We all know that color models are a multi-color creation system with the help of layers of RGB (Green, Red, and Blue) or CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Keyed black) colors. The climate we use the subtractive model that reduces light (CMYK) or the additive color model that transmits light (RGB) in our various uses, we have to know the effective use of them. And here, we are talking about the effective use of the CMYK color model that is used in printing.

We have a little discussion on how we can use; rather, what should matter to us when using the CMYK color scheme. I have put together a few points for you.

Effects of Colors

At the moment when we are thinking of a less bright color effect, we have to use the CMYK color scheme or model. We have to take into account the proper combination of cyan, magenta, and yellow to create black, which will result in the subtraction of light.

We must be very careful when thinking about creating multiple colors with the CMYK color model. We know that without halftones (use of dots in color printing), only the seven main colors (rainbow) come out. Therefore, the proper layering of cyan, magenta, and yellow must be done with black in the entire process.

It is observed the effects of gradation when the colored layers are placed on top of each other. The moment one color is placed on another, the angle of the grids must be taken into account, or fuzzy lines will appear. Graphic designers should mention the angle of the grids as (C-100 °, M-15 °, Y-0 °, K-45 °) or any other.

To obtain the “Serif font” effect, the proper use of black is necessary when printing is in the CMYK color scheme or model. It’s only because the edgy effects of the serif font are so sharp and the wrong combination of cyan, yellow, magenta, and less use of black can never produce the smooth edges.

Did you care about black printing in the CMYK color model? Actually, the combination of 100% cyan, magenta, and yellow produces black but “brown-black.” So why not use a little extra black to produce the deep black? Because black color is much cheaper than other colors.


These are factors that go into the effective use of the CMYK color scheme model. We should care when we think of banners, brochures, flexible layouts. We are going to get those designs as computer-generated files that are going to be transformed from RGB to CMYK color scheme model. And not to mention that the color effects will be different when the prints are on the prints. Therefore, you should create your designs from experienced graphic designers who know well and provide specifications for the colors in use, taking into account the print impression in the CMYK color model.

Let’s look at some basics about what color is and its perception. We could define color as the specific wavelength of the light reflected by the observed surface and captured by the human eye.

As Sir Isaac Newton discovered in the 17th century, white light can be divided into several different colors (by a ray of sunlight passing through a prism, after other strange experiments like sticking a needle into the eye.)

Surfaces will reflect wavelengths and retain others, so the reflected wavelength is the light that we see on the surface. Visible light has what are called three primary colors, which are red, green, and blue. They are called primaries because by combining these three colors, you can create the entire spectrum of tones.

And now, the important thing, what happens when you combine all the colors? In visible light, if you mix all together, you get the white light back, and that’s why visible light is known an “additive color system.” If you like me when you were a child, and you liked to mix paints and colors and get your clothes dirty with them, your memories will bring a concept to what explained when mixed all the paints that we did not get. White, to our despair, our painted clothes did not become whiter; on the contrary, they were more of a brownish, blackish color.

Why does the pigment in my paints turn black instead of white? Because the surface of the pigment holds lighter than it returns, as we add more and more pigment, less light is returned, thus obtaining a black reflection.

We can approach the two best-known color systems in graphic design.

CMYK is a subtractive color system, and that reason is suitable for printing as pigments have this subtractive behavior. While painters use the basic colors wheel as a guide for mixing colors, printing ink uses another set of primary colors: magenta, cyan, yellow, and black. In this theory, cyan, magenta, and yellow should be able to produce black, but the mix is ​​not rich enough to create a wide and vivid tonal range; for the reason, black is added to mix, forming what is known as “four-color process. “Therefore, from a designer’s point of view, you should use this color system when your project is intended for printing, such as letterheads, business cards, or other stationery.

RGB is on the other additive system, therefore ideal for on-screen use. The combination of different percentages of Green, Red, and Blue can generate the entire spectrum of tones, with 100% of each primary color generating white (with the same logic, 0% of each one generates black). Therefore, RGB is a good system when working on web design projects, logos for web or screen use only, and any other image on the screen.

There will be cases where a graphic designer, you will need to provide solutions for both conditions (screen printing and printing) as a brand project. In those cases, I provide my client in the style guide with a palette with the CMYK and RGB values ​​that best suit the chosen color.

Category: Technology
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