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Recently I noticed a trend in graphic and industrial design that focuses on (usually predominant) white or very light gray and high contrast black or dark gray shapes — which fascinates me because of the timeless and sometimes futuristic look.

  • Does this design direction have a name?
  • Can somebody point me to any articles describing it and its history/background?

Simply searching for black and white design is too broad, and makes it hard to find useful resources.

Some examples of what I mean:

Oblivion (2013) Total Recall (2012)

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Black never goes out of style – e-sushi Aug 25 '13 at 0:07
There is no particular trend here. It's really just a basic deisgn principal: white and black are the most contrasting colors one can choose. – DA01 Aug 25 '13 at 2:01
up vote 7 down vote accepted

To be honest with you, I don't think there's an actual name for it, as it hasn't been separated into a design trend of it's own.

However, looking at the photos you attached, I do notice something in particular: The futuristic design that uses white and black is usually very clean looking and give an impression of evolution. You see, we have to look at a colour's symbolism to understand: white is the expression of cleanliness (going hand in hand with the simple design), but most of all purity (in this sense, the evolution that the creators of the design want to suggest to you). To put it simpler, the future is pure, simple and white, while the past is dark, muddy and black.

Talking about industrial design, this goes back a long time (Dieter Rams is quite a household name these days), although it's not only about black and white. Check this out:

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