Difference between CMYK and RGB
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Have you ever faced the printing color problem where you see sharp rejuvenating colors of a figure on screen but when you print them, the colors are dull and you find notable difference in the color scheme. This phenomenon occurs due to CMYK and RGB color models. The RGB scheme is used in your monitors and displays sharp colors whereas CMYK scheme is used in printers for all types of printing material.

Want More Color Choices? Go RGB

RGB stands for Red, Green & Blue and a combination of these produces hundreds of different colors and shades. This scheme is used in display monitors and photography. The primary reason for its usage is its ability to offer a wide range of colors. More color variations mean more shades, sharp and bold color options. The RGB combination at its full intensity would appear as white whereas at its lowest intensity it would appear as black.

So Why The Printing Dilemma? Printing = CMYK

Printers use the CMYK model when printing any item and the worldwide standard for printing is conducted in Cyan, Megenta, Yellow & Black. The scheme has less color variations as compared to RGB and this is where the real difference and problem occurs. If you have used RGB scheme for your graphics and you want to print them, two things will happen, either your printed result would be the same as you expected and observed on our screen or the colors would change and you will see noticeable color changes in your printed graphics.

Why Not Use RGB Printer?

RGB printers have been recently introduced but they are not a universal standard. The main issue with RGB printers is that they are expensive and they use liquid ink which is not economical when printing in bulk. RGB printers are not commercially viable at this stage and despite their existence people still use CMYK printers.

The Solution – Convert RGB into CMYK

The simplest solution is to convert RGB into CMYK when you want to print your graphic. The same goes for converting photographs which are by default in RGB.The conversion can be done by using software application and design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. They will identify the colors that would be incompatible with CMYK and select the next best color.

Other ways include using specific color tables to identify difference in RGB & CMYK. Experienced graphics designer usually have lots of experience and understand the color differences easily.

For more interesting information on designing and other related subjects stay tuned to 4DGraphix blog.


Two types of colors variations are used in graphic designing and painting which include the CMYK & RGB. The RGB color scheme offers you more flexibility in choosing colors when it comes to graphic designing and portraying something on a screen. However when printing the same graphic the scheme changes to CMYK which has less colors and often creates problem in color matching from RGB to CMYK. The best way to avoid any issues is to ensure that you covert RGB into CMYK before printing.