Getting Creative in Black and White

With the extreme popularity of high resolution computer screens on the desktops of designers everywhere, it is easy to forget that simple black ink on white paper still provides an economical and extremely creative approach to design.

If you’re on a limited budget, need something printed fast, or need an alternative idea, why not design your next project in black and white?

Consider the following ideas from Give Five, an outreach organization that unites adults with children in need:

black and white

    • Consider creating an ad with screens (gray shades) — these are easy and inexpensive to reproduce in a variety of media.


    • Strive to create a layout that draws attention to the ad and also helps it stand apart from the (inevitable) crowd.


    • Cheap art: The hands featured in these ads were photographed using a desktop scanner and then manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. Keep ideas like this in mind when looking for budget solutions for a project.


  • This spread: Ads that call for attention through a variety of easily produced black-against-white illustrations and graphic styles.

There are endless ways to display an ad’s content, even when restricted to a single color of ink.

Explore and Consider:

  • Hand-drawn elements
  • Cartoons
  • Unusual border treatments
  • Linework around and/or inside the ad
  • Interesting, bold typography
  • Sideways elements
  • Reversed text/graphics