Difference Between CMYK and RGB

Difference Between CMYK and RGB

Understanding the color modes for your design work is absolutely crucial for the success of your project. We will briefly explain the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes.

Working together with both web and print designs can be tricky, and learning how color modes work can be the key to making your project have colors that pop.

RGB | Colors for the Web

First, let's get started with defining RGB. RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. RGB is an additive color model based on adding and mixing light. For instance, when you add red, green, and blue light together, you create pure white.

Difference Between CMYK and RGB | RGB Photo

RGB is the color mode to choose when designing for web elements. This can be graphics on videos, your website, or social media posts.

Computer monitors and other digital screens can only emit red, green, and blue.

CMYK | Colors for the Web

CMYK is a print-only color mode and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key. The CMYK color model works in the exact opposite way than RGB. It is a subtractive process. That means that each additional color means more light is removed to create it.

CMYK vs RGB | CMYK Color Mode

CMYK is the color mode to choose when designing for print elements. This can be for business cards, annual reports, brochures, and flyers.


What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

CMYK and RGB color modes render differently depending on what mediums they are being used for.

As previously mentioned, RGB is best for digital monitors. This is due to digital devices being composed of pixels. These pixels are made up only of red, green, and blue.

CMYK is best for printed materials since the paper that is being printed on is white. CMYK has fewer possible color possibilities than RGB.

CMYK and RGB Color Difference
The visual difference between the CMYK and RGB profiles. Source

To ensure you are getting the color modes correct, we recommend converting your PSD (Photoshop Document) to either RGB or CMYK at the beginning stages of your design.

We have seen plenty of projects have the color modes mixed up.

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April 26, 2019

(1 min. read)

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