Brand color is one way to represent the identity of the corporation and for the company to advertise itself. The purpose of brand color is to make customers perceive the color, recognize the brand, and ultimately buy products manufactured by the corporation. However, it is not easy to produce the same color through different print media applications because of different processes of color reproduction technology. In the print industry, corporations have controlled brand color tolerance to insure its consistency. However, there is some question as to how the print industry actually performs in maintaining this tolerance through reproduction. The goal of this research is to find out what variability exists in commercial packaging and magazine advertising. CIE LAB (color space proposed by the CIE to attempt a perceptually uniform color space) was used to measure the difference in both media. For the methodology, brand colors based on the hue circle were selected for sampling and measurement. Seven colors were chosen for commercial packaging: Kodak yellow, Fuji green, Coca Cola red, Sunkist orange, Chips Ahoy cyan, Pepsi deep blue, and Alpha Bits cereal magenta. Two samples, Kodak yellow and Fuji green, were chosen for examples of magazine colors. The instrument, an X-Rite spectrophotometer, model 528, 500 series, was calibrated in D50/2 for the measurement. The value of each color was acquired by the mean of three measurements. The samples were measured from ten Wegman's grocery stores near the Rochester area and the RIT bookstore over a period of five months. For the magazine advertisement, only two colors, Kodak yellow and Fuji green, were selected, because the advertisement of the other brand colors were not readily found in magazines. The magazines in the sample were photo - related magazines and published in the past five years. The measurement period was from May 13 to September 20, 2003. Three different methods are used for the analysis of results: a*b* slice plot with constant L value, Lab axis plot from Dr. Granger, and the CRF (Cumulative Relative Frequency) curves. As a result, each brand color has different performance in terms of color matching. For commercial packages, Sunkist orange has the smallest color difference, whereas Kodak yellow has the largest color difference. Post Alpha Bits magenta and Chip's Ahoy cyan were close to Sunkist orange, which means that they have a relatively small color difference. Pepsi's deep blue was close to Kodak yellow, which means Pepsi has a relatively large color difference. For the magazine advertising, the variation is much greater than that of the packages measured. According to the findings, each brand color for commercial packaging shows different performance in terms of color matching. The color match should be ΔE < 2. From the aspect of the 90th percentile of samples for each brand color, none of samples is ΔE < 2. Assuming the expectation of the print service providers is that the sample for brand color should fall within acceptable tolerances, alternative hypothesis (Ha) is accepted. With respect to the measurement of the accurate reproduction of brand colors, the actual performance of print services providers shows variation in color reproduction that exceeds acceptable tolerances for color matching. For the samples of solid brand color, seven brand colors are selected based on the hue circle. Samples of each brand color show the different variation in terms of ΔE and move toward different CIE LAB axes. This result shows that controlling the variation of brand color should consider the nature of the variations. From the aspect of color matching, the variation of brand color for magazine advertisement is much greater than that for film packages. This is primarily due to the wider range of substrates and the print process technology and process color application inherent in publication printing. Thus, it is also concluded that the expectation of the companies for specifying color should be different for each type of application.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Color printing; Color--Industrial applications; Colorimetry; Brand name products; Advertising, Magazine; Packaging

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Print Media (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Media Sciences (CIAS)


Edward Granger

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Riordan


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes