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CMYK swatch book

What’s the difference between CMYK and RGB?

Why do print files need to be CMYK?

The RGB colour spectrum is much larger than the CMYK spectrum. This means that some colours, like fluorescent orange and green, aren’t available within the CMYK spectrum. Commercial printing presses print onto white paper, so to get the best end product it’s a really good idea to convert your designs to CMYK before you send it to us. Even if you send an artwork file in that’s not set up in CMYK, we’ll automatically change it for your when we send your proof.

Setting up black for digital print

If we’re printing your project through our digital press, and you’d like to include a black background you will need to set this up as a mixture of CMYK to get the best result/rich black coverage. For example, C-40, M-40, Y-40, K-100. If the black is set up as a percentage of black only you’ll be left with a mottled grey result.

What are spot colours?

Spot colours (sometimes called solid colours) are pre-mixed inks that are used when creating printed products through litho process. As the inks are pre-mixed this means you can achieve colour results which aren’t possible through CMYK digital process e.g. metallic or bright shades, you can also achieve consistency across a number of printed products.

Unlike CMYK, spot colours can be specified using a universal reference system e.g. Pantone but you must set the colour to a spot reference in the PDF file otherwise it will be a make up of CMYK.

Helpful tip

If you supply a file which is set to RGB we’ll need to convert it to CMYK for printing, this does mean the colour will change slightly therefore, the printed result won’t be the same as shown on screen.

When to use CMYK, RGB and Spot Colours:

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