“When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”
— Ted Grant
Colour Printing or B&W? What goes into the decision to finish black and white or colour leaflets?
Some people will have a set idea on what they want. But it’s not easy to decide.
This is an issue people deal with everyday as a printer, a designer or a company marketing executive. There are many pros and cons to both colour and black and white leaflets. Here are a few:
People always imagine something classic when they think of black and white images, like those taken by the likes of street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and Robert Frank. There was a time when colour wasn’t as popular. And there are cases when black and white are more appropriate, and times in which colour is more appropriate.
Black and White.
Black and white is nostalgic. It reminds us of the past, which we often romanticise and idealise. Not only that, but we don’t see the world in black and white, which makes these images more interesting to look at. But you need to think about why you are choosing it. What type of message or feeling are you trying to convey?
Do you want something timeless? When we think of the past, for some reason we always imagine the memories and pictures in our mind in black and white. Therefore if you are trying to get a nostalgic type of feel in your images that pays an homage to the past, black and white is definitely a wonderful medium for that.
Black and white is great for leaflets because it allows you to concentrate on the images themselves, rather than the colour. It’s less distracting for some purposes.
There’s more drama: A strong contrast between black and white on leaflets allows images to pop out at you. Sometimes colour could have been distracting in creating the same effect.
Of course, colour is the only way for some. Colour offers a variety of hues and tones that black and white cannot. It can be vastly underutilised. With colour, you can highlight elements of a leaflet that can be forgotten in black and white.
It grabs your attention. There are emotional and psychological connections with certain colours– especially with the colour red that yells “look at me!”.
It’s more dynamic: With colour, you have much more access to a wider dynamic range. You can see the warm tones, the patterns. the subtleties. It’s really about the right choice for the right market.
What’s your take on black and white or colour?