mission is to help client partners ethically
win market leadership and stakeholder respect by uniquely achieving a
harmony of strategic and creative resources. Objective,
experienced and audience-centered, the resulting public relations,
advertising and marketing programs will earn trust, respect and
provides strategic corporate communications with an emphasis on brand
consistency across media. COCO+CO.’s Connections Process helps you to
realize your goals with a carefully integrated two-phase program:
Strategic Preparation and Creative Execution.
189 Ward Hill Avenue Ward Hill, MA 01835
A simulation of how Harrison wanted his
hunting jacket photograph to appear in his annual report, left,
compared to what actually was printed, right.
How one man turned red after seeing pink
Everything you must know about color marketing
By Tim Coco
and chief executive officer
modern, state-of-the-art headquarters in the Ward Hill Business Park.
success-oriented businesses choose COCO+CO.
Organizations looking for expert marketing assistance turn to COCO+CO.,
a full-service advertising agency with a depth of experience spanning
more than 21 years. These companies seek—and receive— expertise,
commitment and reliability.
Bricks & mortar,
literally, ensure reliability & quality
COCO+CO. operates from dedicated, modern and fully equipped facilities
located in an easily accessible office park. Experienced and talented
staff quickly deliver blue-chip materials using industry standard,
high-end and state-of-the-art hardware and software.
In-house creative &
strategic delivery; no outsourcing
Clients long ago realized that, while it seems less costly to turn to
contractors or home-based businesses, there is too much risk. They know
deep levels of vendor outsourcing sacrifices quality, accountability
and timeliness. They require the peace of mind associated with
appropriately insured vendors, data security, regulatory compliance and
proper licensing of intellectual property.
COCO+CO. not only meets these necessarily stringent requirements, but
also uniquely offers the defined and proprietary Connections Process; a
mix of creative and strategic disciplines under one roof; important
contacts; and a zealously ethical reputation backed by a binding
Resolution of Principles.
“Harrison” inspired this article
about color. He now knows the difference between an amateur and a
professional—and it is a shocking pink hunting jacket. Harrison, a
prominent CEO, insisted others should learn from his mistakes, but on
the condition his real name not be used.
Harrison came to COCO+CO. for help after he followed budget-cutting
advice and brought advertising duties in-house. He said he was misled
to believe a PC, software and color laser printer would make the
endeavor feasible and cost-effective.
Somehow, his prized annual report, done in-house, came out dreadfully
wrong. A photo of Harrison in his expensive red hunting jacket came out
shocking pink. For some this wouldn’t be the end of the world, but you
have to know Harrison. He is as conservative as they come—in attire,
personality and politics—and “damn proud of it,” he says. He said the
photo of him apparently wearing a pink coat didn’t reflect that proper
and color models—CMYK, RGB and PMS
A computer is a tool used by graphic and Web designers just as a hammer
is a tool used by house builders. Almost everyone knows the basics of
how to use a hammer, but few amateurs successfully build whole houses.
Similarly, successful graphic and Web designers possess knowledge,
experience and skill not found in most amateurs.
Full-color printing presses (and most professional color laser
printers, for that matter) use the CMYK color model. That is, the full
range of color is derived from using four inks—cyan, magenta, yellow
and black (CMYK). To the contrary, every computer monitor uses the RGB
color model. This dates back to the invention of color television when
all colors were derived from a mixture of red, green and blue (RGB)
light. Software programs such as Microsoft Word and Publisher
use the RGB format. Moreover, images from your digital camera are RGB
formatted. CMYK and RGB are not inherently compatible. This was the
first of Harrison’s many problems producing his company’s annual report
There is also something called “spot color” for individual colors, and
the most popular color model in this category is PMS—for Pantone
Matching System. For every PMS color, there is also a CMYK equivalent.
RGB equivalents used by Web designers are available, but less reliable.
For all that has been revolutionized by desktop publishing, color
printing presses have changed very little in essence. These still use
CMYK and job printers expect to have up to four “plates”—one for each
CMYK color—on their printing presses. They also expect any design
software (which never
includes Microsoft products) to produce four corresponding color
“separations”—one for each plate. Without a complicated conversion
process, Microsoft and many other products will produce three
separations that don’t correspond with the four plates used on a
full-color printing press or even a full-color laser printer.
