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Q&A: RGB, CMYK. HEX and PANTONE

Q&A: RGB, CMYK. HEX and PANTONE

Posted by Stik2it.com on 28th Jun 2018

Why can’t I print in RGB?

Red, Green and Blue (RGB) is additive color model in which red, green and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. If you 100% of all RGB, the result is white. If you 0% of RGB, the result is black (think of a dark screen with no light showing through). RGB values are used for screens like a monitor, a cellphone and other electronic devices. RGB color model is not recommended to use the color model for printing purposes since it uses light to create color. 

White is the result of all the color combined. 

Black is the lack of Red, Green or Blue.

Why use CMYK?

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) is subtractive color model. CMYK is used for printing When these colors are added to paper the light reflected off the paper is changed creating what color your eye will perceive. When you add together Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, the result will be a gray black (no light with reflect off the white paper since the coverage is 100%). Adding a black ink will result in a Rich Black color. If you have 0% CMYK percentage selected as your color, the paper will show through so you will see white. 

White is the lack of CMYK inks. 


Rich Black is a result of add all the ink colors together. 


What the heck is Hex? 

HEX, or hexadecimal Is used for coding for websites and other web and screen related elements. HEX codes are created by using RGB percentage values to create a 2-digit code for each Red, Green and Blue percentage so you will end up for all value with a 6-digit code that is universally understood in the coding world. Oh yes, there is math involved but most design program will show the code in the RGB palette. If not, there is a plethora of websites that will convert RGB number to HEX codes. Remember HEX is used for screen and electronic devices.

What is PANTONE Matching System or PMS?

Pantone colors, Pantone, PMS - all refer to a matching system for inks and other materials. This matching system was created to ensure consistent color when printing because each PMS color refers to a very specific ink color not a build of CMYK as shown below.

There are color books available from Pantone so designers can choose a color or match an existing color. Also printer can refer to these book so that everyone know the color needed for a printed piece.

PMS colors are most often used for printing but can also be used for fashion, fabrics and plastics. 

More to come on Pantone colors.

Sources: Clem, Alex. “RGB vs. CMYK: Deciphering Color Modes for Print and Digital Design.”Shutterstock.com, The Shutterstock Blog, 11 Mar. 2018, www.shutterstock.com/blog/rgb-vs-cmyk-color-modes...

James, Laura. “RGB vs Pantone PMS vs CMYK vs HEX a Quick Guide to Color.” Laura James Studio >> Branding Photography Design, 27 Aug. 2015, www.lauraj.co/2015/06/rgb-vs-hex-vs-cmyk-vs-pms-a... - Laura James