RGB or CMYK colors, what's the difference?

Who I am
Aina Prat
Author and references


You have surely heard of colorimetric modes, RGB et CMYK. But do you know what the difference is?

Choosing the wrong mode can have a big impact on the printed renderings of your designs. So let's go over the details.

RGB or CMYK what's the difference?

1. On the image below you can see the same colors but in a different colorimetric mode.

As you can see the colors RGB (Red, Green, Blue) are more intense compared to the colors CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).

Different color modes

2. RVB Mode

This is the most commonly used mode. It is ideal for display on screen, for the Web for example

An RGB image is made up of three color layers: red, green, and blue. In fact each pixel of an RGB image is a mixture of these three layers in different proportions: a certain amount of red, blue or green (from 0 to 255).

The combination of these three layers makes it possible, by additive synthesis, to obtain all the other colors.

The mixture of the 3 colors creates White.

RGB color mixing

3. CMJN mode

CMYK is the color mode used in printing.
It is four-color, so 4 colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black which allow you to obtain an ideal rendering for your prints.

The cyan, magenta and yellow alone are not enough to properly make the color, so the addition of black is needed. CMYK is the color mode for all that is related to printing to ensure an outcome that will satisfy you.

Mixing CMYK colors

> How to convert your RGB document to CMYK and vice versa.

The RGB mode is therefore more intended for all your creations that will be viewed on a screen (web, mobile, display, computer) and the CMYK mode for all your work that will be printed (Flyer, brochure, brochure, logo, banners)

ILLUSTRATOR you are passionate about and you want Learn More ?
Come and discover the complete Illustrator Initiation training.
More than 10 hours of videos, creations and practice.
-20% for all Expertsconnecting readers.

add a comment of RGB or CMYK colors, what's the difference?
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.