Color Change in HEX: Back to School

Decided to update a few more pages to finish getting the WordPress set up before I head to SIGGRAPH next week. In the spirit of the new semester the site accent color is now ASU Maroon (#8C1D40)!

Color is such a fascinating topic to me. Not only because it plays such a crucial role in art and design, but because of how carefully artists (especially digital) have to work with it. I think there is a huge misconception that artists can make one design and have it be used in various places very easy (ie: web, digital signage, print, a giant wall mural). However, I think it’s far better to design to the specifications of the end output. This is true for a lot of other elements, but color especially. For example, digital displays can use RGB or HEX because the former is a light-based (Subtractive vs. Additive), but HEX should be used for online applications.

One of my favorite resources for color is, obviously, the brand guide. Whenever artists are first starting out I think it’s a great idea to check with the company to see if they have a brand guide and / or marketing strategy. This can be obvious if you were trained in graphic design or if you’re working at an agency or within an internal marketing team who can coach you. But at smaller companies, self-owned businesses, or if you’re self taught, it’s not a bad idea to start a conversation and create those guides so you have consistent colors (and other things, like spacing and typography). When I started freelancing, as an animation program graduate who had some six or seven years of web-design hobbyist experience but no formal graphic design or web training this was an eye-opener for me. Companies asking me to build their website also wanted a logo design and collateral materials like business cards, letterhead, and envelopes. Luckily, I did test printing early-on and had several, dozen, conversations with an extremely helpful, and patient, Kinko’s employee.

But I digress; the brand guide should contain not only the HEX and RGB values, but the physical, printer friendly color designations: PMS (hehe, no, not that PMS – the Pantone Color System) –or– CMYK. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me, wondering why the heck the beautiful dark green on the website version of your logo looks nearly black when it’s printed.

#LessonsLearned #ColorRocks #HEX

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