Diffrent Clours

Why Should We Change RGB to CMYK for Print Projects?

At EnvironPrint, we run a 7 color press that utilizes the colors CMYK+OGB.  What this means for you?   Having an expanded color gamet allows a more color correct print.  Utilizing the additional colors allows us to match almost 96% of the Pantone Color chart.   While RGB mixes on your standard printer can expand your color color gamet, images and mixes tend to come through oversaturated.    Running in CMYK Allows us to stay in line with color standards and also allows targeting PMS inks a breeze!  Try Hitting a PMS 021 on a CMYK Press.  Not going to happen!  But with our proecess we can nail it!

When you are putting together a job for printing, it is recommended that you change your art form a RGB format to a CMYK format to avoid any color inaccuracy issues.  The  majority of printers for both home and commercial use utilize a different color model for electronic display devices such as the screen on your laptop to your tablet or phone.

Computer monitors utilize a RGB (red, green, and black) color model, which is best at getting a wide range of dynamic colors on to a dark screen.  On the other hand, printers tend to use a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and “key color” black) since majority of paper materials and cardstocks are lightly colored or white.  Changing your color model to CMYK allows you to get an approximation of the final color that will be on prints.  This preview allows you to make revisions to the color before they are printed in case you don’t particularly like how they look.  However, the color appears on your computer screen may be different than what is printed based on how the monitor has been calibrated.  You may even notice that if you have two monitors that are different brands, your art will preview differently from one to the next.   


What Happens if you Don’t Change from  RGB to CMYK before going to production? 

If you don’t go through the steps of changing your artfiles from RGB to CMYK before printing, your printer will automatically make the switch.  While this sounds like an easy solution, it can prevent a huge color issue for you in the long run.  As you have been viewing your files on sceen in an RGB space, you could be highly disappointed with your print outcome when the color is converted.   Its always best to view your files in the color space they will print in so you have no surprised when the pacages show up at your door!    The color discrepencies you will see tend to be more obvious on large format materials such as posters and imagery.   Its always best to do your apples to apples check when it comes to your file on screen vs what your printer would produce. 

If the design app you are using allows you to start a project in CMYK, it can end up being very helpful in the long run.  Converting from RGB to CMYK at the end of the design process can result in a huge shift in color that will take even more time to fix.  So Rule of Thumb, stick to CMYK for your package printing design needs.   

Below are the necessary steps on how to change RGB to CMYK on popular art editing software such as Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe Illustrator CS6, Corel Draw, QuarkXPress 8, and Microsoft Office Publisher.  Test these out and you can see the difference on screen first hand to see how you could protentially run into a huge problem with your output if you are approving and viewing your art in RGB!


How to Change RGB to CMYK in art files:


Adobe Photoshop CS6

  1. On the menu bar, choose “Objects”
  2. Next, select “Image”
  3. Choose “Mode”
  4. Find and click on “CMYK Color”


Adobe Illustrator CS6

  1. Choose “Objects” on the menu bar
  2. Select the “Edit” option
  3. Choose and click “Edit Colors”
  4. Find and click on “Convert to CMYK”


QuarkXPress 8

Quark recommends exporting to PDF as the best way to change RGB to CMYK

  1. Find the menu bar and click on “File”
  2. Click on “Export”
  3. Choose “Export as PDF”
  4. Find and select “PDF Style”
  5. Select “All”
  6. Select “Press- High Quality/High Resolution”.


“Press- High Quality/High Resolution” is a QuarkXPress preset for making print-ready files. Choosing that option does the following to your file:

  • Change RGB to CMYK.
  • Change spot colors to CMYK
  • Removes all live hyperlinks
  • Uses high res for rasters
  • Saves computer resources by downsampling monochrome images with lossless compression
  • Similarly, QuarkXPress downsamples grayscale images with low compression


All “PDF style” options in the “Export as PDF” dialog window can be adjusted.


Corel Draw

  1. Select the object you want to change from RGB to CMYK
  2. On the menu bar, find and select the “Fill” tool
  3. Click on the “Fill Color” dialog box
  4. Find and select the “CMYK” option
  5. Click on “OK”


Repeat steps 1-5 for objects with an outline.

  1. Click on the “Outline” tool
  2. Choose the “Outline Color” dialog box
  3. Find and select “CMYK”
  4. Click on “OK”


Microsoft Office Publisher

  1. Go to the menu bar and select “Tools”
  2. Choose “Commercial Printing Tools”
  3. Find and click on “Color Printing”
  4. Select “Process Colors (CMYK)”
  5. Click on “OK”


One Last note is if you are using PMS in your files, We encourage you to leave them set to the Pantone so we can match them out.   



Written By:  Logan Martinez