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color: web vs. print

April 24, 2013
Posted in design-speak decoded

Color reproduction is complex and can be difficult to understand. Here are some helpful basics about the ways colors are created on the web and on the printed page.

On the web, images are RGB (Red, Green and Blue, the three colors of pixels in your screen that combine into millions of color possibilities) and colors of code-defined parts of your site (like body text, solid background colors) are set using something called hex (hexidecimal) codes. In the back-end code that defines how your website functions and looks, hex codes tell the web browser what colors to show.

Standard print jobs are mostly some combination of 4-color process inks (or CMYK, where printed colors are mixed percentages of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and spot inks, usually Pantone colors. Pantone is a company that provides standardized ink colors and settings, kind of like paint swatches at a hardware store. Digital print jobs are often RGB.

 

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