Too many times when someone thinks about color, their attention goes to old and common favorites such as blue or pink or green. When some say blue, they mean light blue or sky blue or cornflower blue. Saying pink could mean anything from pale rose to hot pink. And green is even more difficult to describe between bright green, grass green, aquamarine greens or greens that are actually blues. With home computers, printers and digital photography continually increasing in use, becoming more precise with color definitions is proving to be more necessary than ever before.

The CMYK Model

One of the best places to start when trying to understand the color spectrum is with the CMYK color model which is composed of cyan that is a bluish green, magenta which is a purplish red, yellow that is a medium yellow and key which is black. The CMYK color model is newer to the industry compared to the more traditional RGB, or red, green, blue model. Just as it is difficult for a person to communicate what shade of blue they are talking about, it is also difficult for someone in the printing business to replicate an exact image in the same shades of color as the original version they may be attempting to copy. By using an industry standard such as the CMYK color model, better consistency in color representations can be made.
In the printing industry, all colors in the spectrum can be created with a blend from cyan, magenta, yellow or black. Many people believe that when the color black is used in personal printers or even some commercial printers, that it is strictly the black ink cartridge when in fact, a richer black can be created from the other three colors in the model in addition to using key.

Color Origins

By understanding the origin of a color, often it becomes easier to separate the color families and more accurately describe a specific color. The colors magenta and fuchsia are two good examples of colors whose origin is important to their description. Magenta and fuchsia are often used interchangeably to describe a bright, vibrant pink. However, magenta actually contains more purple pigment than fuchsia, making fuchsia more brilliant of the two. Fuchsia is also a plant found within nature that provides a dye known as fuchsine that is actually used to create magenta.
There are several colors with names that are also found in nature such as the color orange or indigo. Many colors have originated within nature and have been given their names accordingly. Finding colors in their natural environment and attempting to replicate their vibrance, depth and richness is nearly impossible, but by creating color models and theories, we can come close.
There are many great technologies available to help carefully match colors but if there is little understanding about what will create the best color, the results of any color project are likely to be less than what you may have expected. Learning that it is often easier to add a color to white to get the best blend rather than adding the white to the color can save time and money with the amount of paint involved. Using brown shades to get a deeper red can sometimes be far better than mixing black. Learning about the precise difference between color shades along with how they are each blended together is a valuable attribute for anyone, whether they are a professional photographer or merely trying to paint a room or two in their home.

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Author's Bio: 

Professional in colors and imagery.