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Print Color & Digital Color

  • 2 min read

Digital Color vs. Printed Color

In today's digital world, it's easy to assume that digital color is the same as printed color, but this assumption can lead to mistakes that can impact the quality of the final printed materials. Understanding the importance of digital color vs. printed color is essential for ensuring that printed materials are of the highest quality. In this article, we will outline the differences between digital color and printed color and why it matters when working with a commercial print company.

Digital color refers to color that is displayed on a digital screen, such as a computer monitor, smartphone, or tablet. Digital color is created using the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color model. In contrast, printed color refers to color that is created by inks or toners on paper or other substrates. Printed color uses the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) color model.

The RGB color model is known for producing bright and vibrant colors that are ideal for digital screens, but it doesn't always translate well to print. This is because digital screens use light to create color, while printed materials use inks or toners that absorb or reflect light. Because of this fundamental difference, digital colors can look different when printed on paper.

The CMYK color model, on the other hand, is specifically designed for printing and is known for producing rich and vibrant colors on paper. When printing on a commercial press, the ink is applied in layers, allowing for the creation of a wider range of colors compared to what is possible with RGB. When designing for print, it's essential to ensure that the colors used are in the CMYK color space to ensure consistency between what is seen on screen and what is printed.

Why it Matters with Commercial Printing

Commercial printers use advanced printing technology capable of producing high-quality prints, however, the quality of the final printed piece can be compromised if the colors used are not in the CMYK color space or aren't suited for printing. In some cases, colors that look great on screen may not match expectations when printed. This is where proper communication between the print company and the client becomes crucial.

To ensure that the final printed pieces meet the client's expectations, we've developed a straight-forward proofing process which ensures that your proofs are approved by you before being sent to production. However, this proofing process uses digital soft PDF proofs. Please keep this information in mind as you work with the colors used for branding, hex codes, etc. If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss your color expectations, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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