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Pick a colour, any colour…


The most frequent questions we have from clients are about colours, because what they see on their screen is not necessarily what we see, nor what their neighbour might see.

To make it even more complicated, what they see on screen may not be replicated into print and vice versa. Hopefully this blog post will help to explain it all a little…

The tech bit

The print process uses 2 different colour processes, CMYK (full colour) or PANTONE (individual ink colours).  CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) and these colours are used in a range from 0-100 for each at any one time.

Anything based on a screen will rely on RGB colour modes.  Red, green and blue are the three colours used on screen, along with the screen light.  Each has a value of 0-255 for each at any one time.

The two processes do not correlate with each other and some colours cannot be replicated at all.

Oranges for example can look vibrant and zingy on screen, but once converted to CMYK, will always look slightly dull and ‘muddy’.  Often, brands that rely on orange will specify a Pantone colour reference for printed literature and the job will be printed in CMYK and a fifth colour, the Pantone ink.

What do you see?

This makes it very difficult for accurate proofing of work.  Whilst designers are used to creating documents using swatch books and understand that what they see on screen may not be what will print, the process is harder for the general public who have no previous experience of colour systems and the science behind them.

Take this image of two monitors, both displaying our pink brand colour.  As you can see the screen on the left is much warmer and the pink has an almost yellow tone to it.  The screen on the right shows the exact same colour but due to the different monitor calibrations, the colour looks completely different.

What one person sees on screen is not necessarily what someone else is seeing.

How to get it right every time

For printed work, we can rely on the swatch books and the expertise of the printers to ensure that colour is perfectly calibrated on their presses.

On screen, when proofing artwork and looking at websites and social media networks, it’s impossible to make every person in the world see the same colour. That is why when we’re creating artwork for our clients, agreeing on the exact brand colours and their colour references at the beginning of our relationship ensures that we can design with confidence.

No matter what you see on your monitor, phone or tablet, you can be sure that what is being created is exactly the colour you love!

Do you know your brand colours in CMYK, RGB and maybe even Pantone?

Bury Chiropractic

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We have had the pleasure of working with Kate and the Urban Feather team for over 10 years. It’s been a joy. No job is too small nor too big, no question or request (from us) too daft. Professional, knowledgable, warm and caring. Looking forward to even more collaborations in the future.

Wendy Davis, Co Director, Bury Chiropractic
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+44 (0) 1724 897 497