What’s the Difference Between CMYK and RGB?

When you are designing a graphic or having something printed professionally, you may encounter the terms “RGB” or “CMYK.” These acronyms are very important in the design and printing industries, but not everyone understands what they mean or the difference between the two.

Both terms stand for color models that are crucial to understand when adhering to a print color range in Yuma, AZ. Here’s a breakdown of both terms and what they mean when working with printed color.

Understanding CMYK

The acronym CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and “key,” or black. CMYK is most often used for print purposes. The four colors represent the inks used on the page, or the print color spectrum in Yuma, AZ.

The way CMYK works is by adding colors together to make new and darker colors. It follows what is known as a subtractive model, meaning the more colors that are added, the darker the color.

If you combine yellow and cyan, you make green; if you combine cyan and magenta, you make blue, and so forth. All four colors mixed together create a deep, printed black.

Understanding RGB

RGB stands for red, green and blue. The color method is mainly used for digital purposes, like for TV or websites.

The RGB color mixing process is the opposite of CMYK because RGB follows an additive color model. This means, when adding the red, green and blue together, you make colors lighter and brighter. Together, the three main colors create white.

The importance of knowing the difference

Neither the CMYK or RGB models can recreate the entire spectrum of color perfectly. However, the print color spectrum for RGB is much wider than CMYK, so the colors created on a digital screen will usually be much more vibrant and saturated.

However, it’s important to remember that the two color models are used for different things. Printed products must be printed using CMYK-colored ink. The printing process creates microscopic dots of color that blend to create the color on the page.

RGB is used on digital materials, because the pixelated colors blend together when light is shone through them.

Thus, when you are working on a digital design or submitting something to a print shop, you should always start it with or convert it to CMYK before submitting it. That way, you can double check the colors so they don’t end up looking muddy or incorrect in person.

Many customers who submit design files in RGB format are disappointed to see the final printed products because the color formats present differently on paper than on a screen.

Speak with the experts

If you’re looking for printed products but have more questions about graphic design and the print color spectrum in Yuma, AZ, contact Sun Graphics Printing. Our full-service print shop offers a wide selection of top-quality print products and services, from business cards and flyers to banners, large-format printing and wedding invitations.

We use the latest technology and high-quality equipment to produce stunning printed products for personal or business use. Call us today!