Color is complex. For something so instrumental to the daily lives, the world of color is a deep rabbit hole of subtle nuances and inconsistent ways of thinking. I have invariably been captivated by color and the various mediums its delivered through. During the research phase of the color conversion tools for Brandisty, the many complexities of color became very apparent. In this post, we explore color at a high level and arm you with a few of the technical details you should know about color and your brand.
Color can be represented in a wide array of models. All these designs include different color spaces. At a very high level, this really is what you need to know about color models:
Digital: color as display by light.
Print: color represented with ink.
Perceptual: color as perceived by the eye.
The color spectrum a persons eye can interpret surpasses what can be presented in both digital and print color models. Just how color is perceived can also be subjective and will differ person to person. Pantone Color Book is often used to convert color between digital and print color models. This can be regularly accomplished using ICC color profiles.
Converting between color spaces for many different devices is a reasonably complex process. Its difficult to represent colors shown on digital screen via printed mediums. Each printer has slightly different capabilities when mixing ink, and each and every medium being printed on (i.e. coated vs. uncoated paper, shirts, mugs, etc.) will respond differently to the ink.
Not long ago the International Color Consortium (ICC) was formed to tackle the problem. A fast bit of history using their about page:
The International Color Consortium was established in 1993 by eight industry vendors with regards to creating, promoting and encouraging the standardization and evolution of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components. The outcome with this co-operation was the creation of the ICC profile specification.
The 1st time I read that, it blew my thoughts. There exists a color consortium trying to standardize the way the world uses color?! Who would of thought?
ICC color profiles are popular for color conversion between digital and print devices. When working with various printers, you may be sent a particular device ICC profile to calibrate your print job with. Two common workspace color profiles for digital and print are:
These profiles are usually the defaults on many Adobe products, and therefore are usually already installed on your computer. The download links are supplied for reference.
Each color mode has numerous color spaces. Color spaces represent color in different formats. For instance, the purple block displayed may be represented within both digital (left side) and print (right side) utilizing the following values:
When it comes to branding you will most likely encounter color represented inside the following formats:
RGB (digital): RGB means Red, Green, Blue and refers back to the user of color generated by light. Not all representations of light are equal, and how color appears in one digital device to another can seem to be different. To completely have consistent digital color, each device would have to be calibrated. RGB values will typically be represented with three digits between and 255; although you will sometimes encounter three values between and 1 in decimal form.
Hex (digital): Hexadecimal format is just yet another way of representing RGB values. Typically you will see Hex values beginning from a hash (#) then either three or six alpha numeric characters eysabm from -9 along with a-f.
CMYK (print): CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black) and is regarded as the common print color space. CMYK can be a bit inconsistent from device to device since the color is being blended during the time of print. Each printing device has different capabilities, so to achieve print perfection each device must be calibrated. CMYK values will typically be represented with four digits between -100; though you will sometimes encounter three values between and 1 in decimal form.
PANTONE (print): Is actually a proprietary color space used primarily inside the printing industry but additionally has been utilized with manufacturing colored paint, plastics and fabric. When brands will likely be utilized in print, its a very good idea to pick PANTONE colors. The benefit of PANTONE over CMYK is PANTONE colors are premixed, where CMYK colors are mixed during print. Using PANTONE colors, a brand name can maintain color consistency since PANTONE is definitely responsible for mixing the ink color. PANTONE color values can be represented in different ways, but typically begin with either PMS or PANTONE and lead to either C for Coated or U for Uncoated.
Color goes deep, nonetheless its a critical part of just how a brand is recognized. With all the information above you will end up armed with the skills essential to maintain color consistency as your brand is spread through various mediums.