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Differences in colors

The colors on the screen of the device you are browsing our product designs are displayed in the RGB color space, while the color palette used for printing is in the CMYK color space.


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What are they?

The RGB and CMYK color palettes have different color components. The RGB palette consists of three light beams - red, green, and blue, while the CMYK palette consists of colors known as cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (often represented as "k"). By mixing three or four colors from the CMYK or RGB palettes, you can obtain all other colors, counting in millions of shades. However, the color gamuts, which can be imagined as the set of all possible colors within the CMYK and RGB palettes, are different. Some colors achievable in the CMYK palette are impossible to achieve in RGB, and vice versa.

The CMYK palette uses 4 colors to achieve all other colors. CMYK colors are referred to as process colors used in printing. In theory, they should be consistent in every case, but in practice, this is not always the case. The final output depends on the device used for printing, printing technology, printer profiles, and various other factors. As a result, achieving identical colors, especially when printing on solvent printers, can be challenging. In other words, colors printed on different solvent printers may be similar, but they will never be identical.

What is the effect?

Colors of finished products will almost always be different from the colors visible on a monitor screen. Monitor screens vary in their display panels, color calibration, and settings. The same image may have different colors depending on the monitor or smartphone screen on which it is viewed. To verify this, one can simply open our online store on a mobile phone and compare the colors to those displayed on a computer screen. Sometimes, the differences can be quite significant. It's important to note that the colors seen on screens are displayed in the RGB color space, and only proper screen calibration can result in similar color representation on multiple correctly calibrated monitors. When converting to the CMYK color space, the differences may become even more noticeable. The brightness of the screen also plays a role in color perception. Even on the same devices, colors may appear differently due to varying screen brightness. In summary, various factors, including monitor calibration, screen type, color spaces used, and screen brightness, all contribute to the variations in color perception between screens and the finished printed products.

A simple example illustrating the difficulty in reproducing colors is a white sheet of paper, which, when placed against a screen with a white background, such as a text editor like Notepad, will appear to have a different shade of white than the one displayed on the screen. Despite the initial perception that both whites should be identical.

What does it matter?

The color of the product you receive may not perfectly match what you see on your monitor screen, but it will be as close as possible. These differences arise from various factors, such as:

  • depending on the type of substrate used for the print and the base color on which the color is printed, using the same CMYK color set can result in different color outcomes;
  • the lighting in which you view the product will affect how colors appear. Colors can look different under natural daylight compared to artificial lighting;
  • the choice of printing inks and production time can also impact the final colors. Even if using the same CMYK ink set from the same supplier, ink batches may vary depending on the production cycle, resulting in slight color differences. Therefore, obtaining exactly the same color as a previous order may be impossible, but we strive to achieve very close or identical matches, although precise color replication cannot be guaranteed;
  • devices and browsers on which you view our products may display different shades of theoretically the same colors depending on your monitor settings;

What now?

Absolutely, you are correct. It doesn't mean that you won't be able to order our products in a specific color. If you see a color on your screen that can be described as, for example, "yellow," the product will indeed be in the color "yellow." However, it might not be the exact same shade of "yellow" that you saw on your device's screen. The product will be in the general color category, but slight variations in hue can occur due to the factors mentioned earlier. Rest assured that we aim to provide the closest match possible to the colors displayed on your screen.

In simple terms, the monitor emits colors in the RGB color space, while the print is in the CMYK color space and is physically produced on a specific medium, such as film. Therefore, it will never be identical