RGB, CMYK… what the HEX is it all about? A lot of businesses tune out when their designers start talking about colour, but it plays a vital role in keeping your brand looking consistent i.e., professional. If you’re confused by all the different colour models, and why they’re important, then we’re here to help.
In this blog we’re going on a joyous technicolour journey to talk about the difference between RGB, CMYK and HEX colour models, and the whys and hows of maintaining colour consistency in your branding.
RGB, CMYK and HEX colour models
Let’s start at the beginning with the three most common colour models used in digital and print design: RGB, CMYK AND HEX. Here’s a brief overview of each of them:
RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, and it’s used for digital design. Different intensities of red, green, and blue combine to create a range of colours. Every colour on a computer screen, tablet and phone is made up of different combinations of RGB values.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). Yeah, we know it’s weird that it’s not just B for Black! This is the colour model used in print design and combines different levels of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to create a range of colours.
HEX is short for hexadecimal, and it’s a six-digit code that represents colours in RGB values. It is commonly used for web design – these are the ones that start with a # (before that had a whole other meaning).
So now we know a bit about the different colour models, let’s talk about why it’s so important to keep a tight rein on the colours in your branding.
Why maintain colour consistency in branding?
Colour consistency is crucial in branding for several reasons:
Let’s shoot for brand recognition, because, who doesn’t want to be remembered? Consistent colour use is the golden ticket to brand recall. Picture this, Tiffany puts out an ad and their iconic blue box suddenly looks purple… Blimey, that’s a branding nightmare! You need that colour consistency splashed across every platform, be it online or offline – website, social media pages, business cards, flyers, the works.
If you want your business to scream “pros at work” rather than “a motley crew’s first rodeo”, you’ve got to get your colour game spot on! Making sure the colours are consistent across all your branding pulls your look together and sets you apart from any Tom, Dick or Harry playing around on Canva.
Running a business is hectic enough without fretting about whether your website logo is playing colour match-up with your Twitter page logo. Kick-off with best practices when it comes to your branding, and you’ll save yourself loads of time and dodging those double-checking duties down the line.
Now that we’ve established why colour consistency is essential in branding, let’s talk about how we make that happen!
HOW do you maintain colour consistency in your branding?
Maintaining colour consistency can be challenging, especially if you have several designers and marketers working on different projects! Here’s a few tips to help you stay in control:
Use brand guidelines
Think of brand guidelines as your brand’s rulebook, laying down the law on your visual identity. It’s not just about the logo, fonts, and colours – it could also stretch to include how photography should be used, the framework for the style of photography, and even layouts for snazzy presentations or social media posts. Typically, they’re packed up neatly into a PDF, ready to guide your marketing materials down the path of consistency. It’s like a cheat sheet for your employees and collaborators, helping everyone stay on brand and looking sharp.
Use the correct colour models
Here’s the 101 on colour models: RGB is your go-to for digital design, CMYK’s got your back on print, and HEX is your web design superstar. So, say you need to get that logo up on Twitter – make sure you’re armed with the RGB version. That’s because the CMYK one will lose its punch on screen, looking less vibrant than your 3 am cup of coffee. Any logo designer worth their beans will have you kitted out with all the versions you need. Seriously, they’re the salt of the Earth.
Test colours before finalising
Remember that game, “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”? Think of your colours as that tail. You want to test them out before sticking them for good on your marketing materials, both in the digital realm and the physical one. Different print finishes can mess with your colour results. For instance, colours can throw a tantrum on glossy or matt paper, and lamination might put a slight damper on their spirit. Don’t go printing a thousand brochures without asking for a print sample first! And remember, just like snowflakes, no two computer monitors or mobile phones show colour in exactly the same way. Keep that in mind, and you’ll save yourself a whole load of headaches.
Use colour management software
There are some tools that can help you in your fight to keep colour consistent. Consider colour management software your new BFF in the battle for consistency across all your marketing materials. This tech wizardry can help you tune up your monitors and printers, ensuring that your colours play nicely across all mediums. You should also become besties with your printing company; they can be the Gandalf to your Frodo in getting the colour right for every job. If they’re local, even better – you can pop in and give a thumbs up in person.
Well, that was a whistle stop tour of colour wasn’t it! Now that we’ve looked at why colour consistency in your branding is essential, you can ensure that your business looks the business. And with an understanding of the difference between RGB, HEX, and CMYK colour models, you can make sure that your brand is looking on-brand across all platforms.
Get going today and start implementing these tips to maintain colour consistency in your branding. Your customers will appreciate the attention to detail and professionalism, and your brand recognition will improve as a result. Need support? Send us a message and we can help.