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I’ve started at a new company doing 3D architectural visualization. Having a degree and background in graphic design, I’m now working with the marketing department to update and rebrand the company’s current logo, which is...not great.

As we’ve been going through the motions selecting a logo, I’ve been using a specific, consistent set of colors:

  • Gray: RGB 75 75 75
  • Red: RGB 200 0 0

We’ve selected the final logo, and as I’ve been exporting the various “master” file types, it got me thinking about RGB vs CMYK vs Pantone. I started a search to get the closest matching Pantone colors, and finally arrived at two close equivalents (2336 C and 2035 C).

So my question is:

Should I go back and change the color values of my logos to match the Pantone equivalents, i.e., Pantone’s RGB values for raster files, and Pantone’s CMYK values for my vector files?

Or should I just stick with my original RGB values, and Photoshop’s equivalent CMYK values, and just list the Pantone equivalents in the branding guide?

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If you do decide to use Pantone colors then you need to supply logo files using those Pantone colors. But you also need to supply logo files in your chosen RGB and CMYK process colors (and probably a black version too).

For an example of the different files you should be creating see Scott's answer to:
Logo Pack - What should I include?

Clearly state the color breakdowns in RGB and CMYK, and the Pantone colors in the brand/style guide and when each should be used (generally speaking that should be RGB for screens, and Pantone or CMYK for print; Pantone being preferred). But you need to include the corresponding artwork already using those colors. Do not rely on other's conversions or expect others to manually change colors to those you list somewhere else (e.g. in guidelines).

...something else to note too; you don't need to (maybe shouldn't) rely on Photoshop's or any other conversion of colors, they often aren't the "best" option. Do some tests and decide on your own color breakdowns (RGB, CMYK and Pantone) independently.

  • First off, great answers, and thanks for the list. I had all but a .tiff file already, so I'm glad to know I was on the right track there! I think you answered my question to the extent that I need, I appreciate it! – mlaw3d Mar 14 '18 at 16:25
  • @mlaw3d No problem at all. That list is just an example, I was mainly using it to illustrate that you need to include files for the different color models; (I don't include TIFF either, or EPS anymore). – Cai Mar 14 '18 at 16:32
  • Okay, @Cai, now I'm getting into my own head... Should I change my RGB / CMYK logo values to fit the Pantone, or leave them be, and just a Pantone specific file in addition to my originally chosen values? – mlaw3d Mar 14 '18 at 16:33
  • @mlaw3d there's no correct answer to changing values; you can change them, or you can rely on automatic conversions, it's completely up to you (and what works/looks best). You should absolutely have additional/separate files for Pantone, RGB & CMYK though (hence the list I linked to) – Cai Mar 14 '18 at 16:47
  • That you for the clarification @Cai! You've been a great help! – mlaw3d Mar 14 '18 at 16:56
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Send out your logos in RGB, for web use.

Send CMYK versions for print.

Send Pantone versions for commercial printing.

Or just send links and keep the different version options on a server.

  • 1
    Relying on others to manually change the colors based on something listed in some guidelines somewhere isn't a good idea. – Cai Mar 14 '18 at 15:53
  • You're right, adjusting answer, ty. – Webster Mar 14 '18 at 16:12
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If those pantone values are in fact what you want, then yes, change your original art; if you prefer your spot colours, keep them: don't have both.

Edit for clarity:

What you should not do is keep both if they are not actually the same: providing conflicting colour information will both guarantee you being not happy with results and driving additional unnecessary workload for your PSPs and designers.

I think there's definite value in having definitions of your chosen colours in CMYK, RGB, PAL, HSB and so on, assuming you've corrected the original colours to match the Pantones you've chosen.

  • 1
    Actually you should keep them both because of compatibility; see other answers. – Luciano Mar 14 '18 at 16:45

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