Difference between RGB and CMYK? IS RGB Better than CMYK

By: donaldlucas Posted On: Apr-06-2023 

You will have to learn about RGB and CMYK color models when printing packaging. Fundamentally, CMYK is a better choice for printing materials, while RGB is the best choice for websites and digital communications. RGB is a primary color model in most design fields, whereas CMYK is a subtractive model. Therefore, you must understand the difference between RGB and CMYK for excellent printing results. This will assist you in planning and optimizing every stage of the design process. Depending on where and how you have to display your design, one color space may be better than the other. Let’s describe the difference between RGB and CMYK color models.

RGB color model

Following is a detailed guide to know about RGB color mode.

What is RGB? RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) is the best color space for different digital images. When you display your design on some screen, you should use RGB. There will be a light source to mix red, green, and blue for creating any color. It makes colors by varying the intensity of these three colors. Therefore, this color model is known as additive mixing. All colors start as black darkness. Then, it adds red, green, and blue light to each other to brighten it. This will lead to the creation of a perfect pigment. When it mixes red, green, and blue light in equal intensity, there will be the creation of pure white. Hence, designers can control shading, vibrancy, and saturation by modifying these three colors.

  • Application of RGB

When the end destination of your design is some digital screen, you must use an RGB color model. It will be the best choice for anything that involves smartphones, tablets, cameras, and computers. If your design project requires web and app design, you should turn to the RGB color model. You can also use it for online ads, logos, and branding. It is also the best choice for social media image posts, profile pictures, and profile backgrounds. Although, you can also apply this color model for visual content, including videos, infographics, and others.

  • The best formats

The ideal file format for RGB is JPEGs because they are a better middle-ground between quality and file size. Moreover, they are easily legible almost everywhere. Similarly, PSDs are a standard source file for all kinds of RGB documents. PNGs can support transparency, and it is the best choice for graphics that have to superimpose over others. You may consider this format for icons, buttons, or banners for interface elements. However, GIFs are the best file format for animation. It may be a bouncing icon or moving logo. It would help if you did not consider TIFF, PDF, EPS, and BMP formats for the RGB color model.

CMYK color model

Following is everything about the CMYK color model.

  • What is CMYK

CMYK is the best color model for printed materials. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black are their complete form. All kinds of printing machines combine CMYK colors at varying degrees for creating images by using physical inks. This is also known as subtractive mixing of colors. In this color model, all kinds of colors begin as blank white. After that, each layer of ink works to reduce the initial brightness for creating the preferred color. Finally, when it mixes all the colors, pure color comes out. Hence, this color model is a subtractive mixing of colors.

  • Application of CMYK

You must use the CMYK color model for a project that you have to print physically. CMYK isn’t a better choice for all projects involving any screen. CMYK color mode can produce excellent results when you are recreating your graphic design using ink or paint. If your project requires business cards, stationery, stickers, and storefronts for branding, you should turn to CMYK color mode. It is also a better choice for printing billboards, flyers, posters, brochures, and vehicle wraps to advertise your business. You can also consider using it for essential materials such as restaurant menus or product packaging.

  • The best formats

PDFs are the best file formats for CMYK color modes because they are compatible with most programs. AI is another standard file format for CMYK if all team members work with Adobe Illustrator. EPS can be an alternative to AI because this is compatible with other vector programs. The best thing is to consult your printer beforehand to know which file formats are acceptable to them.

RGB model vs. CMYK model

As discussed earlier, RGB is an additive color mode while CMYK is a subtractive model. RGB combines all colors to give white the primary color; it is black in the absence of light. On the other hand, CMYK uses white as the natural color of the print background. Therefore, it produces black color as the combination of colored inks. Graphics designers and print providers utilize RGB color mode for any media that involves the transmission of light, such as a smartphone. This is an ideal color mode for digital design because there is the emission of color as red, green, or blue light.

On the other hand, CMYK is the best for printing materials. It subtracts colors from natural white light and converts them to dyes or pigments. The values for RGB color mode range from 0-255, whereas for CMYK, values range from 0-100%.

When selecting themes and colors for the packaging, you will need color models. These color models play a significant role in giving a new outlook to your packaging. There are many types of these color models. However, the most prominent ones commonly used for packaging include CMYK and RGB. Designers are printing professionals rely on these two color models to provide their customers with the best aesthetics. Therefore, it is important to carefully choose the color scheme of your packaging to make more sales. If you are still confused about choosing which color model, we have covered you. The following article will explain the details about the two famous color models.

