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” .

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!

Remember to like our Facebook page so that you see our Marketing Minute video every Wednesday!

Know the Facts…The True Cost of the $9.99 Business Card

Do you really understand what you are getting?

There are always 3 things to consider when making any type of purchase – QUALITY, SERVICE and PRICE. You won’t always get all three, so you need to decide which 2 are the most important to you.

  • QUALITY – they look nice, but if you choose to design your cards and other items on their site using their designs it is just that, THEIR DESIGN. That is a problem because…
  • These are stock designs – Anyone else can choose the same design including your competition – your business will not stand out when others have the same look
  • You do not own the design or the logo you created on their site. Everything done on the site belongs to THEM – you can only use the design on items you purchase from THEM. If they don’t offer an item you are interested in – you cannot put their image on it.
  • When you order the “FREE” business cards, they put their name on the back and say “These cards are printed free courtesy of…” Do you really want potential clients to know that you don’t have enough confidence in your business to invest in printing business cards? Your business cards are the least expensive form of advertising there is – and they are also the most important piece of advertising you have!

When you purchase a logo or a design from Handouts – it belongs to you. Please always verify with your designer that the designs are yours before they do the design.

  • The design belongs to YOU. You can use it on anything you choose. You can build your company image around that design.
  • It will be a design created for you and not shared with others.
  • Your competition will not have access to the same design

SERVICE – if you need to contact someone at the online company, you will speak with the person that answers the phone, there is no personal service. When working with a local company…

  • You receive personal service
  • You are supporting a local business
  • Your design will be carried through all of your marketing pieces
  • If you want a specific promotional item or a direct mail or EDDM piece it can be handled through the same company

PRICE – the $9.99 business cards are rarely ever $9.99 once you add in for all of the extras.

  • We can’t speak for the printing price from other companies, but at Handouts ALL of our printing prices are very competitively priced with online companies at 500 pieces, and at 1000 and higher, we are actually less expensive with better quality AND your designs will be carried through all of your marketing.

Now you know some important facts that you should consider when thinking about purchasing your printed marketing pieces and how it will effect your other maketing pieces.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love the opportunity to provide you with a competitive quote on any of your marketing needs! We want to help you grow your business!