Here are several reasons why color mode matters in logo design!
As a graphic designer, it's essential to consider both the color mode you use and the actual color of your design to ensure that it serves the project's needs and objectives. In this modern world, we use a variety of media designs for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, culture, social purposes, and, most importantly, advertising or marketing.
Specific design requirements are necessary for these various goods or media in order for the appearance of the design to be exactly as you expected and fulfill the design's purpose. In the field of graphic design, we distinguish between two different color modes: SRGB and CMYK.
Especially when we talk about logo design, the logo is the main publicly recognized symbol of a brand. When we remember a well-known logo, it is not only the distinctive shape but also the staple colors that reflect the brand identity. Therefore, we need to know how to display consistent brand colors in all marketing products.
You have found the appropriate discussion if you are a beginning designer who wants to learn more about the precise distinctions between these two colors. We will go into great detail about color modes in this discussion, including what they are, how they differ, and how to use them correctly for the best possible design appearance.
Why Colors on Your Logo Design Are Important
Before we get into a more specific discussion about color mode, you must first know the importance of color in graphic design. For those of you who are designers, of course, you understand very well that color is an element that can make your design come to life.
Although a black and white design does not mean a bad or incomplete design, of course, the use of color and also the right value in the design will greatly affect the overall appearance. Color is a fairly specific element in the world of design. The slightest change in values, tones, or shades will change the feel of the design.
Starbucks is well-known for its specific green shade, Taco Bell for its purple color, and Mcdonald's for its red color. The colors in your logo will determine the branding value of your company and also become the colors that the public associates with your brand.
Colors determine the mood and atmosphere of a graphic design piece. We certainly already know that some colors represent a certain mood, value, or meaning that you can apply to your work to emphasize the understanding and context of your work.
As a graphic designer, of course, you want your design work to appear consistently in various media, especially if you are a branding identity designer. The work that you have created on the computer and displayed on your screen must be able to appear the same when later printed on various real products.
And using the appropriate color mode in your design is one way to guarantee that. And hence, your artwork can look exactly the same in terms of color on a computer screen and in the actual products that incorporate your design.
What Is Color Mode in Graphic Design
Color mode is a type of basic color arrangement that consists of other colors in the design. We know that the primary colors that are usually used for painting or drawing are blue, yellow, and red.
These three colors, when mixed with certain compositions, will produce all the colors on the color wheel. However, in the graphic design world, we do not use these basic colors. There are two types of color modes, or in this context, color types, that make up the other colors you see in the design.
This color mode is used in graphic design because we use various device machines, such as computer screens, cameras, printers, and also various other supporting machines that have their system for viewing color values. Certain machines can only recognize colors that are generated from one type of color mode and vice versa.
Therefore, you need to know which devices or machines use certain color modes and which do not so that you can carry out your design process effectively. Two types of color modes that are known in the graphic design world are SRGB and CMYK.
The name of these modes is taken from the abbreviation of the constituent colors. So, SRGB, or what is usually known as RGB only, uses red, green, and blue colors to compose other colors. On the other hand, there is also CMYK, which consists of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
To help you understand more about these two color modes, here are some more detailed explanations about each of these modes:
1. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (CMYK)
Have you seen the machine closely if you have a home printing machine or see a printing machine at a printing service? On some machines, the ink cartridges are placed outside the machine and attached to the body of the printer.
When you look at the printer machine, you will notice that in the ink tube of the printer machine, there are four main colors in the bottle. Specifically cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. All printing machines, whether small for home needs or even large ones for industrial needs, use these color modes to arrange the colors you see in your prints.
These four main colors used in printing need to compose more than 16 thousand different colors and shades, according to the needs of the print media. You may be wondering why this color mode is called CMYK instead of just CMYB if the color that composes it is black.
The key in CMYK is used to replace blue to avoid confusion with SRGB, which also uses the color blue as its constituent. Therefore, we use the term key, which we feel is also appropriate because the black color in CMYK mode plays an important role in determining the light and dark of the printing result.
Also mentioned is the fact that this term originated in the 1800s printing press industry when black ink was the only color used for printing. The important thing is that we now mention CMYK with the key on it, which stands for the color black, regardless of which fact is accurate.
2. Standard Red, Green, and Blue (SRGB)
Color mode is arguably a mode that has just been created in the world of graphic design and technology. SRGB color, or what is usually just referred to as RGB, appeared in the late 1990s to standardize computer screens to display the same color and value.
Because the graphic design world heavily uses computers or other smart devices that have screen displays, the design world also adopts the term SRGB as one of the basics that must be understood. SRGB is a color mode that is preferred by many designers, especially those who only produce designs for media needs and not for real products.
The reason is that, compared to CMYK mode, SRGB can produce many more colors. With a specific mix of red, green, and blue colors, your monitor or device screen can display more than 16 million colors—1,000 times the number of colors that can be produced in CMYK color mode.
However, the number of colors that can be produced also depends on the type and specifications of the device you are using for your design needs. For everyday needs, you may not need a color-sensitive device screen. However, for graphic design needs, you need a device that reflects the SRGB colors accurately so that your design results are consistent when displayed on other screen devices.
