Why Don’t The Colors on My Print Job Look Like What’s on My Screen?

March 9, 2020

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Ever get a print job done where the colors look WAY different than your digital proof?

It may be that you’re looking at or have created your artwork in a RGB space? What’s that mean? Computer monitors use a vastly different method of creating colors than a printer does with ink. Monitors use RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) lights to create all the colors on your screen. The more mixture of colors, the closer you get to pure white.

Printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) inks to create all the colors. The more mixture of colors, the closer you’ll get to pure black. So as you can see it’s two very different processes that can yield very different results. Some good guidelines to ensure your printed colors are as close as possible to your digital proofs are as follows:

1) Make sure your viewing proofs in a CMYK color space file.

You should make sure that the color space of the files you’re viewing your proofs in are CMYK. These files will be the most accurate depiction of how your print will look.

2) Make sure you download the files and view them on your computer’s native image software.

Most email clients view attachments in RGB format. This means that even if your files were sent to you in CMYK, you may be previewing them in RGB and therefore not getting the most accurate depiction of what your final prints will look like.

3) Hire a professional designer

Certain colors, especially blues and purples can be very difficult to get right, so it’s important you hire a designer who has an understanding of how these color spaces work. Nothing is worst than spending time and effort to create a design, then even more money to print it, only for the final print to look completely off.


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