Why Colours Looks

Different on Screen vs. 

When Printed?

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the differences and similarities between CMYK and RGB colour formats. In this page we hope we could enlighten you with the true differences of the two to help you better understand the functions and purpose of both. Let’s dive deeper.

What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

How do i know which colour to choose - question mark

The difference between CMYK and RGB colors is simple. CMYK color format is for used for designing hard copy prints and RGB is for web images.

 When it comes to printing hard copies for example, post cards, business cards, posters, and signs; basically anything you can hold in your hand with your design at the end of the day, this is what CMYK is designed for RGB on the other hand is used for designs or images that are only supposed to be used online via social media posts, mock ups, websites, graphic designs and anything that is NOT required to be printed out for hard copies. 

It is important that you know that these two color formats can still produce the exact same colors during designing and saving outputs online or via design tools. Both are great for mixing colors in design. They have the same backbone for all existing colors, the only difference is one format is designed for printing and the other is not.

What is CMYK?

What is cmyk - samedayprinting clours

CMYK is for hard copy prints. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (Key). 

If you own a printer at home or at the office, you will notice that these are the only colors you need to print any image. If one Is missing, then it’s enough to miss out on a lot of colors when you try printing an image. 

Any printing machine whether standard or professional ones create images and prints by combining CMYK colors using a process called subtractive mixing. Using this method and color format increases your chance of matching the exact color you want once the design is printed and will lead to more accurate results.

When to use CMYK?

  • Business Cards
  • Stationary
  • Stickers
  • Signages
  • Postcards
  • Product Packaging
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Brochures
  • Custom Apparel

Best file formats for CMYK?

  • PDF - Portable Document Format
  • Ai - Adobe Illustator
  • EPS -Encapsulated PostScript

What is RGB?

what is rgb 2 - samedayprinting

RGB is for web images. RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue and is known as the primary colors for digital images which are intended to be displayed or used on any kind of screen. 

These colors are produced by a light source within any device by mixing the light and the colors using a different process called additive. 

Basically, this color format is best if your design project is supposed to end up on a screen or any smartphone, device, or technology.

This is NOT recommended to use if you need your project to be printed into hard copies as the color you see on the screen may mutate once it is printed since it is not intended for that

When to use RGB?

  • Website Design
  • Application Design
  • Fonts, Web Icons, Buttons, Graphics
  • Online Logos
  • Online Ads
  • Social Media Images
  • Profile Pictures
  • Videos
  • Digital Graphics
  • Info-Graphics

Best file formats for RGB?

  • JPEGs - Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • PSD - Photoshop Docucment File 
  • PNGs- Portable Network Graphics
  • GIFs - Graphics Interchange Format

How do i know which colour to choose?

How do i know which colour to choose - question mark

If you’ve made it this far, you should know all too well the answer to this question. For printing materials or producing hard copy prints of any kind whether it be on paper, postcards, books, cards, posters, apparel and etc, the required color formats are CMYK always. This will produce more accurate results and prints to satisfy your needs and specifications with colors.

RGB is absolutely not for printing at all, this is the color format used for graphic designs or any web images that will only ever be viewed on screen whether the platform is on a mobile smart phone, tablet, laptop, PC, or TV. If you’re not printing it, then it’s an RGB format. 

What happens when you print something intented for digital display?

What happens when you print something intented for digital display - sdp 2

Our printers cannot read RGB colour format. You can expect the colors to be way off from your original design online.

The colors produced will not match the colors you see on screen vs the colors that will be printed on a hard copy if you choose to use RGB as a color format for your designs.

Why do my colours look so much brighter on screen than when printed?

cmyk and rbg looks on screen versus when printed - sameday printing v2

RGB Colours are naturally brighter on screen compared to the results if you get them printed into a hard copy.

Which is why we don’t recommend RGB colors for editing printing files. CMYK on the other hand, prints exactly the colour that you see on screen because the CMYK code is compatible with printers and their CMYK inks.

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