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The Key to Color

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Monday we touched upon a little bit about the four color process known as CMYK.  Today we’re going to learn a bit more about what exactly that all means.

CMYK are the letters of the four inks that compose color printing.  C stands for cyan.  M stands for Magenta.  Y stands for yellow.  K stands for key.

Wait what?  Looking at the four colors you would immediately think- K is black.  And it is.  However some theorists believe the letter “k” was chosen to better represent this as the letter “b” already means blue.

Wikipedia would go further into the mystery of key:

“The "K" in CMYK stands for key because in four-color printing, cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed, or aligned, with the key of the black key plate.

The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Such a model is called subtractive because inks "'subtract' brightness from white.”

Here is one of the four colors applied in an interior design. Can you guess which one it is?

The opposite of the CMYK model is known as RGB.  RGB is the practice of the exact opposite process- instead using white to better add color rather than subtract color.

Other processes exist and expand on the concept of CMYK such as Pantone’s six color process and Hexachrome. Each work on their own ways to explain color as a complex model.

Each year, in a special presentation, Pantone will announce its “Color of the Year” award.  In 2013, the color announced was entitled Emerald.  The color popped up all over the web applied in designs including computer User Experience, fashion, and interiors.

image via via Pantone’s website

As you can see, both sets of color choices offer the user gorgeous opportunities to change the key to whatever color model best suits their lives.  Which scale will you choose?  Perhaps we can help make the mark you desire with one of our Preval products or Preval Sprayers or maybe even the Preval vFan Airbrush System.

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