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B.) Print colors vs. your monitor

D.)Acceptable file formats




Colors. I'm not going to go into too much detail about them because we all know what they are, but, what we will discuss is how you might not get (in print) what you saw on your computer monitor. We'll also tell you how to curve dramatic results in color variations when designing your own files for print (if we're designing the work for you, you have nothing to worry about because we won't mess up).

Now, before we go any further we need to clear some vocabulary first. Like we said, your going to sound like a pro when you talk about this stuff so pay close attention so that you understand what your talking about next time you say four color process.

RGB is the way your computer lets you see colors on the computer monitor, and it stands for the colors; Red, Green, and Blue. If you send an RGB file to print two things could happen that aren't good -you'll learn about them in the next few paragraphs.

Then we have, CMYK. CMYK is the way your design is processed, it stands for the colors; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and "K" for black. These are the four colors used when we print in "Full Color". This is also why "full color" is often reffered to as 'four color process' in our industry.

Now that you know how these terms apply to you and our FULL COLOR print services, it allows you to say things that sound like your deep in the graphic design lingo. You can say things like, "What do you think about my collateral? They're full color process... you should really check out this website, They have an awesome design group; great service, and excellent prices!"

(smiling) -nice plug huh? :P

OK. Back to class everyone.

Below is an image that illustrates the changes that occur when you have a file that was created in RGB vs. CMYK. Since the Full Color process (called four color process) utilizes a different arrangement of colors you lose brightness in the RGB image you saw on your computer monitor and the print color may be slightly different -the reason is coming up.





So, how do we get around that? First we need to understand that when we send a file to be printed it MUST be a CMYK color file not RGB. Once again, the two things that could happen are:

(1) The colors will print out; faded, too bright, and/or dull, or even worst (see #2)

(2) Your images will print out in complete Black resulting in a loss of ALL colors! (you have nothing to worry about if you let us do all the color and design managment.) CMYK is the only way our printers work is quaranteed. So, remember, the way your files look when they're in CMYK is a little closer to the way the files will look when they get printed with four color process.

A recap and what this mean to you.

It means don't let RGB files get into our hot little hands for print, unless, they're CMYK converted files because your colors will turn out faded, too bright, and/or dull OR, worst of all may result in a black and white printout -you don't want that to happen.

When your getting files ready for print or right after you designed something make sure that it looks the way you want it to. Make sure your at least close enough to what you want to see printed. The only other way to get exaclty the colors you want to see printed is to use a Pantone booklet, but I'll write about that once I get a request (remeber you can always call me to answer ANY questions). While in CMYK mode, and not using Pantone colors, remember, you might not get the EXACTLY the color you see but the difference won't be too dramatic.

All of this information supplied to you is only for your use as a guide. It may take you a few tries to get it super close but without defined Pantone colors sometimes it won't be 100% what you expected. Even when we design your files, what you see on monitor may not be the exact color you see in print.

If we're not designing your files READ ON because bleed is also very important to your final product. To those of you that are just reading this information for the fun of it -you can come too. (smiling)

<< Back to Resolution                             Bleeds >>


Did this article help you understand print colors vs. your monitor? We hope it did. Please let us know if something didn't make sense and we will be glad to better explain this complicated subject. If you ever need any help, feel free to give us a call with any questions you might have. Please ask for Carmelo at (714) 227-3055. Thank you.


Full Service Graphic Design in Orange County
"Silver Studio. Your Personal Art Department."
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