Black and White About This

My favourite stand out trend for Christmas 2016 is the simplicity and clean lines of black and white. Yes… I love other looks but it’s the monochromatic black and white that I have chosen for my family Christmas along with accents of pine, twine and cork.

In the process I have learned a lot (who ever said gift wrapping was not an intellectual pursuit?) about the terms black and white, monochrome and grayscale which are frequently used as synonyms despite the major differences between them.

Good old Black and White or B&W refers to images that appear purely black and white. But here’s the twist, according to, in the photo world, the description ‘black and white’ can be misleading as the resulting photo is rarely made of solely black or white pixels The photo usually contains pixels which vary from black through many shades of gray to white. Who knew?

Marimekko White Black fabric.jpg
Fabulous black and White Kuusikossa fabric from Marimekko

I think I may from time to time be a little loose in my use of the term ‘monochrome’ which refers to an image of one colour from “mono’ meaning one and ‘chrome’ meaning colour. Say my new friends at, the term is frequently used to describe a black and white photo but it also describes photos which contain a single tone, such as a sepia or rose tint. Monochrome is definitely not just for black and white, so I have to be careful with that.


And last but not least, we have the term ‘grayscale’ which I am told refers to a photo which has only intensity (or lightness) values, rather than full RGB colour values, for each pixel. RGB (red, green, and blue) refers to a system for representing the colors to be used on a computer display. Red, green, and blue can be combined in various proportions to obtain any color in the visible spectrum. Levels of R, G, and B can each range from 0 to 100 percent of full intensity. Learning, learning, learning.

We all know grayscale from our printer settings. Say the experts, the main advantage of using grayscale for photos is that it produces a photo with a significantly smaller file size (particularly useful for uploading high quality black and white photos).

I am loving my black and white look for Christmas. I am using printables from Caroline Jane – for the smaller gifts. This site is full of tantalising black and white looks and candles – very stylish indeed (I digress).


I will also use black dots on white which I can achieve with roll paper or plain white with black stickers on it – genius and I get to determine the intensity of the dots.

I am adding in white Terry Tree Christmas tags to set the festive mood as well as grosgrain ribbons – black with a white stitch and the reverse of that  – white with a black stitch as well as fabulous black and white candy stripes that remind me of Humbug candies – which now I think of it, I could tie in with the ribbons – why not?


I will also throw  in a few black tags which I will write on with my trusty white gel pen – a little bit chalkboard but not too much so. At this stage, I am not using plain black chalkboard paper – a bit too heavy and I have done that look before. No I am going for white background with black motifs and highlights…..and I  am very black and white about this.


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