When you set out to design materials for a launch or just to enhance your personal brand, selecting branded colors is an important first step. If your network marketing or MLM company has distinctive brand colors, you might want to incorporate them. Companies use distinctive colors to help brand the product, such as XanGo’s orange and Mary Kay’s pink. Consistency in color is key to branding.
When you have an idea of the color palette you want to work with, you’ll need to search for your “digital color swatches”—the codes that you’ll use to replicate those colors identically in your photo editor and in print. Color is more complicated than you might think, so we’ll take a moment to illuminate it.
There are two color formats: digital and print. Digital color codes are meant to display color on your screen, these are RGB and Hex (or HTML) color codes. You’ll use these codes while working in your editor of choice. Both GIMP and Photoshop can translate these digital color codes into identical print colors, but they won’t do it automatically. To achieve print colors you’ll need to save your files in CMYK format. If you are primarily going to work on projects that will be printed, you will want to learn about Pantone color codes.
The Pantone color system is a universal business standard. Pantone colors identify that you have selected the right color for your printer and give you accurate printed color results. When you select Pantone colors to incorporate in your brand identity, you can easily find the RGB or hex codes for those colors which you can then use in any photo editor.
There are many online tools that help you convert color codes; here’s one example. If you already know the Pantone code for your color, you can paste it in, and see all the other codes for that color. If you don’t already know your Pantone color, you can browse through “Pantone color books” click on any color and get the codes for a variety of systems, though you’ll want to focus on Hex or RGB. I prefer Hex, because it’s one line of code (as opposed for RGB’s three) that you can copy and paste directly into your editor’s color tool with no extra fuss.
We won’t go into more detail here about color, because like we said it’s more complicated than you might think, and these basics give you just enough to get started. However, if you want to learn more, check out these videos which offer more information about how color works and about printing in color vs. viewing color digitally:
In our next article we’ll walk you through the process of designing your own business card—a small enough process for you to start in on right away, and one that will teach you much of what you’ll need to know to keep going.