Luckily, for quick office prints, laser printers usually come with
software “drivers” that make RGB to CMYK conversions on the fly. Very
rarely will these colors exactly match, but they are good enough for
non-critical jobs. Documents outputted by this process, including many exported in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, still can’t be
used by job printers who utilize professional imagesetters with highly
calibrated raster image processing (RIP).
monitors and calibration
Experienced and skilled graphic and Web designers have to be able to
trust the colors they see on their computer monitors. This first
involves using superior hardware. More importantly, though, the monitor
must be properly calibrated.
Calibration involves using a software/hardware combination such as
GretagMacbeth Spectrolino ProfileMaker Pro that can cost as much as
$6,000. As Harrison suspected, there is more to professional design
than a run-of-the-mill office computer set-up. It is never wise to make
a color choice based on what you see coming from an uncalibrated
computer monitor or, worse, a color office printer. This was Harrison’s
second mistake. If you can’t trust what you see on your uncalibrated
computer model—believe me, you can’t—then ask for professional proofs
and/or PMS printed ink samples from your printer or designer.
By the way, high-end Macintosh computers—while more expensive than
Windows PCs—remain a staple of design professionals. This is because
Macs are capable of producing more accurate colors than Windows PCs
found in most corporate environments. Harrison bought a budget PC.
changes, but not humans’ color perceptions
All printed images are actually made up of small dots known as halftone
screens. The smaller and closer the dot, the better the image quality.
This is why a typically newspaper image at 85 lines-per-inch (LPI or
line screen) isn’t as detailed or sharp as a luxury catalog or brochure
image printed at up to 500 LPI.
Again, this component of the printing process hasn’t changed much with
the revolution in computing and technology. It has much to do with how
the eyes and brain interpret colors and images and, until Human 2.0
comes out, won’t change much.
In order to take advantage of high quality—or high line
screen—printing, images must be available at high ratios of
dots-per-inch (DPI). The rule of thumb is the numbers of dots-per-inch
should be as much as twice the numbers of lines-per-inch. That is, the
image you select for a superior quality annual report, for example,
should be at least 600 DPI at actual
size for a printer utilizing 300 LPI quality. For years, this
concept has been dumbed down to simply asking for 300 DPI images that
are much better than a newspaper actually requires, but somewhat lower
quality than a glossy brochure is capable of reproducing.
Compare the print DPI requirement to what actually appears on a
computer monitor that is only 72 DPI. While images on a website look
clear on the screen, they are of too low a DPI resolution to appear in
a printed product—at least at actual size. Such images are said to be
“pixelated” when appearing in print. There is a partial work-around.
The resolution of an image increases proportionally as the image is
shrunken. If your digital camera takes an image of 17 inches wide by 25
inches tall at 72 DPI, this image can be reduced to 4 by 6 inches and
be rendered at 300 DPI for a glossy brochure. If, however, the part of
the photograph you actually would like to use is 4 by 6 at 72 DPI
coming out of the camera, the largest size that can be used in print is
only about an inch wide by an inch and a half tall. This
misunderstanding was another of Harrison’s mistakes.
Another point to be illustrated here is that all print shops are not
equal. If you were to solicit bids from a 500 LPI-capable printer and a
150 LPI-capable printer, you would not be making a very good quality
comparison. Further, chances are lower bids will offer inferior
quality. Sorry Harrison, add that to your list of errors.
Let’s look at a website example. It is possible to use a 300 DPI image
on a website, but it will appear either unusually large or, if scaled
to a smaller size, will take an inordinate amount of time to download
to a user’s Web browser. Since the monitor is incapable of higher
resolutions, the viewer won’t see a noticeable difference in quality,
but will have to wait longer to see any image at all.
literate and savvy is your computer?
Besides all of these technical considerations, those intending to
design in-house must realize the computer is only a tool. It is the
human in front of it that must know how to write marketing-savvy copy,
spell and use grammar correctly and know the difference between inch
and foot marks and apostrophes and quotation marks.
The fonts you use also must either be available to
your outside printer, converted to outlines or otherwise properly
embedded in your document.
If you are not
confident your elementary school English instructor wouldn’t mark up your
annual report with red pencil, then choose a professional. As Tom
Peters wrote in his book, “In Search of Excellence,” “stick with the
knitting” and do only what you do best. Outsource the rest to trusted advisors.
Thanks Harrison! Welcome aboard as a client!
For more ideas or
COCO+CO.’s defined Connections
Process can help your business grow, call 978.374-1900.
donated creative design, layout and production for the giant 12 foot by
12 foot Creative Haverhill banner that hangs from Pentucket Bank’s
operations center in downtown Haverhill. COCO+CO. also donated designs
for business card-sized handouts for the non-profit group.
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