CMYK vs RGB vs Grayscale

Production Tips & Tricks

Creating your files in the correct color space can make a big difference on how your files look when they get printed.

Grayscale. The difference between grayscale and color is pretty obvious, so telling you to be careful is odd, right? Well, if you have a grayscale image or color that gets converted to CMYK or RGB, you may end up with a slight color shift you weren’t expecting. Once you have converted your image or colors to grayscale don’t change them to something else before you send us the file or create the PDF. Leave them Grayscale for the most accurate color reproduction

CMYKCMYK vs RGB. This is where we see the biggest problem, because you can’t tell by looking. But when it comes to printing you will see a color shift if the color space is incorrect. We print everything in CMYK or spot colors, so having your colors and images in the CMYK color space is what we recommend for the best reproduction. Most RIPS (this is what we run your files through in order to make printing plates and proofs) will convert RGB to CMYK automatically, but the color tends to shift to the yellows. To avoid this, make sure your images and colors are CMYK before you make the PDF.

RGBRGB has its place in printing, just not in conventional offset printing. You can design with RGB, ONLY if you are printing off the NexPress. The Nexpress can print some of the expanded color space of RGB, so converting the images is not mandatory. But be careful, most settings used to create PDFs will automatically convert the color to CMYK. You must make sure to tell Acrobat to leave the color alone if you are staying RGB. Also, only Adobe products (InDesign, Illustrator & Photoshop) will actually print in RGB. QuarkXpress will not print in RGB, even though they claim it will.

Color Profiles. If you want to use a color profile with your images, we recommend that you use a SWOP Coated profile.

We make every effort to check your files before we print them to make sure you have the right color spaces, but we do occasionally miss a few. So try to remember to check before you send in your files.

If you have any questions, ask your CSR or salesperson they are happy to help.

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