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Color Quality Excellence

  1. What is CMYK mode?
  2. Does the colour mode matter?
  3. What should I do if my files aren't CMYK?
  4. How do I convert files to CMYK mode?
  5. Is there anything else I should be aware of regarding colour quality?
Q.
What is CMYK mode?
A.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (the K stands for "key," which is black). The process involves combining varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to produce a full spectrum of colour.

Q.
Does the colour mode matter?
A.

Yes, the colour mode matters because everything is printed in CMYK colours. If your files are in RGB mode, they will need to be converted to CMYK. Converting colours is a tricky business because although they both produce colours, RGB and CMYK are as different as apples and orangutans! There are many formulas for converting RGB colours to CMYK colours, and they all produce results that are very, very close...but not spot-on. If colour accuracy is vital to your project, it is best to consult with us early in the process to plan for the best colour conversion possible.

Q.
What should I do if my files aren't CMYK?
A.

If your files are not in CMYK mode, they will need to be converted. You can convert them yourself, or we can do it for you. Because RGB and CMYK modes are so different, it is common for some colour shifting to occur due to the conversion process, though it is often quite minor. If you convert the files, you’ll be able to confirm ahead of time if the conversion process produces acceptable colours. If you have us convert the files for you, we recommend that you view a printed proof before we complete your order. This way, you can see ahead of time how the converted colours will appear on the page. Proofing adds a step to the production process, so you'll need to plan for that if you choose to have us convert your colors for you.

Q.
How do I convert files to CMYK mode?
A.

The specific steps to change the colour mode of your files varies from one program to the next. You'll want to consult your design program's documentation for the formal steps involved. Most art and design programs are capable of such conversions. However, other applications, including the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), do not have such features.

Q.
Is there anything else I should be aware of regarding colour quality?
A.

Yes. Light can have a significant effect on the appearance of a colour. A printed colour can look quite different when viewed in fluorescent lighting compared to sunlight. Similarly, colours on your computer monitor can look different under different lighting conditions. For best results, try to keep your work environment's lighting as consistent as possible.