RGB & CMYK, WTH?

rgb and cmyk difference

Color is simple, right? Black is black, red is red and white is white. Well, not always.

The idea that color is straightforward may be derived from learning the names and colors associated with each basic primary color before the age of five. This simplification doesn’t account for light sources impacting color, different printing methods or how color appears dissimilar in print, on websites and even from screen-to-screen.

Almost everyone has created a document on a computer, added a touch of color, printed it out and then discovered the color on the hard copy looks nothing like the color on-screen. Sometimes this can be baffling like a brain teaser without a logical answer but here is some insight.

Color modes are essential in the world of design, influencing how we see and interpret visuals. Two common color modes used in graphic design are CMYK and RGB, and understanding the RGB and CMYK difference between these modes is crucial for achieving the desired results in creative projects.

Shining a Light on RGB

RGB is an acronym for red, green and blue and is a color model that represents colors as combinations of red, green and blue which uses light to produce a full spectrum of color. It is the most common color model used in electronic displays, such as computer monitors, mobiles phones and television screens.

In the RGB model, each color channel is represented by an 8-bit value, ranging from 0 to 255, where 0 indicates no intensity and 255 indicates full intensity. By varying the intensity of each channel, about 16 million different colors can be produced. Colors are additive in this model, meaning that combining different intensities of red, green and blue light can create new colors. For example, combining full intensity red, green and blue light creates white light, while combining no light in any channel creates black. This additive nature of RGB makes it ideal for digital displays, where different intensities of light can be produced by individual pixels to create a wide range of colors and shades.

By using varying intensities of red, green and blue light, RGB can reproduce a wide range of colors that closely match what the human eye can perceive. This makes RGB an essential tool for website creation, social media design, digital advertising, photography and video production, where accurate color reproduction is crucial. These examples have real world applications in the San Diego Tourism Marketing District’s (SDTMD) Tourism Matters campaign.

Printing in CMYK

Unlike digital design, CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (AKA black) – is the color model used in printing. CMYK is a subtractive color model, meaning that colors are created by subtracting varying amounts of light from white.  

In CMYK, each of the four colors is applied in overlapping layers to create a wide spectrum of colors. For example, to create green, cyan and yellow are combined, while magenta and yellow create red. The black component, also known as the key color, is used to enhance contrast and depth in the printed image, as well as to create true black tones. Without black, a mix of the other three colors can result in a muddy or dark brown color. 

Graphic designers use CMYK in various ways to create printed materials such as brand identies, annual reports, brochures and packaging. They must be aware of how colors will blend and interact when printed, as the final result may differ from what is seen on a computer screen. Designers often review color swatches and proofs to ensure that the RGB and CMYK difference will appear as intended in the final printed piece. Understanding the CMYK color model is essential for achieving accurate and vibrant colors in printed materials. 

Digital Palettes with Hex Codes

HEX color, short for hexadecimal color, is a six-digit code comprised of letters and number used in graphic design to specify colors for a website or a digital asset. Each digit represents the intensity of red, green and blue light, allowing for a wide range of colors to be accurately reproduced. This format is particularly useful for designers because it provides a standardized way to communicate colors across different platforms and devices. By using HEX codes, designers can ensure that the colors they choose will display consistently across various screens, making it an essential tool for creating visually cohesive and appealing designs.

Pantone for Printing

In print, Pantone (PMS) colors are a standardized color matching system used in graphic design and manufacturing industries. Each Pantone color is assigned a specific code, making it easy to communicate and reproduce exact colors across different materials and processes. Designers often use Pantone colors when creating branding materials, such as logos and packaging, to ensure that the colors remain consistent across various applications. Additionally, Pantone colors are commonly used in fashion design, product design and interior design to maintain color accuracy and consistency throughout the production process.      

Understanding the complexities of color modes is crucial for graphic designers. These color modes allow informed designers to create visually appealing and consistent designs without surprises and bridge the gap between digital and print media seamlessly. The trick is to know the channel where the asset will be used and plan in advance. 

