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Screen vs. Print Issues

The RGB to CMYK Problem

RGB and CMYK comparison

This image indicates the vibrancy difference between what your computer monitor shows and what will show up in print.

One of the most common issues folks have in preparing files for print is color shift from computer screen colors to print colors. Fact is many colors you see on your monitor simply can’t be recreated in print. Real life inks, no matter how you mix them, can’t recreate those lit up by your computer’s back-lit pixels.

This can be disappointing when you’ve spent all that time creating a bright, vibrant design then find out the printed result won’t have the same vibrancy. Don’t despair. Remember that most full color prints you’ve ever seen are printed in the CMYK color spectrum.

If you’ve been designing in the RGB color space and want to preview what your design will look like converted to CMYK, there’s a free color conversion tool at

Some printers will accept RGB files and convert them in house. We prefer seeing the CMYK output before going to the print house so we get a better idea of what the print result will be.

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