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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 always been fascinated with color and the various mediums its delivered through. During the research phase of the color conversion tools for Brandisty, the different complexities of color became very apparent. In this article, we explore color at a high level and arm you with a few of the technical details you must know about color along with your brand.

Color models

Color could be represented in a wide range of models. Each of these designs have 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 eye.

The color spectrum the human eye can interpret surpasses what can be presented within both digital and print color models. The way color is perceived is additionally subjective and can differ person to person. Pantone Color Book is often 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 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 simple bit of history using 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 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 working to standardize just how the world uses color?! Who will of thought?

ICC color profiles are actually widely used for color conversion between digital and print devices. When you use various printers, you could 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 are usually already installed on your pc. The download links are offered for reference.

Color spaces

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

When it comes to branding you will in all probability encounter color represented in the following formats:

RGB (digital): RGB means Red, Green, Blue and means the user of color generated by light. Not every 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 simply yet another way of representing RGB values. Typically you will see Hex values beginning with a hash (#) accompanied by either three or six alpha numeric characters eysabm from -9 as well as a-f.

CMYK (print): CMYK means Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black) and is easily the most common print color space. CMYK can be quite a bit inconsistent from device to device because the color is being blended during print. Each printing device has different capabilities, to achieve print perfection each device will need to 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 actually a proprietary color space used primarily in the printing industry but in addition has been utilized with manufacturing colored paint, plastics and fabric. When brands will 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 can maintain color consistency since PANTONE is always accountable for mixing the ink color. PANTONE color values could be represented in different ways, but typically start with either PMS or PANTONE and end in either C for Coated or U for Uncoated.

Color goes deep, but its a vital component of the way a brand is recognized. With the information above you will be furnished with the information required to maintain color consistency as the brand is spread through various mediums.