You may have heard or read the "100 SRGB" or "75 SRGB" specifications when you were looking for a PC or laptop for your graphic design needs. Those terms are an indication of how accurate and sensitive your device's screen is in displaying SRGB colors. The higher the number—as close to 100 or even 100—the greater the spectrum of colors that can be displayed.
The Use of Each Color Mode to Display Your Logo Design
Your logo design will appear in various branding and marketing products of a business. Starting from merchandise, employee uniforms, office or business interiors, brochures, social media content, signs, and various other places associated with your business. Each place and type of marketing used requires different color modes.
As a designer, you should not only create impressive work when viewed on a monitor screen but also in all the products that clients ask you to handle. And hence, you need to understand which color mode is the most appropriate for each marketing or branding need.
Because there are so many different mediums or marketing platforms, we can divide them into two broad categories, which will also help you understand how to use color mode to display your logo design. We can divide it into printed media or digital media. The following is an in-depth discussion of the two types of medium for displaying your logo and which color mode you should use:
1. Printed Medium or Live Products
Packaging designs, storefront signs, merchandise, billboards, or posters are some examples of real products that are often used by a brand or business as branding for their products. These various types of mediums have one thing in common, namely that all of them require a design or logo to be printed using a machine onto the surface of the product.
Fortunately, the use that involves printing machines, then the best color mode you should use is CMYK. This color mode is already specialized and has become the standardization of printing machines in various parts of the world. All printing machines in the world, for various scales and needs, use basic inks consisting of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
So, whether you want to print your logo design on employee uniforms, on posters, on the surface of a tote bag, or on other surfaces or materials, you need a design with CMYK color mode.
2. Digital Medium
When you want to display your logo design on social media content, websites, or mobile designs, then you can use the SRGB color mode to make it look more vibrant and attractive. One of the main challenges as a graphic designer is to display designs that can appear on all devices equally, especially in terms of color.
Although many devices have different sensitivity to color, all of them still use the SRGB standard. The difference is only in terms of sensitivity which will determine how much of the color spectrum can be displayed on the screen. Therefore, if you want to create designs that are displayed via digital media or through screens, it is highly recommended to use SRGB color mode instead of CMYK.
When you design using a particular device, also make sure the screen that displays your design has a high sensitivity to SRGB. The difference in sensitivity on this screen will display colors that are very different from other screens.
Usually, smartphone screens have a higher SRGB color mode sensitivity compared to computer devices. Therefore, if you want to design for products that are displayed via smartphones (such as social media content or mobile apps), you must use a screen that is already 100 SRGB.
What Happens If You Chose The Wrong Color Mode
As mentioned above, there are two types of color modes because each device perceives and identifies colors differently. When you choose the wrong color mode when designing your logo, and you want to print the design, surely the results will not match your expectations or what you have previously designed in terms of color.
CMYK has a much more limited color spectrum than SRGB, so this may mean some of the colors that appear on your monitor screen cannot be printed correctly because these colors cannot be identified by the printer.
The color difference between the digital display and also the printed display will be more prominent if we want to display soft or light colors. Young colors certainly have their undertones which will greatly determine the appearance of the color. If you use the wrong color mode, there are many cases where the printer can't properly identify the undertones of the colors you choose, so the printing results end up showing very different colors.
The printer will automatically alter the color of the design so that it is paler, more muted, or darker than it should be. This is the main reason why you need to use the right color mode for your design according to its purpose.
What Should You Do If You Use The Wrong Color Mode to Fix It
After understanding the different color modes, you may ask, what will happen if I choose the wrong color mode when I want to create a logo design or other graphic design products? Let's say you choose CMYK color mode, even though you will display the design on digital media.
It would be much better if you directly use the appropriate color mode so that your design process will also become much more efficient. However, if you forget or make a mistake, you can use various programs to convert your design to the appropriate color mode. Nowadays, there are many color mode converters that you can access very easily, especially through the internet.
You just need to look for the appropriate keywords; later, there will be many platform results that offer color mode conversion services. Some services even provide free conversion services without charging a penny.
In addition to using a converter platform, some design software also provides features that can help users directly convert the color mode in the design. However, most of these features can only be found in professional software.
Some designing platforms for beginners, such as Canva, sometimes don't provide a color mode that you can choose from before you design. They automatically provide designs that use the SRGB color mode, so this might be quite a hassle if you want to print the design. For those of you who design your logo on the Canva platform, you can use the converter mentioned earlier.
However, you also have to be prepared for the risk that the design you produce will have a different color when converted to another color mode. Just like when printing, the system will automatically identify the colors detected by the system from each color mode. So, when you convert a design from SRGB, which has a wider color spectrum, it will look different when you convert it to CMYK, which has a much more limited color spectrum.
Understanding the differences between color modes (SRGB and CMYK) is one of the essentials that must be mastered by a designer so that the design process can run efficiently and the resulting product is as expected. Especially when it comes to your logo design, which is one of the most important elements in branding a business or brand, whether you're creating a design for your own business or a client's business, you should make sure you use the right color mode for their needs.