Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Keeping Colors Consistent: Online vs. Printing

3 min read

Let’s face it, we have all been there. You see something online and want to print it out all just to get a shock as it looks nothing like what you have on your computer. This can become a frustration between dealerships and their automotive digital marketing agency if not corrected. However, it’s a very simple solution to ensure that all of the work from the agency looks great through both print and web!

Creating a File

It all begins with the creation of the file, if the file is not started correctly for the right application it can cause problems in the future. Why not start from the beginning to make sure everything is in line? Yes, things can be changed later but most often it gets forgotten until it gets printed and you see a jarring difference. If the settings are changed, this can result in colors being too dull or to dark which may make things harder to differentiate or text to be legible.

When the design department creates a file, they need to determine if it’s for print or web. Once that is determined the color settings should reflect this destination of the design. Print has to be in CMYK while anything for online remains in RGB. These color profiles keep colors to remain true to the eye no matter the application you are viewing the design!

Color settings

What exactly is CMYK and RGB you ask? RGB refers simply to red, green, and blue which are primary colors. These colors are primarily used for anything digital, web-based, TV and scanners. Any of these applications uses a red, green and blue light to display colors. When all three colors are combined, they make the color white! Mind blown!

When dealing with printing applications in place of the RGB light on a screen, ink is used. Sounds like a “duh” moment I know. However, because the printer uses ink it is able to print a larger range of colors therefore needing a different color setting. Printing needs to use the color setting CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Similar to online, when the cyan, magenta and yellow ink combine it creates black!

However, not everything can always be universal in both print and web applications. On screens you can view bright almost neon colors, whereas you will never be able to produce those as vivid on a piece of paper. The CMYK process just doesn’t have inks within that range to produce such vivid colors because it lacks the light that a screen produces to enhance the brightness. Picking colors is the easy task when creating a design, the technological side is where all the magic happens and is a critical component of the design process.

Final Product

You can have everything situated in the file with colors settings to match the application, however sometimes it comes down to what printer and paper you as using. If color settings are correct and sent out to a commercial printer versus a home printer the colors may look better through the commercial printing process because the machines are equipped to do large scale printing. They also have technicians who regularly take care of the machines, make sure there are no clogs to produce the cleanest quality of prints.

Another thing to consider about printing is the type of paper that is used can make a difference on how the colors appear. Matte finished based papers or banners will show “duller” as there is no sheen on top to make it reflect light. Without the reflective qualities, colors can blend together, therefore more small details in a dark image or a super bright-white image can get blown out or lost within the background. Whereas a poster board that is that has a photo gloss finish will create vivid appearance because it can hold a wider range of colors without the colors muddling together.

Keeping colors consistent doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Think about your application, set up the files for success, and think of the end product. Clearly web-based designs have more of an easy route as it’s what you see on your screen is what you get. While with printing it’s all the sight unseen of color profiles, printers, and paper quality that makes the difference! If you’re noticing there seems to be something lost in the translation of printing materials for your dealership, it’s best to talk to you automotive marketing company.

D2D has managed everything from websites, digital marketing, and conventional media. If you need assistance making sure your designs stand out against the crowd, contact us today. Our in-house design team are automotive specialists ready to help your dealership!