Posts tagged ‘RGB’

The Difference Between RGB and CMYK Colors for Web to Print Ventures

As anyone who has ever had the basic science class lecture about color spectrum knows, interpreting all the millions of different colors we see each day is a very complicated process for the human eye and brain. It’s all the more difficult when trying to design and program a monitor or computer program to correctly receive and display similar color information. Various different file formats, technologies and display types only further complicate the matter, but developing a competent sense of these aspects and their key differences is essential to success in any web to print venture. The two major types of color displays used in computing environments are RGB and CMYK.

The first type, RGB, is an acronym for red, green, blue and is known as an additive coloration mode. In order to understand this terminology, it helps to first think of the computer screen and its totally black background. It is upon this black background that the tiny networks of lights in the screen display their various hues, essentially adding coloration to the black of the background in order to make up the final target value which the user sees displayed. The RGB coloration mode is typically used to render colors within monitors and computer screens.

The second type, CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, black, is known as a subtractive coloration mode. Ultimately intended to be applied to white printer paper, CMYK is considered subtractive because it calculates its correct hues by subtracting from the initial brightness of the paper in order to make up the final target value. For this very reason, CMYK uses lighter secondary colors than those used by RGB coloration modes. This is due to the fact that producing darker tones via the CMYK method would require a great deal more ink. The CMYK coloration mode is intended for use in paper printing applications.

Given these basic stipulations, successful and efficient development of web to print applications and products requires some consideration of which coloration modes are best suited to a particular project, as well as the respective advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, consider the fact that, due to its method of building up printed colors on a white page, the RGB coloration method must repeatedly blend a great deal of ink together in order to achieve the color black, since it can only combine red, green and blue. CMYK, on the other hand, has a true black available and can therefore apply a single tone of appropriate intensity.

This ability of the CMYK model significantly reduces the amount of image blurring and paper stress that can occur whenever an RGB coloration model is attempting to achieve black. RGB also underperforms in this situation because its constant re-applications of the three colors usually serves to overly saturate the printing medium. It can also ultimately fail to achieve a rich enough black by blending only red, green and blue. In short, the differences between RGB and CMYK are pronounced, and cannot be overlooked in web to print projects.

April 16, 2010 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

Common Errors Web to Print Designers Make

Whether you’re a graphic designer working on web to print projects or a small firm specializing in commercial printing products, be sure to avoid these common errors in laying out and finalizing your content. Overcrowding content spaces and creating eyesores, overusing too many different types of fonts or templates, and saving your project in a color format incompatible with most printers are all common flubs that can make your work less effective and more time-consuming.

A good rule of thumb for general graphic design as it relates to web to print applications is that less is more. When designing your first few projects, it’s easy to let your enthusiasm carry you away. But getting too heavy handed with sharp, contrasting colors, overly complicated graphics, and crowded content can actually be quite counter intuitive. Considering the visual comfort of your audience is a courtesy they will repay by giving your product more attention.

There should be enough space between major images, graphics, blocks of background color, and text to allow the eye to wander comfortable between them. Too much content jammed into one space is not only confusing but it will ultimately detract from your goal of communicating as much information as possible as visually pleasantly as possible. Web to print projects are almost always rich in visual content as well as text, but remember that graphics, images or pictures should enhance your overall message, not drown it out.

Along the same lines, resist the temptation to use every type of font in one page. Overusing font types gives an overall appearance of disorganization. Using one font type for headers or titles and another comfortable, easy to read font for all the body text is usually advisable. Using only two or three font types at max gives an impression of careful forethought and uniformity which are hallmarks of professional design.

One of the biggest headaches facing designers of web to print content is the RGB and CMYK distinction. Remember that RGB, which stands for red, green, blue is a coloration mode that is typically used for displaying colors on a computer screen or other graphical monitor. RGB mode achieves its various display colors by blending its three basic shades, and then adding these shades against the black background of the display screen to produce the final target hue.

Unfortunately, even though this mode of coloration is extremely prevalent on the soft-copy side of design, it doesn’t quite translate to hard copy printing without some careful coaxing. This is because most printers employ the CMYK mode of coloration, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The CMYK mode is far more effective for printing because it features a dedicated black ink component for printing onto paper, which the RGB mode lacks.

However, because these modes are so different in terms of their makeup, the specific numerical color values they use to describe common colors we use everyday also differ. For this reason, make sure you convert your files from RGB to CMYK before you attempt to start finalizing and printing. Otherwise you’ll end up with a finished product that could look drastically different from what you designed on-screen.

April 15, 2010 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

How do I make sure the color on my monitor will match what is printed?

When preparing digital images for print, it would be ideal if colors could reproduce on paper exactly as they appear on your monitor. Unfortunately, an exact match is not possible, but it IS possible to produce a close resemblance by properly adjusting your monitor and converting your files via color management. Many clients have multiple color profiles for different printers. Some clients never adjust their monitors even though they’ve been on 24/7 and their luminosity is slowly fading.

 Always test your monitor to see that it’s operating properly. As far as calibrating for color and balance, the best method is to match a color proof to the same CMYK file that made the proof, using the controls on your monitors.

Prisma Graphic has many tools available on their website to answer your questions, so you do make the right choice.

October 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

Should I use RGB or CMYK??? – That is the question.

Advice on printingMany graphic programs give you the choice to work in either RGB or CMYK. Most scanners and digital cameras create images using combinations of just three colors: Red, Green and Blue. These are the primary colors of light, which computers use to display images on your screen.

In particular, you may notice that the greens and oranges are much brighter in RGB than in CMYK. Unfortunately, it is the world of CMYK. Printing presses reproduce full-color pictures using the primary colors of pigment: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

At some stage, your RGB file must be translated to CMYK in order to print it on a printing press. If your files are sent as RGB, we cannot guarantee that the color shift will match the file you created and viewed on your monitor.

Prisma Graphic has many tools available on their website to answer your questions, so you do make the right choice.



October 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

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