Do’s and Don’ts When Managing Your Online Reputation

managing your online reputation

 

By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright

I recently had the opportunity to hear from Jon Goldberg of Reputation Architects on managing your online reputation. The occasion was the PRSA Western District Conference in Phoenix, April 11 and 12 where I spoke on a storytelling panel.

Goldberg is a seasoned public relations and reputation strategist advising Fortune 500 clients as Chief Reputation Architect with his firm, specialists in managing your online reputation and offline as well.

I learned about many different landmines lurking on the web. The risks run from websites that post damaging content and then charge fees to remove it to consultants who cut corners to suppress damaging search engine results.

Goldberg shared story after story of reputation management gone awry as well as best practices to follow for managing your online reputation.

If you find yourself the subject of an Internet nastygram, Goldberg advised that you have three options:

1. Ignore It

When emotions are running high, it’s hard for people to keep their cool and put things in perspective. However, ignoring damaging content online is often the best strategy. More on this below.

2. Hide It

Through the publication of a large volume of search-optimized content, you can seek to overwhelm the negative result in search engine rankings. Search algorithms are wise to these strategies so attempting to game the system can raise Google’s suspicion.

“The idea is to publish a steady stream of high-quality content, which over time will push negative search results off the first page. Attempting to game the system by pumping out low-quality content and questionable links, a technique used by many black-hat SEO companies, will just lead to a bigger and potentially more embarrassing mess in organic search,” said Goldberg.

3. Make it Disappear

If you want to make a negative search result vanish forever, you also have only three options: ask nicely, threaten the publisher or sue.

Threatening or suing both risk angering the outlet. For instance, if you’re a Fortune 1000 company targeting a small publisher or individual, the David-and-Goliath narrative will give your brand a black eye. Suing is risky because libel, slander, defamation and other such allegations are difficult to prove to the courts.

Avoid the Streisand Effect

Goldberg shared a few examples of online reputation management gone horribly wrong. One very interesting example is what has become known as the Streisand Effect. It refers to a situation where Barbra Streisand’s Malibu home was photographed in a public database of coastal lands. She sued the photographer to have her home removed from the database. From Wikipedia:

Before Streisand filed her lawsuit, “Image 3850” had been downloaded from Adelman’s website only six times; two of those downloads were by Streisand’s attorneys. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased greatly; more than 420,000 people visited the site over the following month.

Sometimes confrontation attracts even more unwanted attention and ignoring the content is the best course.

So, how do you legitimately suppress an unfortunate online mention?

“Good content is the answer to bad content,” said Goldberg.

Publishing good content that attracts significant views and inbound links from other reputable sites with high domain authority is the answer.

Look to PR for Managing Your Online Reputation

Goldberg’s message perfectly echoed the sentiment presented by another of the conference’s speakers, Gini Dietrich. Dietrich is founder and CEO of marketing communications firm Arment Dietrich in Chicago. She is also lead blogger at the PR and marketing blog Spin Sucks. She urged public relations practitioners to lean into PR’s power for producing credible, high-ranking online content.

Working with media outlets to get that content published with an optimized inbound hyperlink are the key to raising search engine visibility for good content.

Both Dietrich and Goldberg warned that there are many underqualified and ill-equipped service providers who are encroaching on what should be PR’s domain (reputation management and story pitching and placement). These unscrupulous SEO consultants would have companies believe that reputations and rankings can be bought cheap.

However, the outcomes produced by these firms look cheap and cheapen your reputation. They’ll generate gibberish articles, plagiarized or generic content, and black hat SEO techniques that can get you blacklisted from review sites.

It reminds me of my advice to young PR practitioners: there are no PR shortcuts. The same is true for managing your online reputation, not to mention your offline reputation.

Reputation management is like a game of chutes and ladders. It takes a lot of work and many years to build up your reputation but only minutes and one mistake to tear it down.

Don’t be fooled into thinking your reputation online is any different.

Four Reasons Publicist is a Dirty Word

 

By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright


Has your mom ever used your childhood nickname in front of your adult friends? That’s how I feel when someone uses the term publicist or publicity to describe my work.

Generating positive media coverage is definitely among the many functions performed by a public relations professional. But the word “publicist” says nothing of the research, strategy, messaging and many other thoughtful, and even artful, activities that go into a successful public relations program. The word, in my opinion, minimizes my work.

