If you have any issues with the way color is turning out in your print projects, we are sure it’s because you may not know the difference between CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) and RGB (red, green, blue) color models. To put it simply, RGB is best for websites and digital communications, whereas CMYK is better for print materials. Why is this? We will show you the color models: CMYK vs. RGB.


RGB is an additive color model, combining all of the primary colors to make white and using black as the absence of light. Using a magnifying glass to look at pixels on a digital monitor, you will be able to see one of three colors. As more colors merge, the combination creates white.

CMYK is the opposite; it is a subtractive color model that uses white as the natural color and black as a combination of all of the colored inks. Colored ink is turned into pigments or dyes in print mediums, then transferred to paper, creating tiny dot combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. As more colors merge, the combination colors create black.

Furthermore, CMYK cannot produce all of the colors that RGB has. In order to achieve a successful print project with minimal color issues, if your print project was designed using the RGB color model, you will need to convert it to CMYK color model. Failing to convert colors will allow the printer to automatically adjust it for you instead.

We Can Help!

CPC Printing & Promotions is a commercial printing company that specializes in magazine, catalog, and direct mailer services in Wisconsin and all over the Midwest. We handle everything from prepress to post production finishing and mailing. Call us at (608) 781-1050 for more information about CMYK vs. RGB or request a quote here.