On surf boards throughout Australia and no doubt the USA and parts of Europe you have the Asian symbol of Yin and Yang usually in stark black and white celebrating how we are all different but still all basically and profoundly human. Oh, and you find the Yin and Yang symbol in many, many other locales as well.
In terms of design a black cross on a white background is quite powerful and can be seen and recognized for some distance. The Jolly Roger, white skull and cross bones on a black background, can be seen some distance at sea. A few weeks ago I noticed an old sailing vessel in Sydney harbor sporting the Jolly Roger just for fun. The flag was small but it did stand out.
There are artists who feel that the human form is best realized either as black on a white background or white on black background.
I grew up with black and white television and still enjoy some of the older shows in the black and white format. I have Doctor Who episodes in my collection from the days it was in black and white up to the present which is in color. I still very much treasure what I have of early Doctor Who and would dread seeing it in color because it harks back to my memories of black and white television. You could say my youth.
There are gangster movies from the '30s right up to the '50s that look great in black and white because this format gives them a grittiness and a sense of down-to-earth that I strongly suspect color would not. There is also Film Noir that works beautifully in black and white that might very well lose something in color.
I remember an episode of Star Trek (original) where you had these two men. One was completely black on the left side of the face and white on the other this meant he came from that race. The other man was completely white on the left side of the face and black on the other this meant he came from the other race. To the crew of the Enterprise there was no real difference in either man. This difference in physical make-up, however. was of great importance to both men and something you could destroy a planet over.
Some variations on the Harlequin mask illustrate the astonishing use of black on white or white on black for effect. There is also the half black and half white Harlequin mask to consider.