Tag Archives: color

RGB vs. CMYK vs. PMS

It’s time to send your design to print, but you’ve got one big question: RGB, CMYK, or PMS? Choosing the right color profile can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your design will appear in print. Pick the wrong one, and your colors may not look the way you want. Here’s a simplified breakdown of each of these three color profiles and when you should use each in your marketing designs.

RGB

RGB stands for “red, green, blue” and is often used in digital design to accurately represent colors on computer screens. To create a color pallet, this profile blends red, green, and blue light waves to give you the exact shade you’re looking for. RGB is best for projects like:

  • Infographics
  • Websites
  • E-Newsletters
  • Online Catalogs

A viewer’s monitor settings can change the way RGB colors are displayed on the screen, so your digital designs might vary slightly on different computer screens.

CMYK

Similar to RGB, the CMYK color profile blends multiple colors together to achieve the right look. The colors used in CMYK are cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), and each color is applied in layers during the printing process to match your chosen hue exactly. You would use a CMYK profile for:

  • Most everyday print materials

This profile is ideal for printed materials, but you should expect very slight variation in your colors throughout the printing process. This is a result of differences in paper, ink levels, temperature, and the process of mixing inks itself. While this variation is barely noticeable, it should be a factor when considering which color profile to use for branded materials.

PMS

PMS, or Pantone Matching System, is the most accurate color profile for printed materials. RGB and CMYK colors are blended in real-time during the printing process, which can create inconsistencies in your color. PMS colors are pre-mixed before printing and each color is applied one by one to maintain consistency throughout the print job.

Given its unique accuracy, the PMS color profile is most often used for:

  • Corporate Branded Print Materials

You also have the option of using PMS and CMYK together to achieve a full color palette for full-color photographs and other multimedia printing projects.

Each of these color profiles has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to choose one that meets your specific printing needs. Discuss the possibilities with your printer to accurately display the colors of your design and capture the essence of your branding in the printing process.

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Benefits of UV Coating

Printed marketing materials are often your business’s first contact with new customers, and it’s important that they make a great first impression. UV coating is one way you can make your postcards, business cards, catalogs, and other products stand out and draw attention to your brand.

But what is ultraviolet (UV) coating? This finishing technique involves the application of a wet compound to paper that is cured and dried with ultraviolet light. This process results in a glossy sheen that is as attractive as it is durable.

 

What are the benefits of UV coating?

UV coating creates a stunning, dramatic visual appeal with a wide variety of mediums, whether you’re sending out postcards or designing presentation documents. But in addition to its aesthetic value, this coating process has several additional benefits.

  • High-Shine: UV coating adds a truly unique shine to your printed materials, deeply enhancing colors and creating a slick visual effect. This coating is great for photographs and high-color documents like catalogs and folders.
  • Customizable: Your printer can adjust the reflectivity and thickness of your UV coating depending on your unique needs. You may opt for a glossy coating or an understated matte for maximum effect.
  • Fast Drying: Production time can significantly slow down your marketing campaign, but using ultraviolet light, these materials dry instantly to save you time.
  • Durable: When you’re mailing or distributing your materials, they can often get scuffed or scratched in transition. UV coating keeps your materials looking fresh off of the press for much longer, allowing you to design mailing pieces, business cards, and brochures with a durable, abrasion-resistant design.
  • Environmentally-Friendly: Many coatings use harmful solvents, but the compound used in UV coatings are free of solvents and don’t emit volatile organic compounds during the curing process.
  • Affordable: The process of applying UV coating is very affordable, particularly when you consider the return on your investment. High-quality printed materials can inspire confidence in your brand and impress your customers and clients.

When is UV coating not a good option?

There are some instances in which UV coating is not your best option for your printed materials. These occasions include:

  • When you’re using lightweight paper (under 100#): UV coating may crack or curl if used on lightweight paper. Heavier stock is recommended for this coating process, such as paper stock used for business cards, booklets, flyers, and catalog covers.
  • If the material needs to be written on: Writing with ink on coated paper can take a long time to dry and result in unflattering smudges, so it’s best to opt for uncoated paper if it needs to be written on. For materials like business cards that may be used for visual and functional purposes, you can coat one side and leave the other uncoated for writing.
  • If you’re using metallic inks or foil stamping: Unless your metallic ink is sealed, its naturally flaky surface can cause the UV coating to peel and flake. Additionally, the UV coating on your materials may not allow for a foil stamp, so discuss this possibility with your printer before deciding on coating or stamping.

UV coating is a great option for marketers, advertisers, and small business owners alike. By using this coating on your printed materials, you can create eye-catching materials that promote your brand and attract customers—without breaking your print budget.

The Power of Color

Red, green, or purple: color choice greatly influences buyers

Pantone-Color-of-the-Year-2013-1When drafting a print job, the decisions can be overwhelming. What weight of paper will work best? What binding option meets your needs and budget? One tool that is more powerful than paper, binding, or any other print selection is the simple—or not so simple—choice of color.

Most people know that different colors can call to mind a variety of emotions or moods, such as a blue room feeling cool or a yellow dress seeming springy, but color affects the psyche on an even deeper level, playing a role in emotion to the point that it impacts purchasing behavior. Before you pick purple because you like it, or green because it’ll show up well, take a moment to investigate what your audience might be thinking about your color scheme.

Neutral colors

Neutral shades, such as black, ivory, white, tan, brown, and grey, form the basis for many simple, streamlined products. Apple markets mainly in black and white, and has cultivated their sleek sophistication in part due to their neutral color scheme. Neutrals make excellent backgrounds for more vivid images or commentary, but when used alone, run the risk of feeling bland, sterile, or stark.

Warm colors

Red, orange, and some shades of yellow comprise the warm color family. This is where you can find the intense emotions—passion, energy, and vibrancy. They can create feelings of happiness or exuberance, but also alarm. Used sparingly, bursts of warm color are excellent attention-getters; when they overwhelm, however, they are one of the fastest ways to turn your market off.

Cool colors

The phrase ‘cool colors’ doesn’t refer to how trendy the colors are, but sometimes they can be the hip choice. Blue and green, the main cool colors, are known to be calming and soothing, which can serve to drive consumers to those choices, particularly in health and wellness markets. However, they can sometimes seem staid or aloof. Purple invokes luxury, or superiority, depending on how it is used.

Common perceptions

One important factor to keep in mind is that your material, like the rest of the world, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Purple might perfectly meet your needs, but it can also connote femininity, which may not jive with your goal. Green means go, or means nature—or, to the coffee-inclined, is inextricably linked with Starbucks. Balance the emotional weight of colors with what your audience might be connecting them with already; as with Starbucks, careful and consistent color marketing can eventually tie you so closely to a specific color that it becomes paramount to your brand. Make your choice with care, and then embrace your colors.