For that reason, I would like to see “publicist” buried next to “flack” and “spin doctor.”

Public relations professionals are strategic communicators.

Two years ago, PRSA’s 2017 Chair, Jane Dvorak, addressed the PRSA Western District Conference in Riverside, Calif. urging attendees to see themselves as leaders, strategists and analysts. To my ear, “publicist” is a label that says none of those things. Two years later, I continue to hear this term applied to describe work that is only about 10-20 percent producing media coverage.

If you’re not convinced that “publicist” needs to go, give these four points careful consideration, and let me know if they help change your thinking. (If you already agree, these may help you convert or at least educate others.)

1. Publicists Produce Transactions. PR Pros Build Relationships.

We work in a very transactional environment today. Marketing and communications outcomes are boiled down to clicks, likes, links and conversions, but the stakeholders who need to receive your messages are not clicks and conversions—they’re real human beings who crave meaningful emotional connections with other real human beings.

This absolutely includes journalists.

Media databases like Cision and Meltwater make it much easier to build a big list than a targeted one. Journalists become email addresses and not people. Instead of building a relationship with the media, this transactional approach plays a numbers game. Ultimately, when the media gripes about getting a PR pitch addressed to the wrong name or that’s a country mile off the mark, it’s because they’re not being communicated to as human beings.

Public relations requires building understanding, changing perceptions and motivating behaviors and beliefs. Those kinds of outcomes need a relational versus transactional approach, which requires understanding your audiences and treating them as humans. This can be accomplished through surveys, interviews and focus groups and using that information to create personas.

Publicity is just too limiting a term to encompass these approaches.

2. Publicity is a Tactic. Public Relations Requires Strategy.

As public relations professionals, we can’t fulfill our role and responsibilities with a tactical mindset. We must think strategically.

From research to message development and testing to creative—strategy drives the choices we make, and those choices drive our campaign results. Did we communicate in a manner that earned our audience’s attention and resonated with them so that their perceptions, beliefs and behaviors were impacted?

I equate publicity with none of the above. Instead, I picture someone producing a bunch of press clippings which is useful if stroking your client’s ego is the only goal of your campaign.

3. A Publicist’s Communication is One-Way. PR Requires Listening.

There is far more pitching, posting and publishing than listening on social media and the web these days. I like the term coined by Mark Schaefer five years ago, Content Shock, to sum up the impact of content marketing run rampant. Schaefer pointed out then how the pace and volume of content being produced far exceeded the pace and volume of content being consumed.

Anyone today who is pushing content or a message without creating a way for the recipient to engage, respond and be heard is missing a huge opportunity to build relationships.

Communicators who create space for their stakeholders to be heard are the ones doing it right. When a crisis hits, they’ll be able to engage in conversations with their customers or investors rather than an avalanche of angry or outraged Tweets and Facebook posts.

The brands that weather crises more easily than others are those that have built relationships and goodwill with their stakeholders. And those are the brands being stewarded by strategic communicators and not publicists.

4. Publicity is About Earned Media. Public Relations Crosses All Media.

A decade ago, traditional media outlets underwent an implosion, while podcasts, online videos, blogs and social media storytelling platforms exploded. In the aftermath of these two trends, traditional media gatekeepers like the daily newspaper or evening newscast have lost their ability to influence public perception at scale.

Earned media was once the bread and butter of the public relations function, but today, it is just one of several communication platforms our profession employs to reach and engage with its stakeholders.

The contemporary integrated approach, sometimes referred to as the PESO Model, combines paid, earned, shared and owned media. Paid media can include social media ads and boosting or Google AdWords. Earned media includes press coverage but can include analyst relations, awards and speaking opportunities that imply and/or impart third-party validation. Shared media refers to social networks like Facebook but also review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Owned media describes all of the creative assets at your disposal to engage your audiences and to interact with them directly including print, digital and multimedia content.

Publicity is a component of only one of those four platforms, making it an inadequate label for describing what today’s strategic communicators do.

