Spot Colors

Previously, I brought up CMYK and RGB coloring and their differences. CMYK uses subtractive color mixing to add color to printed graphics and images. RGB, on the other hand, uses additive color mixing to overlap colors on digital screens. But this topics dwells on printing in color and there’s one more method that we’re missing: spot colors. Although it’s not as commonly used compared to CMYK, it’s amazing technique should be acknowledged.

What are Spot Colors?

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As stated before, CMYK is a color combining method which overlaps each layer of the four base colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) over each other to create the desired colors. With this, an image deceives the eye with four colors. However, spot colors are different because the desired colors are pre-mixed into a solid color. For instance, to get purple, instead of overlapping hues of cyan and magenta, you can use a specific recipe that mixes cyan and magenta to achieve the color wanted. This gives spot colors an advancement in color quality. But just like CMYK printing, it comes with conditions and limitations.

What You Can and Can’t Do

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It’s true that spot colors has conditions, one being money-the main issue that can get very expensive quickly- which is why spot color is used for certain graphics. Unlike for CMYK, where you can print out fully color images, spot colors are mainly used for printing logos. It’s best to print graphics that use four colors or less for smooth, simple coloring. And since spot color matches the perfect hue of your decision, it’s also better for more vibrant or metallic colors. This makes spot color perfect for basic logos consisting of one or two colors. Spot colors are also perfect for small font and fine lines that can’t be easily copied with the halftone dots of CMYK.

Does such high color quality and expensive terms make spot color better than CMYK printing? The answer of course is no. (which I’m sure you knew…right?) Both CMYK and spot color have their strengths and weaknesses but they both amazing ways to put your digital art to print. So if you ever think about using spot color, give it a try! For more information on spot color and its differences from CMYK, check out this amazing website I used. Enjoy!

CMYK & RGB: What’s the Difference?

Here we are again with another round of ‘What’s the Difference?’ in the world of digital design! In this blog we’ll cover the two types of color modes and their comparisons. To many digital designers, these terms are well-known but not as much spoken about. For all we know at the moment, CMYK and RGB deal with colors and how these colors are seen in certain situations. But what about them? Why are they so important in designing graphics? And what are they specialized for? With these questions set in stone, we’ll begin with the research on these two important color modes.


Photo by Dario Seretin on Unsplash

For starters, the color mode CMYK is an a abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and BlacK. These are the colors used to print graphics and images. The ink is used via subtractive mixing to turn a blank white page into a page with various particular colors. As stated before, the CMYK color mode is used for graphics and images that will be physically printed, so this color mode is best used with business cards, flyers, t-shirts, restaurant menus, etc. When preparing a digital graphic for printing, most file formats are compatible for CMYK, but some files are most suited for printing than others. The most compatible file formats for CMYK are PDFs, AI (Adobe Illustrator, if you have access to it), and EPS (a good file format for vector programs besides Illustrator).


Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

Next up is RGB, an abbreviation for the colors Red, Green, and Blue. These three colors are used via additive mixing to turn a black screen into a screen full of colors varying in intensity. Such freedom with the colors can allow the designer to adjust how shaded, vibrant, and saturated the colors are projected. When I say ‘screen’ I’m referring to digital screens such as: computers, smartphones, televisions, etc. The RGB color modes allows graphics to be seen on such screens like icons, online ads, images, videos, and more. Just like CMYK, RGB has file formats that they can work best with. These formats are JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs, and PSD (for Adobe Photoshop).

With this new found information, I believe he have a lot to thank these color modes for (or at least the engineers who created them). These modes are not only responsible for the many physical things we see around, but for the seemingly endless digital graphics we encounter each day. Hopefully this post clears up the confusion for these commonly used terms, and helps you determine when and how to use CMYK and RGB. If you were unsatisfied with the brief explanation, feel free to use the website I used as research for the color modes. Enjoy!

