Posted on January 11, 2010 - by Lisa Nalewak
This is the 1st in a series of articles on Graphic Design specifically written for Business Professionals.
There are multiple methods used to create and display color in the world today, and as a result, there are multiple ways to represent or define color in the various graphic design applications and production methods used to create graphics for these different mediums.
Understanding how computers and the printing industry use and define color is paramount to helping you understand the limitations of graphic production, so you can make educated choices when choosing a particular process for a particular job and get the best result for your buck. It is also helpful in setting realistic expectations, so you are not disappointed by the outcome.
The most common ways of discussing color in the design world are as RGB, CMYK and Spot colors values. RGB color is used for electronic display, on monitors, TVs and inside applications that are used to create content for these mediums. CMYK color is used to create full color printed graphics. Spot color is used to create printed graphics where specific colors must always look exactly the same and where slight color variations are not acceptable, even when printed on different substrates and by different printers and presses. Spot color is most commonly used in printing logos and brand marks, where consistency of presentation is paramount to building a product or company’s image.
In following entries, I will provide an introduction to these three popular color formats and the design/production challenges associated with each.