So, Let’s Retire the Term Publicist and Champion the Role of Strategic Communicator.

It’s time to toss this transactional, tactical, and out-of-touch term. It’s old school and perpetuates a narrow stereotype of what public relations today actually is. Publicity is about as apropos to what my team and I do every day at (W)right On Communications as my childhood nickname is to my adult identity. Now, if only I could get my mom to stop calling me Oobies.

PR professionals can use 360° cameras for visual storytelling

360 Degree Visual Storytelling

By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright


We recently moved our San Diego head office into a beautiful new space. I couldn’t wait to share it with the world. There was just one problem. Our new setting needed to be experienced rather than described or shown. Words either fell flat or came off as braggadocious and standard photos and video weren’t capturing the scene I wanted to depict.

How could I share our agency story so people could experience virtually what our team was experiencing in real life?

Inspired by a recent journalism presentation I attended on immersive storytelling, I realized that, as a PR professional, I could use 360° cameras for visual storytelling too—in fact, a 360° camera was probably the perfect solution for my quandary. So, I began browsing Amazon for options and settled on the Samsung Gear 360.

For $99, this camera shoots in 4K, has a microphone and takes photos and videos plus time lapse, live video and HDR landscape images. It has two lenses–one in the front and the other in the rear. You can shoot from just one lens  for an extra wide angle, panoramic-style still or video. When you use both lenses, the camera’s software stitches the images captured by each lens together to create a seamless 360° view of your surroundings.

Why Go With a 360° Cameras for Visual Storytelling?

Visual storytelling is more important than ever. In the information economy, the scarcest commodity is attention, and visuals are the most economical vehicle for communicators to get their points across.

That’s because the brain can process visual information—or at least recognize a concept—in as little as 13 milliseconds, according to MIT research released in 2014. (By comparison, it takes 400 milliseconds to blink an eye.)

Through strategic design, motion graphics and video, today’s storytellers can convey a message or create a feeling in their target audience “at a glance”—and a glance may be all you have. The visual draws your audience’s attention and makes them care long enough to read the rest of your message or material. Additionally, visual content is highly correlated with recall. An audience exposed only to text or spoken word could recall 10 to 20 percent of the content after three days. With visuals, audience recall rose to an average of 65 percent. (For more on visual storytelling, check out our most recent newsletter.)

There’s a hierarchy at work: still images outperform text, motion graphics outperform still images, video outperforms motion graphics and live experiences outperform video. As an experiential form of video,  360° cameras for visual storytelling can bridge that gap between stills, videos and experiences.

Social media stories (videos with animated gifs and virtual reality filters like Snapchat’s and Instagram’s) illustrate this hierarchy perfectly as they have nearly overtaken traditional feed posts as the new preferred medium for social sharing.

And news outlets have embraced 360° storytelling too with The New York Times, Associated Press and others using this technology to immerse their readers and viewers in their reports from the field.

360° Cameras Are Not Just for Photographers

Don’t be afraid to use this technology. I wouldn’t call myself a technophile by any stretch of the imagination. I hate reading user manuals and expect my tech to be intuitive to use right out of the box. That said, the instructions for the Samsung Gear 360 were straightforward and easy to digest.

After charging the device; I downloaded the app on my Samsung S9 (an iPhone app is also available), inserted a memory card (sold separately), connected my phone via Bluetooth and started taking photos and videos using my phone to control the device and to store the images too.

Learn By Doing

You’ll want to get familiar with the camera’s features. Give yourself the opportunity to learn what works and how to get the best images when you’re not under pressure or on the clock. Set aside some time and space to play with your new toy. You’ll quickly see for yourself what each mode can do. Below are some examples that I shot from our San Diego and Los Angeles offices and a few from my summer visit to Honolulu:

360° Photo: Using One Lens Only for a Panoramic Effect

(W)right On La Jolla Panorama
This panoramic image was created in the Landscape HDR mode which uses only one lens but takes multiple pictures at different exposures and combines them to create more intense 180° or 360° images. It was the perfect solution for capturing our office environment without backlighting problems.

