What’s the difference between CMYK printing and RGB printing in making a hang tag?

CMYK and RGB are two different color models used in printing, each with its own purpose and characteristics. The main difference between CMYK printing and RGB printing lies in the color spaces they represent and their intended applications.

CMYK Printing: CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). It is a subtractive color model primarily used in the printing industry. CMYK printing is used for producing physical prints like hang tags, brochures, magazines, and other printed materials.

In CMYK printing, colors are created by combining different percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks on the printing substrate, typically white paper. The subtractive nature of CMYK means that the more ink is applied, the darker the resulting color. CMYK inks absorb light, and the combination of all four inks should ideally produce a neutral black.

RGB Printing: RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. It is an additive color model primarily used in electronic displays such as computer screens, televisions, and mobile devices. RGB printing is not commonly used for physical prints like hang tags but is more suitable for on-screen applications.

In RGB, colors are created by emitting various intensities of red, green, and blue light. The additive nature of RGB means that combining all three primary colors at full intensity produces white light. RGB color space has a broader gamut and can represent a wider range of colors than CMYK.

When preparing artwork for print, it is essential to consider the color model used by the printing process. Hang tags and other print materials are typically produced using CMYK printing. Therefore, it is generally recommended to create artwork in CMYK color mode to ensure accurate color reproduction on the printed hang tags.

If artwork designed in RGB is directly used for CMYK printing, there may be a noticeable difference in color appearance. RGB colors that are outside the CMYK color gamut cannot be accurately reproduced, leading to a shift in color. To avoid such issues, it’s best to work in the appropriate color mode and convert RGB images to CMYK before sending them to the printer.


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