DEC color standards was: Re: Banner Panels

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Mon Jan 2 14:09:11 CST 2017

> On Jan 2, 2017, at 2:57 PM, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:
>> Then again, there are plenty of Pantone colors that have no RGB equivalent...
> For printing banner panels, would CMYK be a better fit than sRGB?
> Are there no records of what DEC specified to their sub-contractors?

Basic printing is done with CMYK.  But there are complications: it matters what the paper (or other substrate) is that you're printing on.  For example, CMYK printed on newsprint has a smaller gamut than CMYK printed on coated paper (as used in magazines).

Printing of labels and the like often is done with "spot colors" -- either instead of, or in addition to, the 4 basic "process colors" of CMYK.  If you look at product packaging cartons, you'll often see color marks on a hidden spot, say the bottom flaps of the box, and often more than four colors are shown.  The excess would be spot colors.  For example, a package of chocolate ice cream I just opened has a chocolate brown spot color on it to make that part of the image really stand out.

Some high end ink jet printers (Epson comes to mind) have more than 4 colors for a wider gamut and more accurate color rendering.  They may also have gray inks for increased grayscale range.

Company logos are often Pantone colors, and may be printed in spot color on business cards and the like for better appearance.  Or they may be out of CMYK gamut and need spot color for that reason.

Even more esoteric is when a company has a custom color made up, not found in the Pantone book.  The company I work now did that a few years ago for their logo.

In all these cases, CMYK and RGB approximations can be had, but those may not be all that close.


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