360° Photo: Using Both Lenses for Full 360° Still Image

360-photo
Images from both the front and rear lenses are stitched together to create 360 degree views in a static, still image with a fun, otherworldly feel. Search #tinyplanet on Instagram for many fun examples.

360° Video: Using Both Cameras for a Full 360° Experience

Click and drag your cursor to experience the agency’s La Jolla office from all directions! 

360° Time Lapse: An IABC Los Angeles Chapter Meeting

Click the image and drag your cursor to see who’s at the table! 

360° Time Lapse: Walking through Waikiki

These 360° images become interactive when uploaded directly to Facebook. Your followers just need to tip, tilt and turn their mobile handset to view the image from all angles. Here’s an example—if you’re reading this on your mobile device, click on the link and give it a try.

Don’t Be All Thumbs

Your thumbs and fingers might wind up in your 360° shots because the 360° view is so wide.

To keep your thumbs out of the shot, secure the camera on a slender extendable mount of some kind. I found that a light stand worked perfectly. I also tried a stabilizer I had been using for taking standard video with my smart phone, but its mount was too chunky and showed up in the shot. Most light stands have a simple screw at the top upon which the Samsung Gear 360 model fits securely. Light stands are generally very lightweight, collapsible and inexpensive.

Ultimately, I also purchased a short, lightweight tripod that I can also hold in my hand to keep my fingers out of the image and which is easier to travel with.

Once the camera is mounted on a tripod, you can control it from a distance using your Bluetooth-connected phone. That means that you can place the camera to capture a scene and then go pose for the shot. With the camera’s timer mode, you can also set up a shot and give yourself a few seconds to put your camera down and get yourself or your group into position.

If you’re holding the device in your hand, you’ll be happier with the results if you look up at the camera and say “cheese” or, as explained above, place it on a tripod and operate the camera at a distance with your smart phone for a less posed shot.

Be Mindful With Motion

With the 360° video setting, the immersive nature of a moving image can be a bit disorienting. A gimbal device can be used to create a more professional, totally stabilized image or video.

But even without additional stabilizing accessories you can capture motion elegantly.

First, place the camera on a tripod so that it’s perfectly still. Allow the camera to capture the motion around it. That will give the viewer the sense that they’re immersed in the action without the distraction of jarring camera movements.

Second, make use of the time lapse setting. Hold the camera at a distance on a narrow stabilizer and slowly move through the scene that you’re seeking to capture. Because the final image will be considerably sped up, any jerky motions won’t be visible. This effect creates a fun, high-energy image and can really boil a scene or experience down into mere seconds for at-a-glance communication.

Third, combine a tripod with the time lapse feature. Using the tripod, take a time lapse image of the surroundings. If the experience you’re trying to capture is something like an event getting set up, a streetfront or bustling beach scene, this combination will immerse your viewer in that place and convey the scene in mere seconds.

Depending on the 360° product you’re using, it may have a “Stabilize” setting, which, in the case of the Gear 360, automatically corrects shaky or tilted photos and videos. If you’re uploading to YouTube to share your footage, you can also toggle YouTube’s Auto-Fix or Stabilize Video options in its Effects menu before publishing.

Ideas for PR Pros to Use a 360° Camera for Visual Storytelling

The uses are manifold! Essentially, anytime you want your audience to feel or experience something remotely or virtually, 360° video or stills are a great tool in your communicator’s toolkit.

Hospitality PR pros can bring prospective guests and media right into the property’s lobby or immerse them in a nearby visitor attraction. A technology public relations team can bring the trade-show floor or their CES booth to life. And imagine doing that as a behind-the-scenes Facebook or Instagram live video to tease your booth or product launch? If you’re in entertainment PR, this technology is perfect to immerse your audience in a red carpet or festival experience.

I’m most excited by this technology for nonprofit visual storytelling. Putting your donors in the environment of the people, places or pets that their philanthropy helps can be incredibly powerful. A hospital foundation can show the new wing or equipment that its donors helped fund, a food bank can show its empty shelves ahead of a food drive and a nature preserve can share a time lapse with hikers, wildlife and passing clouds to encourage public support.

All of the above are perfectly suited for social media engagement too. And with Facebook and YouTube supporting 360° video, you can use these social networks to share your immersive visual stories.

