When it comes to the marketing world, the use of colour plays a very important part of a brand’s communicative prowess. Colour makes an ad, banner, website or flyer pop, grab a reader’s attention, and paints (excuse the pun) a brand in a positive light. When working with colours for print or for digital display, there is an important distinction between two types of colour systems; namely RGB and CMYK. Graphic designers and printing companies alike will all tell you that the difference between them is important, and here are the reasons why.

Why it’s Important to Know the Difference

Before we delve deeply into the significant differences between CMYK and RGB, lets first discuss the importance of knowing the difference between the two. One (RGB) is used primarily in the creation of digital graphics, while the other (CMYK) is used for print media. The difference between the two systems is so substantial, in fact, that designers generally prefer to work within the confines of their chosen system right from the start. Making mistakes in this regard can result in a graphic with colours that do not translate at all, often turning out with an unwanted tint of green, blue or red.

What is CMYK?

CMYK is the standard colour system chosen for digital printing. The colours are thusly broken down as follows:

C: Cyan



K: Key or Black

By using a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black, digital (and even press) printers can create a whole plethora of other colours. These four primary ones, however, are the staple. Therefore, in order for a print to come out exactly as intended, the design needs to relay the colour information to the printer in a form that it can recognise, specifically with the combination of these four colours as they are the ones that the printer will use. Using RGB in the design may result in a print where the colours did not properly translate, where some, if not all of the colours will be inaccurate.

What is RGB?

RGB is the standard for digital displays and may include websites, digital graphics, display advertising and even television and film. If you have ever looked closely at a TV or computer screen, you can actually see how these three colours line up to create an image through pixels.

In this particular system, there are three colours:

R: Red

G: Green

B: Blue

By digitally mixing pixels with these colours in them, a display can also result in a massive range of 32bit colours. However, if CMYK is used instead of RGB for digital colouring, there is a high chance that the colours wont translate correctly.

Contact Letralith Printers When You Need Prints

Setting up the right colour system even before you start your design will ensure that the image comes out exactly as intended when it is either published on digital media or printed. If you would like to know more about our digital printing services in Alberton, be sure to contact a representative from Letralith Printers, or visit our website for additional details.

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