CMYK is made up of four colors: ‘C’ cyan, ‘M’ magenta, ‘Y’ yellow and ‘K’ black. When printing four color process, each color is put on the paper separately, and then layered. If you zoom in on a printed image you will notice half-toning or little dots of color layered over one another.

As a result of the above, CMYK colors can vary depending on the angle of application for the above colors, the paper stock, printer and several other elements. Simply, they are not a universal standard.


In order to provide a standard, the Pantone system was created. It is often referred to as a spot color.

It is an ink that is premixed to the color required and printed from a dedicated plate, rather than being simulated by overprinting dots of ink like CMYK.

This means that you can print a wider range of colors that are not achievable through CMYK.

Because it is a premixed ink, it is a solid color, it will be of a higher quality on the final print item and also allow you to ensure you know exactly what that color is.

Color is Iconic

Color has a singular ability to differentiate a brand. Consumers instantly connect with a brand by recognizing a certain color on packaging, signage or promotional material before they’ve even read a single word.

Exactly matching CMYK color to PMS can prove impossible; Pantone produces a book that shows the bridge between actual PMS color and the equivalent made out of process colors. Some colors (such as orange, for example) can lose vibrancy. Every brand across the board faces this challenge. That being said, there are acceptable and necessary accommodations to handle color variations.

While it’s a lot of work to build color consistency into a brand, the results are well worth it, especially if a company wants to extend its presence into new mediums and markets.

Signarama Brighton understands colors and maintaining brand consistency.  Our graphic designers can consult with you and help determine the Pantone colors for your new business or rebranding an existing business.

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