What to Budget

If you’re ready to try a 360° camera for visual storytelling, you can buy one for about the same price as a 164 GB storage card, and you’ll likely need both, so budget at least $200. While you might be able to save $20 by buying a smaller memory card, why have regrets when you run out of storage capacity in the middle of a video shoot?

A light stand as a tripod may run you a minimum of $20 and a handheld stabilizer about $15 to $500 depending on how fancy you want to get.

I also upgraded the storage card on my phone to make sure I would not run out of storage space as I began accumulating more large video files. And the Landscape HDR mode images are quite large too – but beyond worth it. (I never want to take a standard landscape photo again!)

Conclusion

If you do go for it (or are already producing 360° video and immersive stories for your client or company), I’d love to hear about your experiences or see your work. Share with me on Instagram at @juliewrightPR or see our agency’s feed at @wrightoncomm. I can’t wait to see how others are using immersive storytelling to earn attention and drive interest in their messages.

And if you’re not yet but would like to bring a 360° influencer to your site or work with an agency that is embracing new methods to bring your story to your audience, please contact us at info@wrightoncomm.com.

The results will be well worth it!

Three Surprising B2B PR Tips to Secure Media Attention

By Chancelor Shay —Director, B2B & Infrastructure Development
Twitter: @chanceshay

If you’re not on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence-controlled robotics or have the fastest supercomputer in the world, it’s probably hard to get journalists and media outlets charged up to talk about your B2B brand. Brands that struggle with this typically fall into the trap of believing every editor is interested in their niche position in the B2B world and talk (or type) ad nauseam about what it is they do.

Nobody cares.

Even if it’s a trade publication and the writer covers your vertical, they still don’t care.

What they do care about is writing cool stories their readers will dig and doing their job well. Your PR success depends on your ability to help them achieve that goal.

Here are three counterintuitive steps to secure more coverage while wasting less time.

The best stories aren’t about your brand

Most media outlets don’t like to dedicate an entire piece to one vendor. They’re job is to tell stories that will be as interesting as possible to the greatest number of readers. Unless your brand is already a household name, this means that the most impactful story pitch will tell your customer’s story. The outlet’s readers can relate to your customer because they are just like them. A story about how your customer did something awesome (and how you played a role in it) stands a better chance at being picked up than raving about how innovative your product/service is or its features and benefits.

Don’t talk about your product/service

If you’re proud or excited about what your company does, go tell your mother. If a journalist was already interested in your brand, they’d already have reached out to you instead of being on the receiving end of your pitch. Instead, develop a pitch to address what your customers (a.k.a. the outlet’s readers) are dealing with. Speak in terms of their pain points. The odds are that that your company isn’t nearly as cool as the ecosystem in which you operate. So, bring in as many different perspectives and folds to the story as you can so that the reporter or writer can envision an engaging story with a story arc that shares real-world challenges and not just free publicity for your brand.

Be the oil can, not a squeaky wheel

Any PR pro will tell you that if you ask 10 different journalists how they like to be pitched, you’ll get 10 different answers. However, one thing is for sure – PR pros’ jobs are to make the journalist’s job easier. This means helping the journalist write about something they’re interested in covering rather than trying to convince them that they should write about something interesting to your brand. Do you want to be the kid crying on the playground for attention or do you want to be the kid who brought the Pokémon cards to recess? When you approach pitching the media from a service mindset and ask yourself, “how can what I or my client know help them reach their goals” (see tip #1), you’ll become a resource to reporters. You’ll have to start by reaching out to the writer and in two sentences summarizing their recent coverage and writing style (to validate you know who they are and what they do) and then offer up a C-Suite executive in your company who has a reputation and can help the writer make sense of topics they’re interested in. After they use your spokesperson for the first time, then you can start pitching them your own story ideas.

If you think you’re ready for the big leagues, check out our post on How to Earn Media Coverage in Major News Outlets.

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(W)right On Communications won a Silver Bulldog Award for Best B2B Product Launch for our work on this campaign. Read the full case study written by the Bulldog Reporter for in-depth tips.