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The Ultimate Guide to Colors

CMYK. Pantone. RGB.

Do these words look like gibberish to you? You're not alone.

All of these words describe different color modes used in the print and digital world. Our team often forgets that the words we toss around every day sound like another language to our customers. That's why we've created the ultimate guide to colors.


CMYK is the four-color process system used for printing. The name stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black. Printers combine these base colors at different percentages to create every color imaginable. Send us your art files in CMYK, and you'll be our favorite customer.

2. Pantone

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the holy grail of the print world. A Pantone color is a small color swatch that has been given a number, so there's no guessing when it comes to color matching. Designers often assign Pantone values to the colors used in a logo, so refer to your Brand Guide or ask your designer if your logo uses any Pantone colors. This way, your printer will know exactly what your colors should look like when printed.

3. RGB

RGB stands for Red-Green-Blue and is the standard color mode for all digital files. Have you ever uploaded digital artwork online and the colors appear crazy different? That's probably because the file hadn't been switched to RGB. Use this color mode for email newsletters, digital ads and website banners, but never for print.

We're always happy to give our customers guidance when it comes to designing artwork for print. When we work together with our customers, we create the best possible work.


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