Written by: Erin Robinett, WISE Graphic Design Specialist

Imagine: The time has come to make a new logo for your business. You selected the perfect brand colors and got your logo just right. But, when uploading your logo online, it looks neon. 


Learn why design faux pas happen and how you can avoid them. Read on for the Ultimate Guide to On-Brand Design. 


Color Mode Explained


The problem lies in color mode. Here is the culprit - there are two different color modes. One that is used for screen displays (RGB) and one that is used for printing (CMYK). 


Color mode: How the components of color combine to produce an image


Similar to the human eye’s ability to interpret color, technical equipment like computers, cameras, and print products all “see” color differently. 


Why does color mode matter? 


When the wrong color mode is used, colors will not display correctly. 


Hiring a professional graphic designer can help you stay on-brand. Graphic designers are skilled at keeping color mode on track, delivering beautiful graphics that look great on-screen and when printed!


When to use each color mode


RGB stands for red, green, and blue. 


Use this color mode for all online material. If you use CMYK, your color will have a neon appearance. 


CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. 


Use this color mode for all printed material. If you use RGB, the colors on your printed graphics will appear dull. 


For Small Business Owners

We know that you’re an entrepreneur, not a graphic designer. So, having this information in your back pocket might feel like knowing the difference between an alligator and a crocodile - so you are probably asking yourself, ‘why do I need to know this?’




When working with a graphic designer, it’s important to communicate with them if your project is going to be printed or used digitally. That way, they can prepare your files accordingly and ensure that your colors will be displayed accurately. 


The end result


Upon completion, your graphic designer will provide several different file types. They will include versions that are prepared in the CMYK color mode, and versions that are prepared in the RGB color mode. 


Now that you know which version to use, you can pick the correct one for your project… Goodbye neon! 


Pop Quiz! 


A blog you are being featured on asks you to submit your logo. Since you know this will be displayed online, what color mode will you use? 




You should have confidently said the RGB version of your logo so the colors will be displayed perfectly! 


With this new color knowledge, you can ensure that your brand looks great online as well as in your printed materials! 


Is your branding ready for a re-fresh? Then take the quiz to see if you are a branding maven or in need of a rebrand. 


Is your branding ready for a re-fresh? Then take the quiz to see if you are a branding maven or in need of a rebrand.  


Erin Robinette

WISE Graphic Design Specialist
Erin Robinett, WISE Graphic Designer, studied Graphic Design at Salisbury University. She has worked in the industry for 7 years, with experience in branding, package design, and typography. As a wife to an Army Sapper, she enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and painting.