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Color Matching: Why Is It Important?

UNICEF LogoConsistency is one of the most important aspects of branding. It’s how people recognize your brand. If your company’s logo is inconsistent, it can throw consumers off and confuse them. The color used in a logo can also be very important. For example, take UNICEF’s iconic blue logo, which is referred to as UNICEF Blue in its brand book. No matter where you see it, it’s always recognizable and evokes a certain feeling.

In order to ensure this consistency, some companies issue strict corporate branding guidelines that dictate such things as the proper color to be used in the logo or the correct spacing for letters in the logo. They can also provide instructions how to use the branding for promotional items. This can be very helpful when it comes time to make decisions about what promotional products the company wants to select and how it wants the branding to appear on them.

Some companies use the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to make sure they get the right color every time. So if UNICEF were a new customer of ours and they were to place an order for promotional t-shirts printed with their logo, for example, we would ask them for the PMS code of their logo, along with a file for their vector format. Or, they might supply us with a brand kit or set a brand guide that provides details on proper use of the brand elements including their logo, colors, and other brand elements. This would allow us to get a full sense of how to match their colors on promotional products. This type of preparation helps ensure that we are using the correct color.

Pantone ColorsAlthough PMS color codes themselves are exact, there’s a wrinkle—the product on which the color is printed may affect the way it appears. The color may also look different depending on whether you’re looking at it outside in daylight as opposed to indoors under fluorescent or incandescent lighting. Many printers know that they must make an adjustment to control for this factor, but some do not. This is where we can help.

If you need your promotional items printed with a specific shade of blue, for example, it we’ll ask you for a specific Pantone® code. But if you don’t know it, we’re here to help. In some cases where our clients consider color very important and require an exact match, it may be best to order a pre-production physical sample for review prior to placing a full order. While a printed sample adds a little time to the process, it’s a great help if exact matching is a priority.

There are two types of these printed samples available. One is a pre-production sample, or pre-pro. We recommend this if you know you are definitely ordering 5,000 t-shirts, to give an example, and want to see how they look before going to final press. There’s usually a small cost to create this sample. The second type is a spec proof. This type of proof is ideal if you really like the idea of a certain product but, before making the commitment to order 5,000 of them, you want to see if your logo looks good on it. In that case, you would just order one spec. If you like it, you can go ahead and put in the order, if not, you don’t have to and only pay for the spec sample.

We’re here to help you get the color that’s best for you, whether it’s color matching or finding the right product color. If you have a designer on staff and already know the exact color you want, great. If you are brand new to the process, that’s fine too. We’ll work with you to find out exactly what you need to know. With deep experience and careful attention to detail, we can help you find the right solution.

Looking for custom branded promotional products that can make a difference for your brand? We’d be happy to share some recommendations and creative ideas with you. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise you on branding ideas that can represent your company with style and grace.