Many of our clients, particularly those who utilize our graphic design services, have questions pertaining to the wide world of color. Commonly asked questions include: “Why does this blue logo look purple on my computer screen?” “Will this newsletter be this dark when it is printed?” And the list goes on…
Color can be a very tricky concept to grasp, especially with all of the media in which we use it. From brochures and newsletters to websites and e-invitations, color undergoes drastic changes from the screen realm to that of paper. The following is a brief breakdown of the colors we see and why.
The color we see on our TV and computer screens is produced by three colors: red, green and blue, also referred to as “RGB”.
Any full-color image we see on paper is produced by a mix of four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black, otherwise known as “CMYK” to print gurus. This includes images from ink jet and laser printers.
Because of this difference, the color in print images will never look exactly the same as the on-screen version. Also, there are certain print colors that cannot be reproduced on screen for websites and other electronic marketing materials.
What This Means For Y-O-U
For purposes of marketing and branding, consistency in the look and feel of a company’s logo, website and the many collateral materials is crucial. Translation—the colors need to match. It is best to use a color matching system to guarantee consistency. The Identity graphics team uses Pantone® colors, which pair a number with a corresponding mix of ink—a custom recipe, if you will. When in doubt, we can provide a Pantone® chip for comparison.
Because certain colors cannot be replicated on screen, we need to be careful about which color we choose for printing purposes. We may be able to closely replicate print colors on screen, but it is impossible to guarantee a perfect match. When you choose a Pantone® color, be sure to ask for the equivalent RGB values for use in on-screen applications to potential issues confusion at a later date.
These are just a few things to consider for those who are curious about color.