Voltage Creative

Web Development & Design | Online Marketing

The Role of Color: PMS vs. CMYK

pantoneWhat is Pantone? As a client, you may hear your designers and printers refer to this magical word often. Pantone, or PMS (Pantone Matching System) refers to a standardized set of colors. This proprietary color space allows different printers and manufacturers from all over to refer to the same color system for color accuracy. In PMS, a single number specifies each color.

There are many benefits in choosing to print your designs using the Pantone system over CYMK format.  CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. This system uses a certain percentage of each of these colors to make up your desired color.  Think back to 3rd grade art class… We all knew that if you mix a little bit of yellow with blue, you get green. Now, if your friend next to you tries to mix the exact same colors, are they going to turn out the same? Not exactly.

The biggest benefit you will receive from using the Pantone system is a consistent, reproducible color.

Case study:business-cards

This is a small example of some business cards we just finished for one of our clients.

The left side color is printed in PMS colors. The one on the right is the same color printed in CMYK. Notice the large difference in color?

Choose Wisely!


Interested in design topics?  Please comment to share ideas or questions and we’ll address them on the Voltage Blog.

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Voltage Creative Receives BMA Fountain Awards

Voltage Creative 2014 BMA Fountain AwardsThe Voltage team was honored to receive two Kansas City Business Marketing Association Fountain Awards recently at the 2014 awards ceremony and dinner celebration.  The wins both came in important award categories of focus for Voltage as they accounted for two of the three total website award categories recognized by BMAKC including websites under $25,000 budget and websites between $25,000 and $50,000.

For under $25k, Voltage won on an entry for the client website for Health Services Group Purchasing Organization which is an exciting growing business focused on managed care facility group purchasing.

HSGPO Website

For the $25k-50k category, Voltage was awarded based on the work for Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL), which is a B2B laboratory business that serves several large industries with testing for routine testing all the way through very advanced biological and clinical testing.

CRL Website | Case Study

These recent Fountain Award wins are considered a great honor by the Voltage team of professionals who have a history of award wins with the BMA that recognizes the success of projects and work for business-to-business organizations.  Voltage Creative has success with B2B clients as it it does with B2C, non-profit, and start-up companies based on a distinctive discovery process focused on client ROI and success from the beginning of any project large and small.

We love doing great work for great clients and if you have a website, marketing, or branding project you’d like to discuss (for free and with no obligation) we’d love to hear from you!



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Voltage’s custom integration with Tessitura’s TNEW system for the Lyric Opera recently recognized. bit.ly/18va1wp #TNEW #WebDev

Lyric Opera Tessitura TNEW Integration

Recently, some kind words were shared about a Voltage Creative new website project that included a custom ticketing system integration.  An excerpt from the Tessitura newsletter is included below regarding Voltage’s work styling the TNEW system seamlessly into the new Lyric Opera website (also designed and developed by Voltage).  We are proud of our partnership with Lyric on the project and are grateful for the nice words from Tessitura below.



Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 3.53.26 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-13 at 3.53.26 PMLyric-Opera-Tessitura-TNEW-Integration-Log-In-Page.png


We just love showing off great work.  Especially when it’s done by a user innovating on the abilities of one of our products.  Lyric Opera of Kansas City just launched their refreshed TN Express Web (TNEW) site this month and they took advantage of TNEW’s flexible styling capabilities to make the look and feel of the site perfectly match their overall site branding and Styles.

TN Express Web is the Network’s prebuilt Tessitura-integrated e-commerce platform that works in conjunction with your existing website and visual design/branding.  Part of any implementation of a TN Express Web site is styling the site so that TNEW looks and acts just like the pages on your existing website (button styles, fonts, colors, spacing of wording on the page, etc.).  Your customer should never know where TN Express Web stops and starts as they click through your site.  Occasionally, an organization using TN Express Web wants to take that styling and branding and go the extra mile to customize it even further.  Lyric Opera of Kansas City did just that and decided to host their own cascading style sheets (CSS) which control many aspects of TNEW’s web page layout and presentation.  They partnered with an external design team to create the design and refined CSS approach.  The results are subtle degrees of TNEW-stellar!  Click around to see for yourself.

