What Color Do You Need?

If you are designing a file or getting ready to send your artwork to be printed, you should understand the basic definitions of the colors being used and what the differences are. There are 4 basic color types: CMYK, RGB, PMS and HEX.

CMYK is also know as Full Color, Four Color, Four Color Process and Process Color. CMYK refers to the four inks used in printing full color… Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  

Each process color is comprised of percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks that are printed in transparent dots of ink that blend together to make a color. CMYK printing will produce high quality results, but there is a chance of color variation across different printers and in different print runs. CMYK are the colors used when you send a file to your desktop printer or when you send a file to a printing company to be printed. CMYK cannot be used on a screen or online.

The best file formats for CMYK colors are: PDF, AI, EPS, orTIF; but a JPEG file can also be CMYK.


The RGB color model is an “additive color model” in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors.

RGB colors work great on websites and on-screen, but it is not a good choice for printing. RGB colors should be used for website logos or graphic images, social media, video, photographs online, apps, etc. You will notice that RGB colors appear more vibrant than CMYK colors because they are illuminated on a screen and the screen provides a larger range of color.

The best file formats for RGB colors are: JPEG, PNG and GIF.


A spot color is a special premixed ink that is used instead of, or in addition to, process inks (CMYK).

Spot colors are solid colors of ink. A spot color requires its own printing plate on a printing press which adds to the cost of the printing job. You would use spot color when color accuracy is critical. There are several spot color systems to choose from, but the most widely used is the Pantone Matching System (PMS).


Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a printing industry color matching system used to print spot colors – also called Pantone colors.

Pantone uses 18 base colors to create a range of Pantone colors. The swatches are indicated by a three- or four-digit number followed by the letter C or U. (example PMS 320C) The C stands for Coated and the U for Uncoated and refers to the finish of the paper it is being printed on. Coated are used for printing on glossy surfaces and Uncoated for printing on matte surfaces like letterhead. When you print on a coated surface it adds a sheen to the ink and the uncoated inks are not as vibrant. If you look at the same PMS number in coated and uncoated, there is a noticeable difference.


Hex Colors are Hexadecimal numbers are used on web pages to set colors.

Hex colors are a mix of red, green and blue (RGB) with some conversions. The color is shown by the number sign (#) followed by six letters, numbers or a combination (ex. #66ccc). Hex colors are only used on web pages and should not be used in designing for print.

Most likely, you will never need to use hex color codes, but, you can find free conversion tools online if you need to convert RGB files to HEX by searching, “RGB to HEX” .

Email Marketing

Let’s talk about email marketing. This is a great, inexpensive way to market your business and stay in touch with your contact list. Best of all, you can schedule your email blasts so you can create your marketing for the next week, month or year and schedule it to be delivered when you want it delivered!

A few of the main email marketing companies are: Constant Contact, Get Response and Mail Chimp. Handouts has used Get Response for many years and we are very happy with their products and services. These companies do much more than simply providing an email service, they offer landing pages, auto responders, funnels, website forms and more. Most of the companies offer a free trial so you can be sure you like the way they work before paying for their services.

WHY NOT JUST SEND FROM YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT

We feel it is important to use an email marketing company rather than just sending your email account because they will supply you with analytics on each email so you can tell what is working and what is not. The analytics will include things like: how many people opened your email, how many clicked, how many bounced, what your open rate was. Email marketing companies also supply you with templates which make it easier for you to create professional looking emails that are mobile friendly. Remember always stay true to your company colors and your company image when creating any type of marketing piece.

HOW DO I TRACK MY RESULTS

The email marketing companies will supply you with analytics, but you should create a spreadsheet so that you make sure that you are taking your marketing full circle – mail, email, social, etc. We have created a very simple to use spreadsheet to help you. Click the button below to download a copy. Remember you should color code in the TYPE column (email, mail, Facebook, etc.) so you can see at a glance that you are using all forms of marketing. If you see too much of one color, make adjustments.

Another benefit to using an email marketing company, you will be able set up different campaigns so you can track other forms of your marketing as well. Ex. if you do a facebook ad with a click through for information, it will capture the email address for you. If you set it up as a separate campaign, you can see how many people sign up through Facebook vs. through your email. When you send an email blast, you can choose to send it to one of your list or more than one. It will check for duplicates and send the message just once.

HOW DO I GET AN EMAIL LIST

If you have your customers in an Excel file, you can import that file. Please remember do not spam. You can add people that you do business with to your email list, you can have people sign up for your email list, you cannot add people without a prior business relationship unless you have their approval.

List Building Program

Work ON Your Business not IN it

With all of the social distancing, I realize that this is most likely a slow time for your business, but now is the perfect time to work ON your business not IN your business. This slow time will pass and you will be busy again, so take full advantage of this time to schedule your marketing for the year. You will need a strong marketing plan to recover quickly.

Something to think about when you work on your marketing plan is partnerships.

Small business is the backbone of America and we should band together to build each other up.

NOW is the perfect time to partner with other businesses in your area to cross promote.

You can do this by:

  • Sharing Ad Space – this will cut the cost in half
  • Send out a Postcard Mailing – you each get 1/2 of postcard and pay 1/2 of the cost
  • Boost each other in Social Media – this is FREE to both of you
  • Send an Email Blast to your “partner” and have them send it to their mailing list (you do the same for them). You are not sharing your mailing lists, you are each sending it out for the other.

The point is, to help each other to grow. We are all in the same situation but we can stronger together.

Some examples of businesses that can partner together:

A realtor can partner with the flooring company. Many times the people that buy a home are going to want to change the floors in their new home; sometimes people are buy new flooring because they want to sell their house – perfect fit.

A dental office or orthodontist can partner with a beauty salon or nail salon, you are both in the business of making people look good.

An Oil change company or car repair shop can partner with a restaurant. You are both targeting the same customers and your non-competing businesses. When a customer comes in for a repair, give them an ad for the other business and they can do the same for you.

A home remodeling company partner with a cleaning company or carpet cleaner. It is a good fit and a non-competing business. Once the remodeling is done, the homeowner may want to clean their carpet; when they are getting carpets cleaned, homeowners may mention that they are looking to remodel.

A movie theater can partner with a restaurant or pizza shop. What is better than pizza and a movie . . . it’s like chocolate and peanut butter!

Take a minute to think outside of the box, who targets the same people that you target? That’s who you want to talk to. I hope I gave you something to think about today and good luck with your marketing plan!

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