RGB Vs CMYK: Why Do Printers Use CMYK Instead Of RGB?


RGB vs CMYK – being a graphic designer you must be familiar with these two color spaces. But have you ever thought why do printers prefer to use CMYK instead of RGB? Well, in this blog we will highlight the difference between the two and also explain the reason why CMYK is the preferable color spaces among printers.

Colors play an important role in everyone’s life. It has the power to affect the mood, generate interest in the product and motivate customers to make a purchase. It is one of the most powerful forms of communication. If you want your design to look exactly the way you thought, you should have a clear understanding of the color system. There are basically two major color systems in the print and designing industries – RGB and CMYK.

What is RGB?

RGB stands for three colors – Red, Green, and Blue. These are basically the primary colors that create new colors by adding two or more colors. That is why is it is also known as the additive model.

As compare to CMYK, RGB color space includes more vibrant colors. It is because you are working with light; whereas with CMYK you are working with ink. If you are creating graphics for digital platforms, then RGB is the ideal choice. The resolution for RGB is 72ppi.

What is CMYK?

CYMK stands for four colors – Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and key (black). In this case, Black is referred to as key because it is used in the key plate which is accountable for adding the detail and contrast to the final image. CMYK is the subtractive color model. That is why it works opposite to RGB.

For instance, if you subtract cyan from yellow, you will get the green color. The more colors you add together, the darker they will be since they are subtracting from white. CYMK colors are basically used for printing. This includes t shirt printing, business cards, logos, brochures, letterheads, etc. The resolution for CYMK is 300ppi.

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RGB Vs CMYK: Difference between RGB and CMYK

Conversion From RGB to CMYK

Unlike the color abilities of these two models give current designers and photographers some sort of inconvenience. RGB supports a lot of color variations, but CMYK can’t represent all the colors.

For instance, you want to design a logo for a company. When you start designing it on Photoshop, you will by default find the image in RGB. You may find everything fine at that moment.

But if you want to use the same image for printing, then things may not be the same. Due to fewer options for tint, some of the energetic colors present in the RGB are not present in CMYK. That is why in CYMK space, the RGB blue is nearer to violet and dark red is nearer to brown.

If you are using home printers for printing, then it’s fine, unless and until the results are unsatisfactory. But if you want to print the image for business purposes, then you need the help of professional printers. When printers receive RGB, they convert it to CMYK.

RGB Vs CMYK: Why Do Printers Use CMYK Instead of RGB?

Undoubtedly RGB can represent a lot of colors but when it comes to printing CMYK is the only choice for printers. While in comparison to RGB, CMYK is the smaller space, it is the only method of creating color spectrum with printed media.

Mixing RGB colors together would create a lesser variety of muddy, making it vague. One can begin with black paper and add light to it till the time they attain white because light can’t be tinted on a surface. It means that we are limited to using CMYK inks.

What If Someone Require a Design for Both Print and Web?

There are cases when someone needs a design both for print and web versions, for instance, logo design. In that case, it is suggested to start the designing process with the CMYK model and get the printed assets designed first. It will help in getting the closer color options for web designs.

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We hope that this blog has helped you in understanding the importance of CMYK for printing materials. If you want to earn money by selling your designs online, then Designhill Printshop should be the single stop for you. The platform allows all its users to sell their artworks, designs, photographs at their own set royalty rates.

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By Henna Ray

Hi! I am professional Logo designer and an aspiring blogger. An expert on various tools Like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Coral Draw, I have successfully designed several application interfaces, android apps, logo designs, business card designs, letterhead designs, envelop designs, flyer designs, brochure designs and web banners. Twitter

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