There are are many beautifully designed TNEW sites.  We just thought we’d point out this new launch and say thanks to the Lyric Opera for a great implementation.


Again, we’re grateful for the kind words and attention from Tessitura as we take great satisfaction in our ability to create seamless, creative, and optimized user experiences for our clients.  We also are thankful for the opportunity to work with world-class organizations like the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

If you have a Tessitura or TNEW integration project that Voltage Creative can help with, we’d love to speak with you about your project–contact Voltage Creative.

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Do my email templates need responsive design?

I can’t provide a precise answer to this question for you or your organization.  However, I can help provide some context and details for you to consider going forward.  This topic was spurred by a recent email marketing audit I performed for a client and a great responsive commercial email that I received to a personal account during the audit.

Here are some considerations to help in making the decision:

  1. Current mobile email recipients and website visitors
    If your email marketing platform or technology provides a breakdown of mobile versus desktop performance data, you should start here.  Is there a decent percentage of your list (or lists, campaigns, etc.), that views the messages on a mobile device?  If so, it might be time to consider a mobile template design.  Be sure to note the potential difference from message-to-message within a campaign and compare different campaigns to each other.  There might be some variation from list to list.
  2. Design language and user experience
    Do you know what your email messages look like on mobile devices now?  There are several quality (and free or low cost) tools available both integrated into email marketing tools and as third party tools that will help show a rendering of your messages across a wide range of email clients for both desktop and mobile inboxes.  It is really important to pay attention to these rendering reports.  If you know from number 1 above that a percentage of your recipients view messages regularly on mobile devices and visit the site from iOS devices and the message looks like crap on an iPhone, the user experience isn’t ideal.

    We also want to consider the user experience from the email to the website.  If the website is responsive or has a dedicated mobile experience, we don’t want to ignore the experience in the email template.  The design language can be critical in funneling recipients from the email, to a landing page, and ultimately to a page on the site that allow them to accomplish a marketing conversion goal.  Design language, or the consistency of colors, fonts, and graphics for calls-to-action, headings, etc., can be really important and often overlooked in email templates.  While they might be a small detail, having a consistent look and feel for buttons and action items can be a critical component in making it easy for users to know what to click on and how to navigate from a mobile email to a mobile optimized landing page and beyond.

  3. Projected mobile traffic growth
    Not much mobile traffic at the moment?  No problem.  Have you considered mobile growth either for your company/industry or in general within our internet browsing universe?  While there might not be an immediate need or responsive might be behind other email and web projects on your list, it should be planned and budgeted for.
  4. Template update resources and costs
    Speaking of budgets, have you considered the resources or external costs for responsive design?  Whether you have designers on staff and can implement the code updates in your own template and system internally or need to go through your third party email marketing platform provider, you’re looking at a cost.  You’ll have to weight this cost based on priority, but hopefully you have some evidence or need-based information to help build a case for this investment.
  5. Measurement plan
    Even if securing the budget for responsive template design is not difficult, you’ll still want to understand the impact.  We’re not finished once we implement responsive design.  We now need to measure the impact and circle back to number 1 above in a continuous measurement process.  Implementing responsive design should be treated like any other variable test.  We introduced a new variable for our mobile users and now we want to see how it performs compared to the past performance history with as many other variables controlled as possible.  Plus, we can use this data to report the successes back to those that approved funding or invested time in the project.

Here’s the good example I recently received in a personal account.  The first image is of the full message in my Gmail inbox.  The second is the version of the exact same email when viewed on my iPhone.  I viewed it the first time on the iPhone and could tell that it was designed with my device in mind and while a bit wordy, it is much better than having to pinch and zoom to read the content and click on buttons.

Responsive Design Email Template Desktop Version

Responsive Design Email Template iPhone Version

Do you already have responsive design for your email template(s)?  How are they performing?  I’d love to hear from you regarding your experience.

If you’re considering the update or have questions about the details outlined in this post, I’ll be happy to provide further detail or answer them.  Feel free to contact us for more information.

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