Converting from RGB to CMYK

As I stated on my last article, RGB is the natural language of a lot of the Adobe software that are typically used by multimedia designers. On the other hand, CMYK is widely used for offset printing as well as digital printing.

When creating a design on a software that understands RGB, it is important to understand that even though through the design process the document should be set at RGB color mode, once you are moving to the printing part of your work, you should know how to properly convert it to CMYK mode. Luckily, it is quite simple, and I will show you so with a few screenshots from my own project.

This is my finalized identity brand for my project “Snout.” During the entire developing process, I had my color mode set up at RGB, because it is a natural mode for Adobe Illustrator. On the top left corner of your Artboard or your design, these software will always tell you what color mode you are on.

In order to convert from RGB to CMYK, we only need to know a very short amount of steps:

On top of all your screen, there is your typical option bar. Here, you will select

  1. File
  2. Document Color Mode
  3. CMYK

And just as simple as that, your document’s color mode will change.

Now, it is indispensible to understand that making this conversion will most likely alter the way your initial image looks like. This is totally normal, being that these two systems of colors work in very different ways because they are trying to achieve very different results.

This might be a little frustrating. I can tell you it is for me! But if this happens to you, all you need to do is to play with your colors, experiment and keep previewing in both of the color modes. The only way to get great at this color game, and truly understand the differences and variations of these systems is to play with them as much as you can.

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