Starry Eyes Media

RGB vs. CMYK: What’s the difference?

RGB Color Mode Picture of Cecelia

Are you interested in learning more about Graphic Design? If you’ve ever messed with your artwork settings in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, then you’ve probably seen the various color mode choices. You can choose between RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, etc. But what does it all mean? Knowing the right choice when beginning your design project can save you a lot of stress and heartache. If you’re planning on having something professionally printed, it could also save your ears from burning!

Grayscale Mode

Grayscale is pretty self-explanatory – you pull all the color from your image or graphic, leaving you with black and white. But what in the world do RGB and CMYK mean? What difference does it make? Does it matter which one I choose? The answer is yes, it does matter. Let’s talk about why.

RGB Color Mode

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. These colors are blended to reproduce a broad spectrum of colors. This color mode is used on TV screens, computer screens, and other forms of digital media use to make the colors come across correctly to the audience’s eye.

CMYK Color Mode

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (or black). This color mode is used strictly for printing and often references the printing process itself. Commercial printers (and even home printers) are made up of these four ink colors. Similar to RGB, these colors are blended in print to produce a broad spectrum of colors.

These two color modes will never look like the other because they’re made up of two entirely different color scales. If you’re designing something for digital media, like your website, Facebook, or any other digital ads, be sure to use RGB to ensure the colors come up correctly to your audience. For all other things, like print collateral, be sure to use CMYK!

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Starry Eyes Media specializes in graphic design and can offer more guidance. Want to learn more about what we can do? Contact us today!

Meet Cecelia


RGB vs. CMYK: What’s the difference?

by | Aug 18, 2017 | Learning, Print Design, Web Design

Cecelia is the Technical Director and Founder at Starry Eyes. Since 2015, Cecelia has put much of her focus into helping businesses in the mountains of Appalachia. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking up vegan and vegetarian dishes and studio artwork. Cecelia specializes in portrait art, specifically colored pencils, and even has experience etching into black granite by hand.