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colors of pantone

Last updated on October 20th, 2021 at 06:04 pm

Pantone, CMYK and RGB colors explained

When placing an order for promotional products, you may be often asked how many colors are in your logo. You may also notice you can either print your logo in spot colors and process color. What does it all mean and how will it affect my logo?

Pantone Color

Coca-Cola logo and printing on various products
Pantone, CMYK and RGB colors explained

When the Cola-Cola company prints its logo on different merchandise, it is always in the same tone of red, known as “Coke Red”. How do they make sure it is always the same red they prin all the time? Coke Red is actually PMS 484, as indicated in the Pantone Color book (Pantone Matching System). It is the exact mix / formula for this particular color. There are many formula guides published by Pantone, and it allows companies to identify colors exactly and printers to find the exact mixso it is printed accurately every time. As long as Pantone 484 is called out, the same Coke Red is printed every time.

In most popular methods of printing a promotional product i.e., pad printing and silkscreening it uses Pantone colors as well. As a business it is crucial then for you to know what Pantone colors you want in the company logos, so all the t-shirts, apparel, and promotional products are consistent in the logo printing.

CMYK (Process)  Color

CMYK color

Sometimes when Pantone color printing is not an option, such as business cards, brochures, and posters, CMYK (4-color process) printing is used. CMYK colors are represented by specifying a percentage value of the four colors, namely C(Cyan), M(Magenta), Y(Yellow) and K(Black). Using our previous example of Coke Red (PMS 484), its equivalent will be C 8%, M 92%, Y 100%, K 33% or simply (8, 92, 100, 33). Using this CMYK percentage, the Coke Red is represented as closely as possible to the original PMS 484.

Therefore as a good practice in company branding, a logo should be both represented in Pantone color as well as CMYK color.

Another advantage in printing CMYK is that it produces more true to life results, and more economical for printing logos that contain many spot colors.

RGB Color

Difference between RGB and CMYK colors

In RGB only 3 colors is used: Red, Green and Blue. RGB is the color system used in computer screens, mobile devices. It is useful in creating images for websites and mobile devices. Using again our Coke Red example, the closest match to PMS 484 in RGB is 154, 51, 36. Therefore this color must be used for digital images for websites whenever the Coke Red is referenced to maintain color consistency.

Bottom line: RGB colors should not be used as printing at all, always convert it to either CMYK or Pantone color depending on the method of printing.

Final Note:

Branding is the name of the game here, so to sum it all up, make sure that you logo is represented in both CMYK and Pantone colors, so that your logo can be printed consistently across all mediums!

We hope this was helpful with the Pantone, CMYK and RGB colors article , and contact us today if there are more questions or to get started on your promotional products!

About the Author

Shirley Ho

Shirley is the co-founder of Garuda Promo and Branding Solutions. With a background in print production and graphic design, she specializes in promotional products marketing, creating end-products that aligns with her client's marketing goals and brand strategy.

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