There are two types of color models that you need to be aware of as a graphic designer: RGB and CMYK. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the color model used for digital images and screens, while CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is the color model used for print. This article will discuss the differences between these two models and when you should use each one of them.

What are RGB and CMYK Colors, and what is the difference between them?

RGB colors are made by using the primary colors of red, green, and blue. CMYK colors are created using different primary colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
When you’re printing out your design or image, it’s essential to know which color mode to use to turn your project out the way you want it to. Here’s a quick rundown of when to use RGB vs. CMYK.

RGB is best used for digital projects, like viewing an image on your computer screen or phone. The colors in an RGB image are made by combining red, green, and blue light. This is the color mode that your camera takes pictures in.
CMYK is best used for print projects, like flyers or business cards. The colors are made by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. Professional printers use this color mode.

When should you use RGB vs. CMYK?

If you’re working on a web or digital display project, RGB is the color mode you want to use. This includes tasks like:

  • Websites
  • Images for social media
  • Online ads
  • PowerPoint presentations

On the other hand, CMYK is best suited for print projects. That’s because it uses a different color model than RGB. The “C” in CMYK stands for cyan, the “M” for magenta, the “Y” for yellow, and the “K” for black (the “K” is short for “key”).
Printers combine these four colors of ink to create all the other colors. CMYK is sometimes called “four-color printing” or “full-color printing.”
Some examples of print projects that use the CMYK color mode are:

  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Catalogs
  • Flyers
  • Posters

Keep in mind that you can always convert between RGB and CMYK. So, if you’re not sure which color mode to use, go with RGB. You can always restore your project to CMYK before sending it off to print.


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