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RGB, CMYK & Pantone, What’s the Difference? – IDENT Oil & Gas Signage


IDENT Feature


Colour is one of the most important aspects of printing, it can attract, influence and increase retention, making your marketing team happy! Colour is everywhere, and you have probably noticed that sometimes a colour looks different on screen vs. when it gets printed.

Why are there so many different colour modes?

A colour mode is a way to define colour, using different approaches to define colour. The different colour modes tell the computer, monitor, or printer which colours to print/display.  The 3 colour modes you need to know are RGB, CMYK and PANTONE.


RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue.
All of the colours created are a combination of red, green, and blue light. RGB colour “mode” is used for anything that is light based or lit, such as televisions, cameras, computer monitors and even iPhones.

rgbcmyk1 ident


CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and “Key” colour (black).
All of the colours created are a combination of those 4 colours. The colours are similar to what you remember  in elementary school, Yellow and Cyan make Green; Magenta and Yellow create Red. CMYK is used for anything printed, business cards, posters, signs. It was used in traditional screen printing, and  is now used in digital printing too!

cmyk ident


PMS stands for “Pantone Matching System.”
Pantone is a universal colour matching system used to create colour consistency across a variety of platforms,  materials, and uses. The Pantone Corporation created over 1100 numbered colours, that can all be found in a physical swatch book. Pantone colours standardize colours, meaning, manufacturers and customers can all refer to the Pantone book to make sure colours match. Pantone colours are used for maintaining a consistent colour whether you’re viewing it on TV or in print, usually a logo or packaging.

pantonecolour_1 IDENT

What does IDENT use?

IDENT uses Pantone and we have a software that interprets CMYK colour codes to match its associated Pantone colour.
Why does IDENT ask for Pantones?

Pantone colours give us a consistent reference point, which allows us to keep the colour you need, regardless of the project or how many times we print it. Each Pantone colour can be referenced in a swatch book that contains specific numbers for each colour, along with a CMYK colour chart that best represents that colour.  Without the Pantone reference, your logo colour will come out different across various printing equipment.

Trust us, it’s no fun redoing 300 signs because we didn’t get the colours right!

Will I even notice the difference?

You bet! Although not always drastic, changes can usually be seen between RGB, CMYK & Pantone colours. You may see  RGB colours on-screen, but CMYK will be the printed colour version. Each Pantone in the swatch book includes  CMYK, RGB, and HTML values to reproduce that colour as accurately as possible in print and on-screen applications.

Colours-Blog-Post-01 IDENT

Don’t have a Pantone? No worries – give us a call and we can let you know how closely we can match your project!

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