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From the Design Desk: Purple Pants & Fuscia Shoes - Color Stories

A friend of mine told a story about his brother-in-law, who was partially colorblind.  He was a really tall, thin guy, and had trouble finding pants that fit properly, so when he found the perfect pair of black slacks, he wore them all the time.  About a year later, his father-in-law took him aside and said, "Look, son, I just have to ask you - what is the deal with those purple pants?"  Turns out the pants that he had thought were black were actually a deep purple - his eyes didn't register the color and he'd been wearing these purple pants all year thinking they were black! Color plays funny tricks on us sometimes.  Have you ever walked out of the house in one black sock and one navy?  Even if you're not remotely colorblind, you can be fooled by subtle changes in color.  Color is affected by light, and reacts to different types of light differently - so those awesome shoes you thought were a really pretty fuchsia and would match three different outfits you have turned out to be a sort of weird magenta and don't actually go with anything you own at all. (They were really cute shoes too!) Color consistency is tough - in fashion you can get away with mixing different shades but when it comes to marketing, most people don't want a whole spectrum of blues between a single print of business cards.  Between paper types, equipment, finishes and production method, there are a lot of variables that can affect the color and quality of a finished product.  That's why we use resources like the Pantone Matching System (PMS) - which gives us ink mixes and color codes for a consistent color story whether we're printing digitally or offset, or viewing images on the web. PMS color swatches are available in a multitude of programs - and are built in to all major design programs.  Visit Pantone's website and pickup a set of Color Bridge swatchbooks, which have the color comparisons for offset vs digital printing, as well as giving the RGB and hex values.  An extremely valuable tool - whether you're trying to match your print materials or just find the perfect pair of shoes to match them!

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