THE MANY COLORS (Web safe, Spot colors, Hex colors, CMYK & RGB)

       Wouldn’t it suck if you created this awesome design on your computer only to see that when its sent to someone else, everything is off? I’d be pretty upset myself, not to mention the client as well. Well guess what, that was an issue for the “back in the day” designers. The question now is “Should I care about web safe colors?”. In this article we’ll talk about Web colors and what they mean. We’ll also go over Spot colors, Hex colors and RGB/CMYK color codes.

       First off, Web safe colors consist of 216 colors that display solid colors consistently throughout any computer monitor. They were introduced many years ago when our technology was obviously not as advanced as today. Most computers had a graphics card that can only view 256 colors at one time. That’s insane in comparison of today’s capabilities of viewing 16.7 million colors at once. Still, the issue of color balancing is with us, now more than ever, partly because of the way that monitors are manufactured, the different graphics cards that are available and the environments in which a computer is used. 

      If you need to match a particular color, perhaps a logo creation, then spot color is something to consider. Spot colors are printed with premixed inks on a printing press or screen printer. Each spot color is reproduced using a single printing plate or screen. To ensure that a printer uses the exact color that the designer intends, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is used. Each PMS number references a unique spot color and these colors can be found on a swatch chart.This assures that you get the right color when the file is printed, even though the color may not look right when displayed on your monitor. Using spot colors can keep your work consistent throughout various outputs such as the logo,the business card, etc. Below is a red-orange PMS spot color with its code written on it.



Print and Onscreen

       PMS, CMYK, RGB and HEX — anyone who works on a computer will have seen these terms used to describe color types, but many people don’t understand what they are, how they’re used and what the difference is between them.There are two basic categories of color types: print and onscreen. Color on the printed page is subtractive, while color onscreen is additive. Remember that PMS ( Pantone matching system) and CMYK are for print whereas RGB and HEX are for screen. Pantone has been around for over 50 years and is responsible for the creation of the first comprehensive standardized system of creating and matching colors in the graphic community. Each of the 1,755 solid PMS colors in their Formula Guide is a Pantone proprietary blend and is sold to printers either premixed or as a formula that printers mix on their premises.

Designers use the color swatches produced exclusively by Pantone to pick the colors, and printers refer to the same swatches. This ensures everyone works to the exact same PMS color no matter where they are.This standardization means most businesses and organizations use PMS colors for their branding, especially logos, to ensure the strictest color consistency across different print products and across the globe.



       CMYK color (also called four-color process) is actually a method whereby a combination of tiny transparent dots of four ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black are printed. Different combinations of large and small CMYK transparent dots overlap each other to create a wide spectrum of colors.Whereas a Pantone ink is one solid color throughout, a CMYK color is not. When you look at a CMYK printed piece through a magnifying glass, you can see a pattern of CMYK dots and how they overlap to make the final color.If you magnify  CMYK colors, you can see how the dots form the overall color, which is why CMYK is a “subtractive” color model.

       RGB is the worlds most commonly used color profile in the world. RGB is the process by which colors are rendered onscreen by using combinations of red, green and blue. RGB is the opposite of CMYK because it is an “additive” process. When you mix fully saturated versions of all three colors (red, green and blue) together, you get pure white. When you remove all three colors completely, you get black. RGB is specific to digital applications only. This includes mobile devices, computer monitors, laptops, TV and movie screens, games and illuminated signs.

 HEX colors are used by designers and developers in web design. A HEX color is expressed as a six-digit combination of numbers and letters defined by its mix of red, green and blue (RGB). Hex numbers represent these combinations with a concise code.


The first character # declares that this “is a hex number.” The other six are really three sets of pairs: 0–9 and a–f. Each pair controls one primary additive color. In the example above, 97 overwhelms the red color, 05 the green color and 15 the blue color. Below is an illustration you can keep for reference in case you need a fresh reminder on this topic.
























Photo by Marko Blazevic …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: