Inks & Colours

In the massive world of print and onscreen design, we rely heavily on the consistency of colour and the ability to accurately replicate any colour. Any successful business knows the importance of having a complete brand guide that details logo usage, fonts, language, and the colours tied to their brand. Colour plays a huge role in branding and keeping consistency across all platforms is crucial to any successful brand.

When creating any brand, we start by choosing PMS colours, but that’s just one piece of the process in any design project we, as designers, rely on four basic colour systems an by using these colour systems correctly we are able to successfully colour match you branding and its elements across all forms of media.
The four main colour systems are:


Pantone® (real name PMS - Pantone matching System) is known worldwide as the standard language for colour communication in the printing industry.

The Pantone® Formula Guide provides a full list of PMS colours and is used by both designers and printers to assure colour accuracy.

PMS colours are used for offset printing and are typically used for one or two-colour print jobs, or in addition to CMYK on high-end print jobs.


CMYK, used in the print world for full-colour jobs, is also referred to as four-colour process printing.

A combination of four transparent ink colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) are used to achieve a wide gamut of colours to create the appearance of full-colour.

If you were to look closely at a CMYK print, you would see a combination of overlapping dots- where if you were to look closely at a PMS print, you would see solid colour.


RGB is a colour gamut of light using red, green, and blue to render colours onscreen. When designing for web, digital, or TV the RGB colour system is used.

HEX, which stands for Hexadecimal, is also used onscreen and is basically a shortcode for RGB colour. A HEX colour is a six-digit combination of letters and numbers. The first two numbers represent red, the middle two represent green, and the last two represent blue. In most programs, the HEX number is automatically generated for you.

Colour Matching Across All Systems

When we create a brand for any client we like to create a set of Brand Guidelines. In the guidelines, we take great care to accurately specify the PMS, CMYK, RGB, and HEX for each of their brand colours.

In most cases, it’s best practice to start with the Pantone (PMS) colour and then convert that to CMYK, RGB, and HEX. To avoid colour inconsistencies, we always use Pantone’s Color Bridge guides- which provide the CMYK, RGB, and HEX values to best match each Pantone colour.

For instance, if a bright vibrant orange Pantone colour is chosen and then printed in CMYK, you would be horrified to see that your orange would appear as a muddy brown colour. Or if you create a digital ad in RGB and then want to place it in a brochure that is being offset printed, the bright vibrant color you see onscreen will appear muted once it’s printed in CMYK.

The Pantone Color Bridge guide allows you to view a side-by-side visual comparison of the Pantone colour versus the closest CMYK process printing match on coated and uncoated paper. Furthermore, it lets you choose a Pantone colour that converts well to CMYK for the best colour consistency across multiple platforms. If like many of our clients you don't have access to our industry software like Photoshop & Illustrator we will give these conversions to you within your Brand Guidelines.

Colour Matching in action

Traditional Pantone Book

Utilising the Pantone matching system to accurately match the desired colour for use in the design process using adobe Photoshop to replicate the colur during the design or branding process.

Pantone Colour Bridge

Designer using Pantone colour brigde to ensure that CMYK split provided within the traditional Pantone book provides an accurate represenation of the original chosen colour.

CMYK Colour registration

Printer checking the CMYK Registration of the printed image to match the references prvided by Adobe Colour Bridge. Once etsablish the output colour will match the first pantone reading.

RGD/Hex colour identification

Using the Eyedroper tool in Adobe Photoshop of Adobe Illustrator and accurate RGB/Hex reference can be take to ensure all digital media including websites and other online collateral matches the original Pantone reference.

If you need some help or advice
in getting your company's print right

Give me a call
I would love to help!

01376 402 195