In a recent post, we wrote about driving brand consistency and the challenges of keeping harmonious color throughout your entire brand in print. But, how do we achieve consistency when presenting digitally?
Compared to print, a digital screen uses an entirely different process of displaying colors called RGB, meaning everything displayed on a screen is comprised of various levels of red, green, and blue light. Print depicts colors using cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Fortunately, your brand’s Pantone colors give us a starting point, and just like how there is a translation of Pantone to CMYK, there is also a conversion to RGB. However, they share the same problem of not being a perfect match (it can be very close, but not exact).
Manually adjusting the levels of the three colors can get you close to a PMS color match, but please be aware that all monitors are calibrated differently, resulting in everyone seeing a shade of color that’s a little different. Changing any visual settings on a device can throw off the color’s appearance dramatically. While the default settings set by the manufacturer are to their standards, it still is not calibrated to match the Pantone system.
Designers often discount the RGB system because of its lack of depth, intensity, and control, but luckily there is a better system to represent the RGB model. This alternate route can be called many different things, but revolve around the same core concept. HSV (hue, saturation, and value) and HSL (hue, saturation, and lightness) are among the most popular systems. They allow control of the overall brightness, and more importantly, the vividness of the color.
No matter which system you use to create a color, all of these values can be translated into a common language called Hex, a combination of six numbers and letters that the Web and devices can read.
For example, the RGB values to create the color black would be R – 0% G – 0% B – 0%. In Hex, this would display as #00000. It is all zeros because it is the starting value and nothing has been added. Conversely, the values of white are R – 100% G – 100% B – 100%, landing the Hex value at the very last possible value, #FFFFFF.
In case this reads like German to you, let me break it down: It’s important to have consistency of your colors across print, Web and beyond to really drive your brand’s voice. Having consistent colors across your website, physical marketing materials, social networks, etc. amplifies the overall personality of your brand and really extends recognition and presence to your audience.