The World of Colors: CMYK vs. RGB

Does your print company use weird abbreviations that you don’t understand, like CMYK and RGB? 🎨 🌈

What do these abbreviations stand for?

CMYK: Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black
RGB: Red-Green-Blue

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What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

CMYK and RGB colors render differently depending on which medium they are used for, whether it be on the web or in print. Let’s go further into detail on this question.

CMYK Color Mode

In short, if you’re going to be printing something, such as a business card, stationary, or a newsletter, use CMYK.

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CMYK is a four-color mode that utilizes the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black in various amounts to create all of the necessary colors when printing images. It is a subtractive process, which means that each additional unique color means more light is removed, or absorbed, to create colors. When the first three colors are added together, the result is not pure black, but rather a very dark brown. The K color, or black, is used to completely remove light from the printed picture, which is why the eye perceives the color as black.

RGB Color Mode

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RGB is the color scheme that is associated with electronic displays, such as CRT, LCD monitors, digital cameras and scanners. It is an additive type of color mode that combines the primary colors, red, green and blue, in various degrees to create a variety of different colors. When all three of the colors are combined and displayed to their full extent, the result is a pure white. When all three colors are combined to the lowest degree, or value, the result is black. Software such as photo editing programs use the RGB color mode because it offers the widest range of colors.

So, this is the world of colors.

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