24 September 2009 ~ 0 Comments

What is the difference between RGB & CMYK?

Firstly, don’t be put off by the information displayed below, this is the same situation whichever printer you use, the only difference is that we lay out the facts to keep you informed.

When supplying files for full colour printing, it is important that you supply your artwork in the correct mode or colour space. Many software programs give you the choice to work in either RGB mode or CMYK mode, CMYK mode is the correct colour space for full colour printing.

RGB – An Explanation:

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue which are the primary colours of light.

In most circumstances, scanners and digital cameras usually capture and save images in RGB unless otherwise specified.

Images and photographs saved in RGB are fine for use on websites, however they are not suitable for printing on professional print presses.

CMYK – An Explanation:

CMYK stands for Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black. (Black is designated the letter ‘K’ to avoid confusion with ‘B’ for blue).

Take a look at The Printing Press logo and you can see these colours.


Printing full colour images on print presses requires CMYK which uses a different set of colours to RGB.

The inks used in full colour printing are translucent they can be overprinted and combined in a variety of different proportions to produce a vast range of colours.

Look at the diagram below.


You can see the theory of an overprint of all 3 colours Cyan, Magenta and Yellow produces the appearance of black. However, in reality this looks like a muddy brown, and it is for this reason why black is used as the fourth printing ink.

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