How do I sample colors from my computer screen?

Question

I have a sample from a client that has this color they want to use on their website and their brochure. How can I figure out what color it is? And, how would I figure out the corresponding Pantone color?

Answer

There are several ways you can approach this. Since you are needing the color for both web and print work, you’ll need two colors. The color for RGB and corresponding color in CMYK. You can see which of these processes works best for you:

  • If you have a PDF you can open it with Adobe Illustrator and select the color in question. The color will be in RGB or CMYK. Note the percentages and then convert the color to the other format.
  • You can also open the file in Adobe Photoshop and open the “info” palette (Window –> Info). As you mouse over the graphic you will see the CMYK and RGB percentages displayed.
  • To find the closest Pantone color, I suggest downloading a copy of Art Directors Toolkit by Code-line.com. This a wonderful piece of software. It will let you easily sample screen colors and tell you the closest Pantone selections. It can also measure text, convert decimals, calculate blends and sizes, find keyboard equivalents and more.

Lena Shore

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