Post: What is CMYK?

Table of Contents

What is CMYK?

CMYK stands for the four primary colors of pigment: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Cyan is a greenish-blue color. Magenta has been
described as a reddish-purple. Yellow is probably the most familiar
and is the color that sits right in the middle of orange and green. Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow can be combined to make black, but it’s not a
true black and can end up as a shade of gray. Hence, black is
included in the quartet of colors. You probably have a home printer
and notice that there are almost always two cartridges used:: one with
the 3 colors and one in black. These are also the inks used in the full
color or four-color printing.

What is RGB?
RGB is probably easier to remember. It stands for Red, Green, and
Blue. It’s the color system that is the standard for digital design. It is
used in computer screens, televisions, and mobile and tablet devices. One unique detail about RGB: when you combine the colors, you get
white, the opposite of what you get with CMYK.
Is CMYK better than RGB?
The answer to this question centers around use. As was mentioned, RGB is used in digital design. That means it’s the standard to use
when creating digital images, including logos and other digital art. It’s
also used when creating videos and web and mobile apps. CMYK is
better for any project that is going to be printed. This includes banners, business cards, signage, t-shirts, and any other printed materials. Why does CMYK look different from RGB?
This has to do with the way colors look like on your computer, compared to how they appear when printed. This is the reason why something you create on your computer screen, like a sign, will look
different from what is printed. What you create on your computer is in
RGB, but it’s printed in CMYK. You’ve probably seen this with your
home printer as well. Again, this means that what you see on your computer is going to look
different than what is printed. Why the difference? Think about your
computer monitor. LCD monitors come in different configurations and
quality. In fact, images will look different from monitor to monitor. With
print, you are creating products that reflect light. On the other hand, computer monitors emit light. This changes the way your eyes see
color.

Does digital printing use CMYK or RGB?
Now that you have a clear understanding of the difference between
CMYK and RGB, it’s not a surprise to learn that digital printers use
CMYK.When you are preparing your digital files, they are usually
designed in RGB by default. You would have to convert them to
CMYK. This is usually done in programs like Adobe Photoshop and
Illustrator. CMYK is the only way we can create a continual field of
colors.

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