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Understanding the Difference Between RGB, CMYK and HEX

Color codes are vital to get the perfect shadeWhat are PGB, CMYK, and HEX?

Though at first glance, the words may only seem like random acronyms, but they are a part of our everyday lives in the colors we consume on a daily basis. Because of the impact visuals have on us and the force of color psychology in marketing, brands sometimes need to be very specific of the shade they choose for their product.

For example, Coke has an infamously iconic shade of red, just as Cadbury has its shade of purple and Samsung has its shade of blue. In order to maintain consistency across different countries and mediums, there are specific color codes that need to be followed. That is where RGB, CMYK, and HEX come in.

These are some color profiles that use numerical or alphabetical values to denote a final color.  

What do RGB, CMYK, and HEX Stand For?

The acronyms RGB, CMYK and HEX refer to the colors in the profile. There are two types of colors – those that are used in print and those that are used online. A combination of the dominant colors will be used to mix together and produce a final color.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

RGB is the color model that is used to color digital content. As the name suggests, it uses different combinations of the colors red, green, and blue to produce a color. These are each denoted by a numerical value between 0-255.

The RGB format uses the addition of different intensities of color to bring out the final result. This is different from print formats of colors that will use the subtraction of color. So, for example, the color white will be denoted by 255-2555-255; this means it is utilizing all possible shades of red, green and blue. On the other hand, the color black would be 0-0-0 because it isn’t using any of the available shades.

This color system is also what computer and television screens rely on to produce their displays. It is also given a value with letters and numbers to convert to the HEX code format which we will talk about further down.

CYMK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

This color format is used for print materials and is especially ideal for glossy posters or brochures. It uses a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and gives them a percentage value between 0-100 to describe the intensity of the individual colors.

While the RGB format uses the addition of different intensities of color to create the final shade, CYMK uses the subtraction of color from the white of the page to get to the final shade.

HEX (Hexadecimal Color)

HEX stands for hexadecimal color and is essentially just a representation of RGB colors through a six-digit code that combines letters and number to denote intensity of the shades. HEX is used onscreen for web design.

It may seem quite simple but keeping the consistency of shades across spectrums is not as easy especially when it comes down to printing things such as candy wrappers or using different materials that can alter the appearance of the color. This is why most brands have a very strict color policy and strive to keep it consistent across the board.

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