In the early days of the web, not everything was white and black, but a lot of things were: The white background of a website, the blinking black of a text cursor, and then the black and white impressions left afterward. But how do you tell the story of a color?
I could tell you black is associated with magic, death, evil, and elegance; I could say that it’s the oldest color, that burnt charcoal is found in cave paintings—or maybe that it’s one of the newest, as the blackest substance on Earth, vantablack, was developed by researchers in 2008. It’s also the color of our screens when they’re dead, which I guess is full circle.
But maybe it’s less complicated than that. Online, black is represented as #000000, (0, 0, 0), and (0, 0, 0, 100)—hex, RGB, and CMYK, respectively. The systems are different but black’s position within them is relatively the same, because it’s what other colors are defined against; mall goths and kid emos would tell you the same thing. Had you asked my angsty teenage self, I would have agreed.
What I’m trying to tell you: Everyone I’ve ever loved—and everyone I’ve ever been—has shown up as a spare line of black text against a bright, flickering screen.