The Colour System Explained

.. What is Pantone, RGB, CMYK and what is a Colour Guide?

Colour is part of lives! We see colour everyday in our clothes, our cars, our televisions, our computers, smartphones, signs and naturally on flowers, trees, fish, animals and more! – A brand is created considering the look of all items that will include the logo, this may be business cards, letterheads, brochures, flyers, email signature, website and for example; a vehicle sign.  Once all other visual aspects of the brand have been created consistently it is only then that a brand design is complete.

Colour Formats

There are two most common colour formats and these are RGB  (red, blue, green) and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).


Is used in electronic formats, this colour format is suitable for use electronically on your
computer, websites and all other files that will be for electronic use only.


Is used on printed formats, this colour format is suitable for use on printed items like
stationery, vehicles, signs, clothing and all other formats that will be for printable use only.

The colour printing processThere are two most common printing methods Pantone Solid Coated (PMS) or spot colour colour process and CMYK (4 colour printing/Process printing)

The colour printing process

There are two most common printing methods Pantone Solid Coated (PMS) or spot colour colour process and CMYK (4 colour printing/Process printing)

Pantone (PMS)


This process ensures that your colours will print more accurately to the RGB equivalent
colours. This process usually costs more to print but the colours are rich and vibrant.PMS colours in printing are created without screens or dots, these colours are part of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, these colours are often referred to as spot or soild colours. From a large palette of basic colours, each of the spot colours in the PANTONE MATCHING System is mixed according to its own unique ink mixing formula. Each colour in the System has a unique name or number followed by either a C for Coated Paper or U for Uncoated paper.

CMYK (4 Colour Process/Process Printing)

The CMYK colour process is used as a more affordable printing alternative. These colours do not print as rich or accurate but it is a widely used printing option.

CMYK (four-colour process) or just process printing. To print a colour image in CMYK colour process, a file is separated into four different colours: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K). During separation, screen tints comprised of small dots are applied at different angles to each of the four colours. The screened separations are then transferred to four
different printing plates, one for each colour, and run on a printing press with one colour
overprinting the next. The composite image is the seen by the naked eye as an illusion of
continuous tone.

Pantone Guides

Are colour formula guides for designers, these guides are created by Pantone and they give designers the colour attributes needed for creating artwork suitable for accurate printing. Electronic use (RGB) colours are also provided on Pantone’s Colour Matching Guides. It is best to look at hard copy guides instead of just electronically available guides, but to help you select colours for use on your electronic use or printable projects we have decided to provide a PDf PMS/CMYK Colour Chart. Click on the button below to download it.

Download Colour Chart!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.