About Two Color Systems: RGB Vs CMYK

Whether you are a designer and creating designs for your clients or you are just starting to read about graphic design tutorials, you may notice that there are two different color systems: RGB and CMYK.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue and CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Here “K” is refers to Black because K means Key and in the printing processes, the Black plates has been called “Key plates”.

RGB system uses brightness levels via liquid crystal diode (LCD) and cathode ray tube (CRT) which are being used by Computer monitors and Televisions. They have 256 brightness levels which define by 0 to 255 color codes. 0 means “Black” and 255 means “White”. By mixing these two codes, there are over 16 million color potentials (actually 16,777,216 colors).

As RGB is more suitable for Digital, you can create designs with RGB systems for Email designs, Internet/website designs, Designs for CD/DVD files, Office/Home printers and for all digital files. RGB allows easy on-screen color manipulation and it can also be convert to CMYK easily on design software like Photoshop. RGB system’s weakness is that your design will lose its quality when RGB is converted to CMYK.

On the other hand, CMYK system uses color dots to cover light wave lengths. 100 percent of black dots means solid black so 0 percent means pure white. Because the system uses dots for combining colors, it can only create 1 million color variants. CMYK uses the physical colored ink so it’s suitable for posters, billboards, glossies, business cards, brochures and leaflets, and other types of traditional print media. One thing to be careful about this color system, the color may be different according to the paper used to print the design. The system uses physical colored inks to print so you have to pay for buying those inks.

There is also one color system you may not notice. It’s called subtractive color system, Red-Yellow-Blue.
Most artists recognize red, yellow and blue as the 3 basic primary colors. These primaries are the pure colors which cannot be created by mixing any other colors. Secondary hues are the result of mixing any of the two primaries. Tertiary colors result from mixing the secondary hues.

Win Nu

I work for Pixellion as the Manager, and manage several other design projects. Nothing Special. Very simple life.

Yangon, Myanmar

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