VSM Blog

RGB, Yeah, You Know Me

Understanding colour can help a client envision what is happening to your website design or catalogue when it is being designed, and help ensure the most client satisfaction. When you know the basics of what your designer is working with when it comes to producing your branded item, it gives you the ability to protect your brand and make sure it is coming across how you want it to.

Here is a quick rundown of the difference between RGB and CMYK colours. In short, the RGB colour scheme is for digital outputs, and the CMYK colour process is for printing.

RGB - Digital outputs, like your television or your computer monitor, use red, green, and blue light, combined in different strengths to produce colours or, when combined totally, to produce white light for your screen.

CMYK - Stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Yes, 'k' is for black. They didn't want to use 'b' in case it is confused with 'blue'. And don't ask me who 'they' are; it just happened that way. The printing world uses CMYK because these colours work best when combined in different strengths to print out colours on paper. Printing these inks on paper results in our eyes perceiving light reflected off the page, and we see colour. The inks on the page are actually absorbing the light that shines on the page. Neat, huh?

A good tip for a lot of clients is to request your RGB and CMYK values from your marketing firm or graphic designers you work with. If your logo or brand uses one or two specific colours, don't leave it up to chance that you'll be getting those colours right 100 per cent of the time; especially if you're ever needing to switch marketing firms. Having your RGB and CMYK values for your company colours ensures that you will be able to reproduce the same colours across your web pages or online media (RGB) and print items (CMYK). It's also helpful to understand that colour changes across media. Your RGB colour on the screen may look different when transitioned to the same CMYK colour combination for print.


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