What is RGB?

This color space is available in three colors: red, green, and blue. This color model is for perfect digital imaging on the boxes. If you want your design to be digitally supported with an exceptional presentation, you should use this color space. The mechanism of this color space is followed by a light device that creates colors you need for mixing. This process is known as additive mixing, and it includes the blending of the colors on top of other colors. This mixing is vital to enhance the display. The mixing of these three colors in pure intensity will create white color. The designers easily control saturation, vibrancy, and shading.

Uses of RGB:

If you favor using digital schemes for the images on your packaging, you can use this scheme. It is perfect for increasing the worth of the custom packaging. If you are selling electronic gadgets and related products, you must use the images of the products. The digital image presentation on the packaging using this color scheme will increase the value of your products. You can easily print the logos, web icons, and graphics on the packaging. This will help in enhancing the branding of your boxes. Although, it also helps in creating a top-notch background for the graphics. These background themes have a significant impact on the customers' minds in triggering the buying decision.

File formats for RGB:

When you explain to your professional printing experts about the schemes, you can also send them files for this scheme. If you already have something for the color scheme in your mind, you can ask for it. Famous file formats for this color model include JPEGs, PSD, and PNGs. It also offers some other designs, but they are compatible with different software. The color model illustrates they are also available for this model. Experts recommend using this color space when you have to remain digital. For packaging, mostly CMYK is preferred.


CMYK is the best color model available for your packaging solutions. It combines four colors, including cyan, magenta, yellow and black. However, these colors are the perfect solution for creating relevant color schemes for your products. This color model is used worldwide because of its excellent results. You can use the mixing of colors to create your desired themes. The images are created by a printing machine using this color model by combing colors. Different physical inks are combined, and the initial brightness of the colors is reduced. A combination of all these colors will give you black color.

Uses of CMYK:

This color scheme is the best for enhancing the visibility of your boxes. You can easily use it for your food boxes, business card boxes, and other product packaging. For festivals such as Christmas and Halloween, you can use this color model to increase the value of your products. These colors will help in making your products look distinctive. You will attract people to the unique presentation of the colors in the packaging, and your sales will improve. Brand awareness will also increase by using this scheme as people will be interested in knowing more about your brand.

File formats for CMYK:

There are different formats for the CMYK color models. PDFs, AI, and EPS are available for this color model. You can also ask your printing expert about sending them the files in the formats they need. These formats can be shown before implementing them on the packaging. Hence you will get an idea about how this color model will look on your packaging. There is a multiple and broad spectrum of colors available in this model.

Is RGB better than CMYK?

When it comes to comparing these two models, both have good and bad sides. For packaging, you need to use CMYK. The experts also recommend using this color model for your boxes. The reason for preferring CMYK for packaging is that it provides better light replicable shades. It also helps in making an alluring color scheme representation on the packaging. You can choose RGB if you want to get digital or stay primarily online. For packaging, you need to create a solid impression on the customers. You can best achieve this by using CMYK.

CMYK and RGB are the most famous color spaces for the packaging industries. RGB involves three-color while CMYK gives you the blends of color and additive mixing. To choose between these two, you can select CMYK for packaging. You can choose RGB for the online web display. For the physical display boxes, you will need to use CMYK.

When we compare these two color modes, we know that both have some merits and demerits. For packaging solutions, you must prefer CMYK color modes. It can provide better light replicable shades for boxes. If you have to stay online, you can choose RGB color mode. RGB can be the best choice for online logos or ads. Therefore, we can’t say that RGB is better than CMYK. Both are better for different applications. Hence, RGB is better for online digital projects, whereas CMYK is better for printing materials.

CMYK and RGB color schemes are the famous color modes for packaging solutions. You must choose CMYK color mode for packaging printing as it can give excellent results. You can learn about the importance and application of both color modes here. Hence, it would help to choose RGB for digital media while CMYK for printing materials. Color models are important for making your packaging look attractive. Learn more here to know about the difference between RGB and CMYK to know which one is better. Color models are important for making your custom packaging look attractive. Learn more here to know about the difference between RGB and CMYK to know which one is better.

shipping boxes, custom printed boxes, CMYK, RGB, Custom packaging, Printed Boxes

No comments yet, be the first!

Leave a comment

Subscribe Newsletter