Graphic design 101

As a graphic designer, the first thing you need to know is about color modes. There are various types of color modes and the most frequently used are RGB and CMYK.

We hereby present the differences between these two color modes.

RGB = Red Green Blue

CMYK = Cyan Magenta Yellow Black

RGB is used for digital media while CMYK is used for print media. What do we mean by digital media and print media? Well, whatever you see inside a screen is digital and whatever you see on paper is print. All printers use CMYK colors for printing. If you pull open a color printer, you can find 4 color cartridges containing the C,M,Y,K colors in that order. All colors in your print document are obtained by mixing certain percentage of each color.

What happens when you print an RGB file? Well, the printer converts it into CMYK and you will see a drastic color difference. For example, look at the following images. I applied the same color #00FF00 in both but the first one is in RGB and the second one is in CMYK. Notice the difference? So, if you print the first image, you will be actually getting the second image!

So, whenever we design any print media stuff (poster, brochure, visiting card and the like), we do it in CMYK mode.  That way, we will be working with the exact colors that will appear after printing. When we are designing a website or a web banner etc. we would do it in RGB mode since we are not going to print it.

CMYK consumes more space than RGB. The source files can often go upto 1 GB for one single A2 poster!

There are a lot of software packages used for design. One should also have a detailed understanding of pixels and vectors. More on these topics on a future post. Stay tuned. 🙂

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