What does CMYK stand for?
CMYK is a very popular color model also known as a four color process, and is a subtractive color model. CMYK is used both in color printing in general, and also to refer to the printing procedure itself. The name refers to the four colored inks used in the color printing which are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
Since this process achievers the color by subtracting colors rather than adding to them it is called a subtractive method. This is in direct contrast to RGB which is an additive color model. In other words the colors are achieved by adding something, not subtracting something else. Both color methods yield great results and each have their own uses.
Most t-shirt printers are able to work with either format but it is usually preferable to send in the artwork you would like to get printed in the most appropriate format possible. For this reason it is never a bad idea to ask the printer which color model they prefer. Not only does this make it easier for your screen printer, but it also prevents problems such as the screen printer needing to convert the artwork into another format and choosing a color which isn't exactly what you wanted. Another option that designers have for selecting their print colors is to check the Pantone Color Chart, also known as the PMS color chart, and to select their print colors from that.
It is a good idea to check with your printer to see what format they prefer the artwork in and how you should let them know what print colors you want to use. This will not only be more precise and prevent misunderstandings but it could also save you money since some printers charge for making these modifications. In all cases there are lots of great resources out there to help you if you are unsure or unfamiliar with what you are doing.
Here at You Design It we prefer RGB colors to CMYK and are always happy to match whatever PMS ink color you would like. However, we don't charge extra fees for making these changes if necessary. That means that our customers actually don’t have to worry a great deal about their color format. If you are unsure of what to do, just send us the artwork and we’ll take care of the rest.
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- Why does the K stand for black in CMYK?