Your brand colours should go by many names, not just a hex value.

I’ve worked with a few clients recently where they’ve provided me with their logo and style guide and the only colour reference that comes with it is a hex value! 😡 Great for web design, but not for print. It’s not my client’s fault, their logo designer should have done better.

A brand colour needs to be defined by multiple colour systems to ensure your colour is accurate no matter where it appears. Which ones you ask? Here’s a simplified breakdown.

Pantone Matching System (PMS)
A colour system for printing similar to house paint swatches where every designer and printer has the same sample book and can match the colour, no matter where it’s printed. The colour books for printing come in two varieties for different paper stocks, coated (glossy paper) and uncoated (matte paper).

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key(Black)) 
Colour printers, from desktop to industrial, print using CMYK (and maybe a few extras, like Light Cyan, etc. to get a wider range of colour). Most print jobs will use CMYK unless it’s a screen printed package or label using a Pantone ink.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) / Hex
RGB and Hex are different ways of describing colour for screens. Photos and illustrations are often in RGB while web develops will use Hex codes to describe the colours in a website.

Casual Name (Optional)
Many people aren’t going to remember any of the technical names above, so a brand colour is often given a casual name to make it memorable.

Here’s the breakdown for my primary brand colour: (seen in the image)

Casual name: Fruit Punch
Pantone: 1925C / 1925U
CMYK: 10/90/65/0
RGB: 219 / 65 / 82
Hex: DB4152

One colour, six names. This allows for accuracy and consistency no matter where the colour shows up, onscreen, or on paper. There is much more nuance to what I’ve described and even alternate and additional naming conventions, but the above are the important ones.

When you’re having a logo created, insist that your branding package includes all of the above naming for your brand colours in your brand guidelines. If your designer didn’t ( 😭 ) or won’t (run), drop me a line and we can talk about filling in any colour gaps and creating the proper visual identity your brand deserves.