What is CMYK?

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black) is a subtractive color model used in color printing. It creates a range of colors by subtracting light from a white background through the combination of the four primary colors. The CMYK model is designed specifically for printing, taking into account the limitations of printing technology and producing a wider range of colors compared to the RGB model used in digital displays.

CMYK File Formats

The most common file formats used for CMYK artwork are TIFF, EPS, and PDF.

  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is a lossless format that supports both CMYK and RGB color spaces.
  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is a scalable format used for vector-based artwork.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format), as a versatile format, can be used for both vector and raster artwork. It supports CMYK and RGB color models, allowing for greater flexibility and versatility in creating and printing digital documents. It is often used for printing, especially in professional settings such as advertising, graphic design, and publishing. When uncertain about the type of file the printer would prefer, PDF is a safe option.

The Importance of CMYK When Printing in PDF

The CMYK ensures that colors in the document will print correctly and accurately, providing vibrant and consistent colors for professional-quality printing.

When creating a document in CMYK, it is important to ensure that the color space is set to CMYK, as opposed to RGB. If a document is saved in the RGB color space and printed, the colors may not match what was intended and may appear washed out or dull.

For exporting a PDF document in CMYK, make sure that the resolution is at least 300 dpi (Dots Per Inch), and that all fonts are embedded in the document.