RGB vs CMYK: Difference and Comparison

When you are setting up a print job for your business, there are many different kinds of files you need to send to the printing company. The file types are RGB, CYMK, PDF, and TIFF.

Choosing the right printer for your business can be challenging. Each printer has different requirements and uses, and it is essential to know the difference between these terms to make the most of it.

Key Takeaways

    • RGB (red, green, blue) is an additive color model used in digital displays, while CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key/black) is a subtractive color model used in print.RGB colors are created by combining different amounts of light, whereas CMYK colors are created by mixing various amounts of ink or pigments.RGB has a wider color gamut than CMYK, which can reproduce a larger range of colors.

RGB vs Wide CYMK

RGB and CYMK differ because they are two different colour schemes. RGB is an additive colour as colours produce a brighter result with light, but CMYK counts as a subtractive model, where you need to add more ink instead of light for a darker result.

RGB vs Wide CYMK

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, the primary light colours. In other words, they are the colours with complete light waves, while the different colours need more than one light wave to create.


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RGB colour is used in most LCD monitors and TVs to display images. RGB is a common standard. Computers and televisions, as do digital cameras and printers, use RGB colours to show images.

By definition, CMYK is an acronym that stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). This is the four-colour printing process used to create the colours you see when reading a book or newspaper.

Cyan, Magenta, and yellow are complementary colours. This means that when combined, they can produce all of the colours in the visible spectrum.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRGBCMYK
Full-FormCYMK is the abbreviation for the Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key colour scheme.Colour Variation
This colour scheme offers more color combinations. This colour scheme offers fewer color combinations.The quality of the pictures is not as good as those in CYMK.
Cost of PrintingWith an RGB printer, the cost of printing is higher.With a CYMK printer, the cost of printing is lesser.
QualityThe quality of pictures is not as good as those in CYMK.The quality of pictures is better than RGB.
Best ForIt is best for computer and device screens.It is best for printing purposes.

What is RGB?

RGB is a model used to produce print media. RGB is a colour model used in computer monitors and televisions. RGB stands for red, green, and blue.

For example, if you want to make a specific pixel red, it will mix the red colour to the right proportions and then display it on the screen.

RGB is a colour model used in electronic systems such as televisions. The ‘R’ represents the red light, and the ‘B’ represents the blue light. ‘G’ represents an additive mixture of both red and green light.

RGB is the most common colour model used in digital cameras. The reason is that storing data in RGB is simpler and more cost-effective than in other models such as CMYK.

The red, green, and blue light projectors use to create images on a screen is called RGB. That’s how the projector converts the image into pixels. Each pixel is made of red and blue light or green and blue light.

The combination allows for millions of colours on the screen. This is why you might see artefacts or blurry images – the pictures are not being created correctly, or the light is not working.


What is CYMK?

When it comes to printing, you have a lot of different options to choose from. One of the most the types of printing is called the four-colour process (4CP).

It’s called that way because you need four colours to create the finished product. Those colours are cyan, yellow, Magenta, and key (black).

The letters “C,” “Y,” “M,” and “K” are the short form of the colour cyan, yellow, Magenta, and black, respectively. These four colours are used to print documents, photographs, and even web pages.

Since they are the base colours, they are also the base of the RGB colour model.

When these four colours are used together, they are called CMYK. CMYK is the standard printing machine ink colour used to print colour pictures and documents.

Cyan is one of the three primary colours used in computer displays. This is the blue-green colour that is often associated with technology. It is also used to represent water and the sky in maps.

Cyan and Magenta create most colours in the document, leaving Yellow and Black to fill in the gaps. These are the colours in your typical computer printer cartridge.


Main Differences Between RGB and CYMK

  1. RGB and CYMK are two different types of colour printing. RGBs are made from light, and CYMK is made from light and ink.
  2. RGB is better for computers and cell phones because it is capable of producing more colours than CYMK with the use of light.
  3. RGB is the colour model used in digital imaging and on the internet. This means that computers and phones use RGB to make all their colours.
  4. Computer monitors, scanners, and cameras use red, green, and blue (RGB) light to display colourwork while printing presses work with cyan, Magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink.
  5. RGB colour scheme works with the transmission of light, while CYMK colour scheme works with the reflection of light.
Difference Between RGB and CMYK


  1. https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/journals/Journal-of-Electronic-Imaging/volume-8/issue-4/0000/Evaluation-of-lossless-compression-techniques-for-high-resolution-RGB-and/10.1117/1.482709.short
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2343483.2343484
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