Color is complex. For something so instrumental to the lives, the world of color is a deep rabbit hole of subtle nuances and inconsistent ways of thinking. I have always been fascinated with color and also the various mediums its delivered through. During the research phase of the color conversion tools for Brandisty, the various complexities of color became very apparent. On this page, we explore color at a high level and arm you with a few of the technical details you need to know about color as well as your brand.
Color can be represented in a wide array of models. Each of these models have different color spaces. With a high level, this really is what you should learn about color models:
Digital: color as display by light.
Print: color represented with ink.
Perceptual: color as perceived through the eye.
The colour spectrum the human eye can interpret surpasses exactly what can be presented within both digital and print color models. The way in which color is perceived is also subjective and will differ individual to individual. Pantone Color Book is frequently used to convert color between digital and print color models. This is regularly accomplished using ICC color profiles.
Converting between color spaces for a number of devices is a reasonably complex process. Its difficult to represent colors displayed on digital screen via printed mediums. Each printer has slightly different capabilities when mixing ink, and each medium being printed on (i.e. coated vs. uncoated paper, shirts, mugs, etc.) will respond differently towards the ink.
Not long ago the International Color Consortium (ICC) was formed to tackle the situation. A quick little history off 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 your open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components. The outcome of this co-operation was the growth of the ICC profile specification.
The very first time I read that, it blew my thoughts. We have a color consortium attempting to standardize the way the world uses color?! Who will of thought?
ICC color profiles are widely used for color conversion between digital and print devices. When you use various printers, you may be sent a specific 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 most Adobe products, and they are usually already installed on your personal computer. The download links are supplied for reference.
Each color mode has several color spaces. Color spaces represent color in various formats. For instance, the purple block displayed may be represented both in digital (left side) and print (right side) using the following values:
With regards to branding you will likely encounter color represented inside the following formats:
RGB (digital): RGB means Red, Green, Blue and refers to the user of color generated by light. Its not all representations of light are equal, and how color appears in one digital device to another 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 one other way of representing RGB values. Typically you will observe Hex values beginning from a hash (#) accompanied by either three or six alpha numeric characters eysabm from -9 and a-f.
CMYK (print): CMYK is short 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 has been blended during the time of print. Each printing device has different capabilities, in order 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 really 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 used 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 accountable for mixing the ink color. PANTONE color values may be represented in different ways, but typically start with either PMS or PANTONE and result in either C for Coated or U for Uncoated.
Color goes deep, however its a crucial part of the way a brand is recognized. Using the information above you will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to maintain color consistency as your brand is spread through various mediums.