Design Jargon for beginners

CMYK

CMYK = Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K) — this is the four colors used in offset printing. Each color is traditionally printed on a separate color plate, with a different screen rotation. When layed or printed on top of each other it forms a dot pattern seen in printing. Think Lichtenstein prints where pictures are made up of dots. The dot pattern can be seen with a tool called a loupe.

The CMYK model is based on the light-absorbing quality of ink printed on paper. As white light strikes translucent inks, part of the spectrum is absorbed and part is reflected back to your eyes.

In theory, pure cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) pigments should combine to absorb all color and produce black. For this reason these colors are called subtractive colors. Because all printing inks contain some impurities, these three inks actually produce a muddy brown and must
be combined with black (K) ink to produce a true black. (K is used instead of B to avoid confusion with blue.) Combining these inks to reproduce color is called four-color process printing. We recommend the CMYK model for all, full-color images.


RGB

RGB = Red Green Blue. Which is used in screen (web, presentations, LED light shows/projections or anything not printed on an offset printing press)

The RGB color model is an additive color model in which redgreen and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography. Before the electronic age, the RGB color model already had a solid theory behind it, based in human perception of colors.

RGB is a device-dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently, since the color elements (such as phosphors or dyes) and their response to the individual R, G, and B levels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even in the same device over time. Thus a RGB value does not define the same color across devices without some kind of color management.

Typical RGB input devices are color TV and video cameras, image scanners, and digital cameras. Typical RGB output devices are TV sets of various technologies (CRT, LCD, plasma, OLED, quantum dots, etc.), computer and mobile phone displays, video projectors, multicolor LED displays and large screens such as JumboTron. Color printers, on the other hand are not RGB devices, but subtractive color devices (typically CMYK color model).


SPOT Color

A spot color is custom mix of ink/color that is printed on it’s own color separation plate. It can also be a varnish or gloss plate.


More Jargon coming soon….