RGB vs CMYK explained

Why Colors Are Less Bright When Printed Than on the Screen

You have probably seen many times that the colors printed on a material are very different from those you saw on the monitor primarily. This is because the colors on the monitor are displayed using LEDs. On the contrary, colors on paper or fabric are real inks that are mixed together. That is why they are less bright and vibrant.

Compare the two photos below – how the image looks on the screen and how it looks when printed.

Let’s now go further into the matter.

How Colors Are Displayed on the Screen

Any image on the screen is composed of three colors – red, green and blue. If you have an old computer or laptop, you can even look closely and see LEDs of these three colors. To get other colors, red, green and blue are mixed together in different proportions. This color mixing model is called RGB (for Red, Green and Blue).

How Colors Appear When Printed

In printing, people use another color scheme, CMYK. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black). This means that when you need a photo to be printed on paper or fabric, it will be composed of these colors.

Why Images Are Brighter on the Screen

Computer LEDs emit light, and are thus brighter than light reflected from physical materials.

Moreover, paints are mixed differently. So if you mix all three colors of the RGB model – red, green and blue – the screen will become white. If there are no colors on the monitor, the screen is black.

On paper (or fabric) , it is the other way around. If there is no color, then the sheet of paper remains white. And if you apply a lot of paints, then the sheet will become almost black.

If you want to know how your image will look when printed and get a predictable result, you need to convert it from one color model to another (RGB to CMYK).

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Tell us about your business and company and how you want your future print image to look. We guarantee high-quality results in the shortest possible time.

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