READ: A Guide to Color Formats

1 Intro

Why does the color of your nonprofit's logo never look the same on the Web as it does in print? Is there a difference between CMYK and RGB? What does your printer mean when she talks about two-color versus four-color printing? And why on earth is your designer discussing "PMS" with you?

For something you learned about in kindergarten, color can seem like an awfully complex subject when it comes to print and Web design. Rather than a simple aesthetic decision, choosing the best color for a print or Web project often means matching the right color format to the right graphics software, and even (in the case of print design) to the right paper and printer.

Yet even if your nonprofit outsources all of its Web and print design projects, understanding your color options can help you better communicate with your designer and printer and save you time and money. More importantly, having a good grasp of color formats can help ensure that your Web site and printed materials — and by extension, your organization — look professional and polished.

This lesson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License based on work at