What is CMYK?

We hear the phrase CMYK on a daily basis in the print industry - but do we really know what it means and how important it is?

October 25, 2017

What is CMYK?

CMYK refers to the 4 inks used in most colour printing. Their ‘Colours’ are:

C – Cyan

M – Magenta

Y – Yellow

K – Key (Black)

Although this sometimes varies, usually ink is typically applied in the order of the abbreviation (CMYK).

CMYK is usually used for print artwork and RGB is usually used for web design.

Why is CMYK used for print?

CMYK is easier to standardise due to the spectrum of colours available when the colours are mixed. If RGB was used it would be more difficult guarantee the consistency of the colours across a print run, or even through multiple print runs.

CMYK can be monitored using software and certain equipment. This allows each printing press to be calibrated to produce a standard colour, regardless of what the machine is and what techniques it uses to print.

Converting CMYK to RGB

Converting colours on artwork that was originally created as RGB into CMYK can result in colour variations and the artwork not looking as designed.

 Before starting your artwork try to make sure the software that you are using can export your artwork with CYMK settings.

At TPH we use market leading colour management software to ensure consistent results time after time, no matter how you create your artwork. We can also provide ISO Certified colour proofs, if you are concerned about how your artwork will look when printed.

If you need any advice about using CMYK or RGB then feel free to contact a member of our team on our Social Channels linked below or via email – enquiries@theprintinghouseltd.co.uk

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