The Difference Between CMYK, PMS, RGB and HEX Color
When it comes to branding and color in general, you want to make sure you are staying consistent throughout all mediums. From screens to prints, to apparel, the key to successful marketing is consistency. Understanding the color systems will help your brand maintain that consistency.
You may see these color breakdowns in your company’s brand guide and think “what do those even mean?” Well, this quick summary will give you a better understanding of what these color systems are and where they are meant to be used.
CMYK is an acronym for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). These are the color plates that are used in a 4 color printing process. Colors in CMYK are defined by the percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black that is used in a specific color. For example, our Systemax Navy is presented as: C=98 M=68 Y=45 K=33.
CMYK is the color system that is used only for printing purposes. All printers use CMYK for printing projects that include designs and images like magazines, postcards, and brochures.
Full-colored images and colors are created from the overlapping layers of the CMYK colors. These colors are applied on the medium as tiny dots to make up the desired image or color. In fact, if you have any full-color printed material and a magnifying glass you can actually see the tiny CMYK dots that make up the image!
The examples below
show the CMKY color layers and how they look when they are separated and then put together to create an image. And that other one shows how printed material looks when magnified.