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CMYK Colors = Color Perfection for your Custom Transfers

Written by Erika Cappa


Posted on November 06 2023

As business owners, we are constantly looking for ways to standout amongst the thousands of shops that are at the fingertips of our customers 24/7, thanks to our digital world.  A great way to accomplish that is by offering unique and exclusive products… and that’s where our custom transfers come in.

The majority of design work happens on computer screens (hello canva), however to make sure the colors on your screen match the custom transfers you receive, it is essential that you understand the difference between RGB and CMYK color modes.  Each of these color modes are designed for a specific purpose.  So, let’s get into it!

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue.  It  is the color mode used for digital screens (think computer screens, televisions, and mobile devices). RGB creates colors by mixing various intensities of the pixels of these three primary colors on your screens.  This color mode is perfect for creating vibrant colors for digital products.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.  It is the color mode used for the four-color printing process, which is what is used for producing printed products (i.e. heat transfers).  CMYK creates colors by overlaying different percentages of these four colors to create the final color on a printed product.  This color model is perfect for achieving accurate colors on printed products.

Now, here are reasons that it is imperative that you submit CMYK designs for your custom transfers… 

Color Accuracy

One of the primary reasons for using the CMYK color mode is color accuracy. Designs created with the intent to be printed should use CMYK color mode from the onset of their design to ensure that the colors in their designs will closely match the final printed result.  

Predictable Results

Using CMYK provides a higher level of predictability when it comes to how colors will appear in print. By working in CMYK, you can see a more accurate representation of the final result on your computer screen. This helps prevent unpleasant surprises, such as colors appearing too dull in print, which can happen when RGB colors are incorrectly converted to CMYK.

Expansive Color Gamut

While the RGB color mode may produce more vibrant and extensive color possibilities on screens, CMYK can still achieve a broad spectrum of colors. By using a combination of process colors and special inks, designers can reproduce an impressive range of hues and shades. Furthermore, many professional printing techniques, such as Pantone and spot color printing, can achieve specific colors beyond the CMYK spectrum, adding even more flexibility.  Side note, Dapper Designs does have the ability to print Pantone colors.

Enhanced Consistency

Using CMYK ensures consistency in color output across various print media and materials, which is especially important if you are printing branded apparel.  You will want your printed logo on your shirt to look the exact same as the printed logo on your business card.

In the world of design and print, the choice between RGB and CMYK color mode should be determined based on the end product being created. While RGB is perfect for digital displays, CMYK is essential for achieving accurate, consistent, and vibrant results in printed materials. To ensure that your designs capture the essence of your designs accurately, it's crucial to work in CMYK from the outset and understand how to optimize your color choices for the printing process. By doing so, you can be confident that your transfers will be printed exactly as you (and your customers) expect.