RGB or CMYK for Printing?

Have you ever get confused with RBG and CMYK?  If you are a graphic design beginner or have never done Artwork for printings before, you need to know this!


As we all know that colors affect your mood and your impression of a brand, that’s a reason why you should know the color system such as RGB and CMYK color system. In this article, we will explain the difference between RGB and CMYK, also how to convert RGB to CMYK in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

RGB or CMYK for Printing?

What RGB and CMYK stand for?


RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, It is the color that shows on the digital screen such as Computer, Laptop, Phone, Television and so on. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Green, and Black, It is used for printing.


Why we use CMYK for printing?


The reason is that CMYK has a minimum final size at 300dpi which can create the sharpest or the truest colors for your quality print. Since, Most printers will automatically convert RGB to CMYK on the file, without you knowing it.

If you’ve designed your entire file to RGB, the colors may shift converting to CMYK which might need a lot of editing to correct and it won’t see exactly specific colors you’ve designed. If this case, if you want to design the Artwork by yourself, don’t forget to set the color mode to CMYK first. The only way that you don’t need to convert the color mode to CMYK is when you only use 1 color with Reflex Blue or Standard Red spot colors. Sometimes, you might need to choose darker tone to get to the exact soft color you want for example you want the light blue on your Name card then, you need one shade or two shades darker than the light blue you want.

RGB picture

What is RGB?


RGB can only be used with all digital or website content online since the color system is based upon the interaction of red, green and blue light which rely on the Computer screens and televisions.

The reason we don’t use RGB in Printing…

On the screens are combining RGB colored light creates lighter colors since CMYK is a subtractive color model because the printed ink reduces the light. However, on print materials, colors are different from how they are made on a computer monitor. You can also see the different the colors on different computer screens for example Window screens and Macbook screen. If we choose RGB format before printing them, it might be caused discrepancies in color. So, don’t forget to convert to CMYK colors before sending your artwork.


How to convert RGB to CMYK?


No need to download a new program to convert the color mode since we already have on the computer.

Adobe Illustrator: File > Document Color Mode > CMYK color

Adobe Photoshop: Image > Mode > CMYK color

To get a better quality printing, never forget to convert the color mode first before printing especially if you downloaded the pictures from other websites.