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Color Systems 101: Digital Design vs. Print Projects

If you want to create powerful marketing pieces, you have to get colorful. People have come
to associate certain colors with specific moods, emotions, and even instructions. But how can
you know that the colors you select will come out the way you’d intended? The secret lies in
using the correct color system for your creation. Let’s take a moment to examine the two
principal systems – RBG and CYMK.

Color Systems 101: Digital Design vs. Print Projects-1

When you see brilliant color on a printed page, you’re most likely looking at the results of the CMYK color system.

RGB: Red, Green and Blue

If you’ve ever consulted a digital monitor or TV screen, you’ve seen the RBG color system.
While digital designs and displays can reproduce approximately 16.8 million colors (more than
human eye can actually discern), they make all of those colors through different combinations
of red, green and blue. If all three colors of light are combined equally, the light you see is
white. For this reason, RGB is known as an additive color system.

CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black

When you see brilliant color on a printed page, you’re most likely looking at the results of the
CMYK color system. CMYK stands for cyan (a shade of blue), magenta, yellow, and “key” (a
printing term for black), with different combinations of these four inks creating the entire
spectrum of colors. This system is considered a subtractive color system because, if you want
to see white on your printed piece, you have subtract all of these inks.

Which color system makes sense for you? Both of them! But if you’re producing pieces for
use both in print and in digital applications, your best bet is to start with a CMYK-based
design (which can produce the higher resolution necessary for print), and then have that
design converted to RBG. AlphaGraphics can make sure that you’re always using the right
system for the most brilliant possible results – so leave the color to us!

Carle

Posted by Carle