How to Pick Brand Colors: A Guide to CMYK, RGB and Pantone

How to Pick Your Brand Color. A Guide to CMYK, RGB and Pantone.

Why some colors look great on screen, and so dull in print. 


CMYK printing uses 4 base colors to produce other colors.  Those base colors being Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K).  With CMYK printing, you cannot produce bright cobalt and royal blues, bright greens or vibrant purples.  These colors will look great on screen, but do not translate coming out of the printer.  While the pantone system will deliver an exact color every time, no matter who is printing, CMYK can result in slight differences.  Below are a couple of examples demonstrating this.

So How Do I Print Brighter More Vibrant Colors?

Printing these bright vibrant colors is not impossible.  To make this happen, you simply need to pay for Pantone colors.  Pantone is a company that specializes in creating ink in colors that CMYK can't. Some Pantone colors cannot be reproduced on a laser printer, no matter how nice your printer is.

The difference Between Pantone, CMYK and RGB

When it comes to standing out, your brand needs a strong vibrant color that prints consistent accross ALL mediums.  If you are convinced of a brand image that looks great on screen but cannot be replcated in printing, you may want to invest in Pantone colors or have an inconsistent brand experience. Be sure to ask your designers and creative collaborators how the colors translate from print to web, if they are unsure of the question, they may not be the designer you want to hire.

Why Do Printers Use Pantone?

All computer monitors are not the same and so is every printer.  Pantone has standardized the colors so that manufacturers and customers in different locations and with different tools can all refer to the Pantone system to ensure that all colors match.  It is often used to deliver reliable and reproducible colors to customers.

Color is Crucial to Branding

Working with designers who understand this and know how to effectively use color will have a huge impact on your brand.  When color experts are utilized in the design process, you will achieve vibrant colors for your brand that will stand out from competitors. In such a competitive market, this is exactly what you need to set yourself apart.