Colour: CMYK vs RGB
When designing for print, there are a whole host of things you need to consider. One of those things is colour.
If you’re designing for the web, you don’t really need to worry about how colour is made up as colours look pretty similar on all computer screens. However, it’s wrong to assume that when designing for print, the colours you see on the screen when creating your design will be the same when printed.
It is important you understand the difference between RBG and CMYK. RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue and these are the colours that make up colour displayed on monitors and screens. CMYK stands for Cyan (blue), Magenta (Pink), Yellow and Black (Key – another word for Black). These colours are the inks that are used to create colour in print.
RGB is the standard throughout most online applications used for design as it offers the widest selection of colours. By combining the primary colours (red, green and blue) in varying amounts, you can achieve any colour you like with great accuracy.
CMYK works in an entirely different way using four colours. And whilst many home printers are able to print using the RGB spectrum, CMYK is still used by most professional printers.
So should we design in RGB or CMYK? It really depends upon what you’re designing and whether your final use will be online, print or both. RGB offers a wider spectrum of colours so is the natural choice for things like websites that will only be viewed onscreen. However, if you’re designing for print only, there are times when you will want to use CMYK.
Most of the time, we would recommend working in RGB and converting to CMYK before sending to print. This gives the designer more freedom colour-wise. But talk to your designer or printer when you send to print so you can understand any colour differences that may appear in the printing process.