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RGB, CMYK AND Image Resolution: Explained

Updated: Nov 27, 2021


Color theory is a practical combination of art and science that’s used to determine what colors look good together. The color wheel was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, who mapped the color spectrum onto a circle. The color wheel is the basis of color theory, because it shows the relationship between colors.

There are 2 important types of color modes in designing that are RGB and CMYK.



RGB (Red, Green and Blue) is the color scheme for digital images. We use the RGB color if the design is supposed to be displayed on any kind of a digital screen. We can control aspects like saturation, vibrancy and shading by modifying any of three source colors. Because it's done digitally, we can manipulate anything. RGB is used in digital screens. This would go for anything that involves computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, Cameras stc. Some of RGB projects are:-

- Web and App design: icons, buttons, graphics etc.

- Branding: Online ads etc.

- Social Media: Image for posts, Profile background etc.

- Visual Content: Video, Digital Graphics etc.

JPEG is the best format for RGB files. However there are many other formats which supports RGB like PSD, PNG, GIF etc.



CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) is the color scheme for printed materials. A printing machine creates images by combining CMYK colors to varying degrees with ink. We can use CMYK for any project that will be printed. The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Some of the CMYK projects are:-

- Branding: Business Cards, Stationary, Stickers etc.

- Advertising: Billboards, Posters, Flyers, Broachers etc.

- Merchandise: T-shirts, Hats, Bands etc.

- Essential Materials: Product Packaging, Restaurant Menus stc.

PDF is ideal format for CMYK because they are compatible with most programs. AI, EPS and other formats also supports CMYK



Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images and other type of images. Higher resolution means more image detail. Image resolution can be measured in many ways. Resolution quantifies how close lines can be to each other and still be visibly resolved. Resolution is based on pixels. The number of pixels define the quantity of resolution. If there are 720 pixels then the resolution is said to be HD.

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