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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 attracted to color as well as 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. In this post, we explore color at a top level and arm you with a few of the technical details you must know about color and your brand.

Color models

Color may be represented in a wide array of models. Each of these designs include different color spaces. At a extremely 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 from the human eye.

The colour spectrum a persons eye can interpret surpasses so what can be presented both in digital and print color models. The way color is perceived can also be subjective and may differ person to person. Pantone Color Book is frequently utilized to convert color between digital and print color models. This is regularly accomplished using ICC color profiles.

Color profiles

Converting between color spaces for various devices is a reasonably complex process. Its hard to represent colors displayed 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 towards the ink.

Not long ago the International Color Consortium (ICC) was formed to tackle the situation. A quick little bit of history off their about page:

The International Color Consortium was established in 1993 by eight industry vendors for the purpose of creating, promoting and encouraging the standardization and evolution of your open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components. The end result of the co-operation was the creation of the ICC profile specification.

The first time I read that, it blew my head. There exists a color consortium attempting to standardize just how the world uses color?! Who would of thought?

ICC color profiles are actually popular 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 usually the defaults of all Adobe products, and they are usually already installed on your personal computer. The download links are provided for reference.

Color spaces

Each color mode has numerous color spaces. Color spaces represent color in various formats. For instance, the purple block displayed could be represented within both digital (left side) and print (right side) using the following values:

When it comes to branding you will most likely encounter color represented inside the following formats:

RGB (digital): RGB is short for Red, Green, Blue and refers to the user of color generated by light. Not every representations of light are equal, and exactly how color appears from a single digital device to the next can seem to be different. To really have consistent digital color, each device would have 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 just one other way of representing RGB values. Typically you will notice Hex values starting with a hash (#) accompanied by either three or six alpha numeric characters eysabm from -9 and 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 as the color has been blended at 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; even though you will sometimes encounter three values between and 1 in decimal form.

PANTONE (print): Is really a proprietary color space used primarily inside the printing industry but in addition has been utilized with manufacturing colored paint, plastics and fabric. When brands will likely be utilized in print, its an excellent idea to select PANTONE colors. The main advantage of PANTONE over CMYK is PANTONE colors are premixed, where CMYK colors are mixed during print. Using PANTONE colors, a brand can maintain color consistency since PANTONE is usually responsible for mixing the ink color. PANTONE color values could be represented in various ways, but typically get started with either PMS or PANTONE and result in either C for Coated or U for Uncoated.

Color goes deep, however its a vital component of the way a brand is recognized. With the information above you will be equipped with the skills essential to maintain color consistency when your brand is spread through various mediums.