CMYK Explained

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CMYK Explained


I’ve lost count on the amount of times a day I use the word CMYK, but what does this even mean? Well if you’re in the promotional goods industry in means a great deal. CMYK really is the king of colour in the printing world. This 4 lettered abbreviation stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) used to darken the primary colours. The use of the letter K refers to the black Key plates that are used during the process. The CMYK model also known as the four colour process mixes colours and shades to create an eye catching logo using vivid colour reproductions that makes your branding pieces’ standout.

Unlike many other colour processes the CMYK process works on the premise of subtractive colour, because adding coloured inks to white paper “subtracts” brightness from the paper.

The model uses semi- transparent colours to layer together during the printing process. The effect is radiant, detailed, solid shades. Four colour printing allows you to create thousands of different shades to maximise your marketing potential. Using half-toning allows you to print tiny dots of the four colours in varying amounts in a small pattern, tricking the eye into seeing a particular colour.

On large orders you may wonder why you are advised to get a sample proof created during pre-production, this is because on projects where the CMYK process is gone through, the image generated on screen will be slightly different to the finished product, this is because the image generated by your computer  uses the process of RGB (Red, Green and Blue), but let’s not confuse matters further and we’ll explain that in a later post. Key thing to remember is that your screen generates an approximation of what will be printed.

To avoid any changes in colour during production, try designing your artwork in CMYK – or changing it into CMYK before submitting it!

Get in touch today on 0161 222 8981 if you’d like to know more.



Written by, Zainab Yassin


Paper Magic


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