The Differences Between RGB, CMYK & Pantone Colors

difference between RGB and CMYK

CMYK, RGB And Pantone For Print Marketing

Using the right colors in your print collateral is a vital part of creating valuable marketing materials that connect with your audience and work to build a connection. It is important to choose your colors carefully to fit the structure of your project. Knowing the difference between ink types is an important part of choosing colors that have the right effect on your audience. Below, we will provide an overview of the important differences between RGB, CMYK, and Pantone to give you a better understanding of these different ink types.


The RGB Color Model

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Most digital images are produced using these primary colors, such as those on your computer screen or digital camera. The RGB color model is a light additive color model. This means that colors are added together to create lighter colors. When you combine 100% red, green, and blue, you will get an absolute white. However, combining different combinations will result in other colors. For instance, when red and green are added together, you get yellow. Red and blue produce magenta, and green and blue make cyan.


The RGB Color Model is perfect for so many businesses


The CMYK Color Model

CMYK stands for the four ink colors that are applied during the printing process: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. The CMYK color model is subtractive, which means that in order to get lighter colors, the ink needs to be removed. Most at-home printers, high end color laser printers, and industrial offset presses use CMYK ink colors. During the printing process, the printer will use mixtures of all four colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) while printing different colors.


The Pantone® Matching System Color Model

Pantone (PMS) colors are associated with a color matching system. Conventional printers use the Pantone Matching System to recreate colors and artwork by creating inks in distinct shades. Some colors are difficult to produce during the printing process. For example, some shades of orange and green can be time consuming to reproduce. The Pantone Matching System makes for a consistent color match.


Important Considerations for Ink Types

It is important to consider the difference between these color models when creating designs. Colors will appear completely different on your computer monitor than they will on printed material. In addition, no two display screens will show colors completely the same. This makes the design and printing processes a bit more complex when it comes to choosing colors.

Graphic designers will typically use Pantone colors as a reference point because the colors on the computer screen are not identical to those on the printed page. Then they will convert the Pantone shades to either RGB or CMYK, depending on whether the design will be in a digital format, such as a webpage, or a printed format like mailers or printed ads.

If the print project requires colors that are an exact match, then Pantone colors will be used and processed as a fifth color on the printing press. However, it is important to note that this will raise the costs of the printing project. Retaining Pantone colors during printing requires extra plates as well as additional time and effort in setting up and washing up. Companies should consider the additional costs along with their printing budget before deciding on an identical color match for their print projects.

Now that you know a little bit more about the different ink types and how they can affect the printing process, you can make more informed decisions about your print collateral design.

difference between RGB and CMYK

Contact Ballantine for Print Marketing Support

If you need help choosing the right ink colors or creating printing designs that evoke the right emotions, our team is ready to help. The marketing experts at Ballantine can take care of the design and print work for you so that you don’t have to worry about everything looking great. Call us today for more information: (973) 928-7271.