It was all too easy in our youth where we saw our world in simpler terms. Our color pallet is composed of Yellow, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, Red, Black and White. As we grow the world became much more complex and as we drift into our professional careers the world of color changes. Understanding the proper use of color and how it varies across different mediums can make the difference between a cohesive brand and pieces that don’t quite resemble themselves.

But why is that even important? Well, research has proven that seeing consistent brand colors can improve brand recognition by 80%. Not to mention that the proper use of color can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and reinforce your brand’s identity.

More than likely when creating your various pieces you will be using three main color processes CMYK, RGB and Spot Color. Let’s define each and break down the way that you would use them.





CMYK Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black

Or otherwise known as the full color or 4 color process also used to describe the printing process itself. The way that this color process works is through a subtractive process. In other words, the color is absorbed or subtracted by the white paper. Using only these 4 colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black printers can create 15,000 different colors. When getting ready to print your materials always make sure to make your artwork print ready by converting them to CMYK Color. If not your digital-ready images or RGB colors will have a shift in color and they will not print exactly the same.



RBG Red, Blue and Green

Used to send color on devices such as computer monitors, laptops, and tablets. Unlike CMYK, this color mode is never used for printing because it is an additive process. Which means Red, Blue and Green light is added to a black background which creates white. This mixture of Red, Blue and Green light also make a wide range of colors. Because of the additive process this mode is never used for printing and is also the culprit for making your color look different on printed materials vs on your computer or laptop.



Spot Color

The mecca of color options for printing. A spot color is a pure color or a mixture of inks to create a particular color. The Pantone® Matching System is the most used spot color system. Perfect to use for a specific brand color that you would like to be recognized for.  Depending on how you choose to use your spot color this may reduce or increase your costs. If using only 1 or 2 spot colors vs a full CMYK process you’re looking at a significantly lower cost. If you are including a 5th color to your CMYK materials you will be incurring more costs.

Happy Printing! 

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