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Super COLORS

Brand colors have been a very popular topic for many years - well basically it seems everybody is talking about them - from one perspective or the other.

Graphic designers are primarily focused on how different colors affect people, - what emotions certain colors trigger and how those colors can be used as a part of the visual brand identity of a company. There is quite some chatter about brand consistency but very little about brand color consistency. 

Manufacturers of both hardware and software in the graphic industry have at the same time been really focused on brand colors used in the so called packaging industry, - looking for better ways to standardize and control colors of morning cereal boxes for instance. 

Some well known color matching systems used by designers in all categories are PANTONE (for graphic design, textile and plastics), RAL (for paints, coatings and plastics), NCS (for paints and coatings) and Coloro (for textile). 

What these color systems have in common is that their original colors are made to be mixed individually using proprietary inks or dyes. 

If a designer picks a color from any of these systems for his design, he or she is typically selecting a color or a handful of colors for a certain material, - could be for printing on coated paper, a color for a piece of clothing, a plastic toy or piece of furniture for instance. 

The colors of these color systems are specific to the respective systems, although it may in many cases be possible to cross-reference some colors between them, sometimes perhaps with a little bit of tweaking.

They are however by no means made for the mass media of the 21st century, - 4 color (CMYK) print advertisements, social media and Television for instance nor VR/AR or XR and thus when colors from those systems are converted to CMYK for printing or even sRGB for web viewing, the resulting color is often not even close to the original color or colors, due to the technical reason that the original color simply does not fit within the color gamut of CMYK or even sRGB in some cases. 

There is one color matching system though that consists of colors which might be referred to as Super colors, - since those colors are made to be reproduced correctly in the mass media - 4 color printing for coated paper and uncoated paper, for the web (social media, stills and video included for any display including smartphones) and Television AND can be matched by PANTONE, RAL and NCS - either by simply cross matching directly one of the standard colors of each system, or in some cases with some tweaking.  

This is possible due to the simple fact that the color gamut of the system in question exists within the color gamuts of all the other systems - at the same time - so all of its colors can be reproduced using the proprietary inks/dyes of the other 3 systems. 

This system was presented little over a year ago and is called the Spot Matching System (SMS), consisting of 470 natural looking standard colors and option for thousands of custom color variations in addition.


The Spot Matching System was in fact first of all made for so-called Brand Color Management.

A special new approach that we call the SMS Visual Brand Identity Approach is applied and what it does is that the designer starts by selecting his or her SMS Colors and then and only then moves onto pick colors from other color matching system as required to finalize the brand standard, while always using the SMS colors as the master colors to maximize color consistency through different reproduction procedures and methods.

A nice bonus for SMS users is that all SMS colors are ISO certified and SMS color tickets are delivered on ISO certified contract proofs to customers.  A contract proof means in fact that it's colors cannot be disputed and must be matched visually by the printshop that agreed to print the job according to a pre-approved printing standard (typically either Fogra or Gracol) which the SMS CMYK color variations are custom made for in each case on a job-to-job basis. 

The latest upgrade to the Spot Matching System is what we refer to as SMS Blocks, which is where a designer can create a block of, say 3 or 4 colors that is used for a logo for instance, instead of working with each individual color on it's own. This is both safer and it is cheaper, so it's all good.

The Block version of the SMS Visual Brand Identity Approach looks like this. In this scenario the designer had a color from another color matching system already picked out (which is quite common) but has decided to make the switch to SMS to ensure maximum color consistency in different media:


Designers in other categories than graphic design might of course also like the idea of cross media color consistency - so that their color(s) could look visually correct in any media for starters and can then be cross referenced to any of the other color matching systems whether the colors are required for a paint, coating or a piece of clothing for instance.

The advantage of settling for the slightly smaller color gamut of the Spot Matching System in industrial design is that interior, product and fashion designers for instance can for the first time preview and even promote their creations in their correct colors in any media - in standard CMYK printing, - for instance magazines printed on either coated or uncoated paper, online for color correct viewing even on smartphones and on Television and for VR/AR or XR projects - even before the product makes it to the manufacturing line.  

Being able to preview a product, a piece of furniture or clothing on screen in it's actual colors and even get feedback from the focus group before the product has been manufactured is obviously an advantage in many cases and once the product has been manufactured, it can be sold online - again in it's correct (actual) colors.

In fact the primary reason why products that are bought online are returned by buyers happens to be exactly that the color of the product was too far from the color on the screen of the buyer.

Please refer to www.spotmatchingsystem.com/services to view the range of SMS products and services along with the option of subscribing to SMS. 

Optionally feel free to contact sms@spot-nordic.com. 


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