates, whether in text or on placement of shapes.

Create symmetry within your graphics by rotating a shape so that it structurally corresponds with another feature. See how the black shape containing the text runs in line with the angle of the type in the image.

You can enhance this unity by making your text run to the same angle as the box that is containing it.

02. Lust for Lines

When you see graphics with common line weights and elements which match beautifully, it is often deliberate. Try taking the same approach to your design.

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Alert! Red, black and white make the ultimate dramatic tonal combination. Traditionally representing emergency, they are excellent choices to depict a strong message.

Use lines wisely, ensure they correspond to something else within your design – see how the gutter in the photo grid is the same as the weight of the typeface.

If you aren’t getting strong enough positive/negative space in your images, bump up the contrast and alter the brightness on your advanced filters.

03. Lighten your graphics

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Let there be light! You don’t need to fill your graphics up with heavy tones to provide a clear and concise message, use a white background to let your elements breathe.

Apply your text or graphic elements logically – note how all the elements on the right are flush – this creates graphic consistency.

Black and white icons or elements don’t lose their impact so much when scaled down compared to colored ones, therefore reap the contrasting benefits of this combination.

04. Create contrast with neons

Neons are an on-trend treatment application and an excellent contrast to black and white.

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Using a black and white image as a background and increasing the transparency a little will ensure your color packs adequate punch.

Use a strong geometric sans serif for your type so your copy doesn’t lose its voice against the strong neon.

05. Air of Elegance

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Don’t be scared of white space! When applied correctly it creates an air of elegance, appropriate to elegant content.

Achieve typographic hierarchy by applying scale to your type, with the most important information being more dominant. Having only one color makes it far easier to define the typographic tiers.

Use lines and shapes to break up the pieces of information, reinforcing visual hierarchy. This also helps to centrally anchor your design.

Created cool black and white graphics lately? We’d love to see them! Repost your designs on Twitter with the hashtag #blackandwhite.