There are few things as important in digital media as color. Color immediately resonates with a customer, bringing up specific emotions and associating these emotions with your brand. Few customers don't associate the brand Coca-Cola with the color Red, or the brand Facebook with light blue. Companies choose very specific color spectrums based on the perception they want in their brand, but that also relies upon reliable color replication. To ensure that color is represented properly, digital media uses a set of color standards.
The Pantone Matching System
Pantone releases specific color palettes which are consistent throughout any business that uses these Pantone color palettes. Using a Pantone color standardizes your files, rather than simply using a CMYK or RGB system. Pantone can create palettes of colors that are known to reproduce well, which can be a solid solution for print media. When it comes to purely digital media, the Pantone Matching System may matter less, as it is more likely that digital files will be replicated properly regardless of the specific color and shade.
The CMYK System
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (Key). CMYK is primarily used in printing, as it stands for the four colors that are used in a four-color printing process. The four-color printing process uses dots of each of the four colors to create different colors and shades. CMYK colors can be mixed to create a large number of color variations, but these color variations can differ depending on the process and the printer. Consequently, it may not be consistent, as the Pantone Matching System would be.
The RGB System
RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. RGB is most often used for digital media, as digital screens tend to represent colors in shades of Red, Green, and Blue. RGB colors are additive; the screen starts at black and adding additional colors increases its brightness. Adding 0, 0, and 0 red, green, and blue will lead to a perfectly black screen. Adding 255, 255, and 255 red, green, and blue (the RGB max) creates a screen that is perfectly white.
Which Color System Should You Use?
If it's imperative that you always have the same color, the Pantone system is almost always best. Pantone is frequently used for logos and other elements of advertising media. Pantone is the only color palette that is standardized and ensures consistency.
Other than this, CMYK is generally used for print media whereas RGB is used for digital media. It's often possible to mix Pantone and CMYK, but it's generally not advised to mix CMYK with RGB. Though one can convert to the other, the colors will display differently.
If you're trying to understand colors or simply find the right color palette for your next digital or print work, you can get help at Matly! Contact Matly Digital Solutions, LLC with any of your questions.