When printers and techies talk about color, they use the terms RGB and CMYK to define their colors.
These are two very different approaches to the colors you see and use.
RGB is an additive process that uses Red (R), Green (G), and Blue (B) light to achieve a color. It is considered additive because one must add all three colors together to achieve white. It is used for Monitors, TV's, Phone Screens, etc.
CMYK is short for Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K for “key”). It is considered a subtractive process because, in order to get white, one must remove all color to allow the white to show through from the substrate material underneath it all. The CMYK color system is used by commercial printing equipment to create full-color graphics and images. It is often referred to as 4-color process.
Can you print in RGB?
No. Unfortunately, it is not physically possible to print in RGB because mixing Red, Green, and Blue ink (pigment) would actually create a kind of brown color, not white as it does with the light in your computer monitor.
Files submitted in RGB will have to be converted to CMYK in order to print. Never will colors on your monitor or screen match printed CMYK colors exactly. If color matching is critical, we suggest you note Pantone (PMS) Colors in your file and job notes.
PMS (Pantone Matching System). Pantone is a company that specializes in products that accommodate color matching, ensuring more consistent color from job to job. Pantone sells swatch books with formulas for color so that every printer around the world can match their ink to a Pantone color. Pantone colors are also referred to as
has over 25 years experience in the printing industry, providing healthcare and professional businesses with ALL their promotional and business printing needs.
Janet is the creator and editor of the Dragon Printing Blog. She has been with our company since 2012.
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