What’s the Difference: Raster vs. Vector

As we continue to expand our knowledge on graphics and design, more questions arrive (to my mind at least). An example of such asked by beginners and amateurs is, “what is a vector and raster and what’s the difference?”, which is fine to question. That’s because for the most part, they basically do the same thing, right? Well not entirely. There’s small differences in composition and uses that a designer should know. These types of edits and images are very important to learn, and it’s a pretty complicated concept to understand. Nevertheless, we’re going down the rabbit hole to get a better understanding of vectors and rasters!


Photo by Rober González on Unsplash

Vectors are mathematical formulas which explains how paths of a graphic are shaped, colored, and outlined. Vectors allow images to keep their appearance identical to the original image no matter what the image size. This allows them to scale images and graphics to any chosen song. It’s best to use vectors for simple designs with simple colors like logos, illustrations, engravings, signage, etc. This feature can be used in Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. With these restrictions, most graphics depend on rasters. Despite its limitations on what it can be used for, vectoring is a great tool to learn and take advantage of.


Photo by Will Porada on Unsplash

On the other hand there’s raster, working with every single pixel of color in a graphic to generate an image, showing precise detailing. Raster can be used for complex graphics like images, digital painting, GIFs, etc. This feature can also be used in Adobe programs along with other design programs. However, scaling a graphic depends on the quality of the image. A rastered image can’t be easily scaled up as they can be scaled down. This messed with the size of the pixels, making the image blurry. Don’t let this stop you from using rasters for graphic editing, because it’s also an amazing asset.

Although it’s not common to find in conversations (in any topic for that matter), vectors and rasters are pretty important in creating amazing, quality graphics and images. Most if not all images or graphics had some sort of involvement with these tools. Hopefully this basic information allows you use these amazing tools when dealing with graphics and images. For more information on vectors and rasters, click the link for this amazing website I found. Enjoy!

Charging for Graphic Design Jobs

When have occupations around media/ communications and design, there’s more ways to work in those fields. The blog will focus on freelance graphic design, to which graphic designer has complete control over what and who they work with. So with such freedom, one must ask: “How much should I charge for graphic design jobs?” There’s many factors to consider for a clear answer, and those will be discussed today.

Employment vs. Freelance

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The more common form of working is being employed into a company, where it’s your “permanent” occupation and you’re being supervised by manager and bosses. As an employee, you can receive benefits like free health insurance and retirement plans while not having to pay employee taxes. As a freelancer, you’re more liberated and flexible. Typical freelancers search for jobs and make temporary negotiations and contracts with multiple employers. Because they are their own manager, they must be on top of themselves to keep the flow of income coming. Freelancing doesn’t include any benefits or paid vacation, but you control your work days. The most important difference is the flow of income because an employee gets paid on a salary or hourly basic. A freelancer, however, gets paid by task,which varies by the person that hires you. This is why as a freelancer you must question how much you’ll charge for your work.

Working with your Client

Pay Knowing your Worth

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As a freelancer, you’re able to make negotiations with your client on how you’d like to be paid: by project/quote or hourly. Hourly pays (which is more preferred by most), tends to be around $25-$150 per hour. Being payed by quote simply means giving an estimated price based on what you’re asked to do. If the client asks to pay by quote, you can make an estimate how long it would take to complete the project and give them a full payment. As a freelancer, since you’re working directly with the client, having a set hourly pay rate can be altered based off the client’s will too. Admittedly, some clients may not be able to afford your preferred pay rate, so you can fluctuate it until you reach an agreement. Because a freelancing income changes constantly, It’s important to know your skill to you don’t over or under-price your work! Have pride and know your worth (unless you’re not that skilled then just take it easy)!

Equally, working as an employee and working as a freelancer comes with advantages and disadvantages. There’s many things that a freelancer can do while being spontaneously limited. As you go on with freelancing, you’ll get better at negotiating and pricing your work. I hope this further clarifies is, but if not then here’s the sources I used for info on freelancing and charging for your work. Good luck!