Pick a Color, Any Color

One of the most difficult phases of creating a new brand or designing marketing material is getting all of the parties to agree on the same color. (colour in Canada and the UK)

While most of our clients can provide a general idea of the colors they would like and we always recommend what colors we think will work best, it is important to understand the client and their target market as colors convey different messages. While I won’t pretend this is an area I know much about there are great web sites that will provide the proper definitions such as:

RED: Red is associated with anger, aggression, blood, sex, and power.

Blue is associated with water, sky, masculinity, coolness, peace, knowledge, contemplation, loyalty, trust, and justice.

Yellow is the first color your eye will see. Yellow is associated with wisdom, sunshine, joy, radiance, intellect, and idealism.

Picking Colors

The first step in many projects is to determine a color palette. Often we send clients to ColourLovers.com where they can poke around until they find a palette or two they like. The advantage to us is that we then have the hex or RGB codes as a starting point.

Color Palette Color Palette 2 Color Palette 3

The use of acronyms in printing is nauseating for the uninitiated and you will read about RGB, CMYK, HEX and Pantone, but what do you need to know?

Color printing is the reproduction of an image or text in color (as opposed to simpler black and white or monochrome printing). The method used to print a full range of colors, such as for reproducing a color photograph, is referred to as four-color process printing because it used three primary ink colors — cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus black (abbreviated as as CMYK).

Another method of full-color printing is six-color process printing (for example, Pantone’s Hexachrome system) which adds orange and green to the traditional CMYK for a larger and more vibrant gamut, or color range.

Color printing can also use “spot color” inks, alone or in combination with the four-color process method. Spot color inks are specific formulations that are printed alone, rather than mixed to produce various hues and shades. The range of available spot color inks, much like paint, is nearly unlimited and much more varied than the colors produced by four-color process. Spot color inks are used to print colors from subtle pastels to fluorescent greens and oranges to metallic silvers, golds and other finishes.

Best advice is to leave the acronyms to us.

Now We Have the Color

Or at least we think we do. It gets a bit tricky working over the phone with clients as we have found that no two computer monitors or displays will show the same color and no two printers seem to print the same color; and that’s where the problem starts. More than once the client is talking about the lovely mauve and I am looking at a blue. At this phase we often send clients to look Site Pro Central or December where we can discuss colors they like on the web site.

Prior to generating a proof from the printing company we often we send a proof of the design to the client and the color they see will vary depending on whether we print it on a color laser or color inkjet printer. I have learned never to trust this color. The printing stage is where the color choice is most critical and this is where we rely on a proof generated on a high end Epson printer to show the client. This proof is as close

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dan Schawbel says:

    Colors can either detract or add to your website but the most important thing is that your theme is consistent throughout.

  2. GundyGroup says:

    Hey Mike,
    I was wondering if you could give me some feedback on my logo, website theme, and over feel. Sorry not much content… just trying to nail down the look and functionality. Thank!


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