Color is complex. For something so instrumental to our daily lives, the world of color is a deep rabbit hole of subtle nuances and inconsistent ways of thinking. I have invariably been fascinated with color as well as 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 top level and arm you with some of the technical details you should know about color and your brand.
Color can be represented in a wide range of models. All these designs include different color spaces. At a extremely high level, this really is what you need to find out about color models:
Digital: color as display by light.
Print: color represented with ink.
Perceptual: color as perceived by the eye.
The colour spectrum a persons eye can interpret surpasses exactly what can be presented within both digital and print color models. The way color is perceived is also subjective and will differ one individual to another. Pantone Color Book is usually used to convert color between digital and print color models. This can be regularly accomplished using ICC color profiles.
Converting between color spaces for various 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 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 quick bit of history from their about page:
The International Color Consortium was established in 1993 by eight industry vendors just for creating, promoting and encouraging the standardization and evolution of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components. The outcome of this co-operation was the creation of the ICC profile specification.
The very first time I read that, it blew my mind. We have a color consortium attempting to standardize just how the world uses color?! Who would of thought?
ICC color profiles are now commonly used for color conversion between digital and print devices. When you use 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 generally the defaults on many Adobe products, and are usually already installed on your personal computer. The download links are provided for reference.
Each color mode has numerous color spaces. Color spaces represent color in various formats. For instance, the purple block displayed can be represented within both digital (left side) and print (right side) utilizing the following values:
With regards to branding you will in all probability encounter color represented inside the following formats:
RGB (digital): RGB is short for Red, Green, Blue and refers back to the user of color generated by light. Its not all representations of light are equal, and the way color appears from a single digital device to the next can seem to be different. To really have consistent digital color, each device will need to be calibrated. RGB values will typically be represented with three digits between and 255; though you will sometimes encounter three values between and 1 in decimal form.
Hex (digital): Hexadecimal format is merely another way of representing RGB values. Typically you will notice Hex values starting with a hash (#) then either three or six alpha numeric characters eysabm from -9 as well as a-f.
CMYK (print): CMYK is short for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black) and is easily the most common print color space. CMYK could be a bit inconsistent from device to device as the color is being blended during print. Each printing device has different capabilities, in order to achieve print perfection each device will have to be calibrated. CMYK values will typically be represented with four digits between -100; although you will sometimes encounter three values between and 1 in decimal form.
PANTONE (print): Is actually a proprietary color space used primarily in the printing industry but also has been used with manufacturing colored paint, plastics and fabric. When brands will likely be found in print, its a very good idea to choose 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 may be represented in a variety of ways, but typically start with either PMS or PANTONE and result in either C for Coated or U for Uncoated.
Color goes deep, but its a critical component of the way a brand is recognized. With the information above you will be equipped with the information required to maintain color consistency when your brand is spread through various mediums.