Canva is one of the most popular free graphic design websites and apps online today. RGB and CMYK are two color code options used when creating graphics. CMYK is the best option for print graphics, so designers must convert RGB to CMYK before printing their designs from Canva. But, how is the conversion process completed?
Unfortunately, Canva does not allow users to convert colors from RGB to CMYK for printing. The best recommendation is exporting your Canva project in RGB and sending it to a professional printer to convert to CMYK before printing.
CYMK colors are a must to make sure your ink-printed designs look the best they can. So, read on to learn more about the CMYK color scheme and why the conversion is so necessary.
What Happens if You Don’t Change RGB to CMYK?
In many cases, if you are printing a digital design, the printer will do the conversion for you. But, if you are working the other way around and forget the conversion, the colors that print may not exactly match the ones you see on your computer screen.
Why Are CMYK Colors Important?
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key or black. These four colors are what are mixed in printer ink to create all the colors you see when printing documents in color. They are separated initially inside color ink cartridges. Printers cannot print in RGB color mode.
CMYK is a subtractive color process, so cyan, magenta, and yellow are added top of each other and mixed on top of each other to create key or black. The more color that gets added, the darker the printed color, and the less color added, the lighter the color printed. It is called subtractive color since color must be removed to access lighter hues.
Differences Between RGB and CMYK Color Scale
The RGB and CMYK color scales are exact opposites. This section will detail both color scales so that you can see how different they are from each other.
The RGB color scale stands for Red, Green, and Blue, and it is used on digital screens. Screens show images and information using hundreds of thousands of pixels. The pixels have subpixels that are blue, green, and red.
These colored subpixels absorb different light intensities based on the color they display to show the color image you see on the black computer screen. RGB colors come in a range from 0-255. So, there are 256 different color levels for red, green, and blue subpixels that can be mixed for a total of 16 million possible combinations.
Black is created when all of the colors are set at 0. White is created when all of the colors are set at 255. The RGB color scale is additive because the red, green, and blue subpixels are added to create the various color options. The more color that is added, the lighter the final color. These colors are most often used for digital media, so the best things you can make using RGB colors are:
- Branded media (logos, ads, labels)
- Graphics for social media (story templates, cover images, profile photos)
- Web and app design elements (clickable buttons, website graphics, app logos)
- Visual aids (infographics, charts, videos)
CMYK color scale is made up of cyan blue, magenta, yellow, and “key” or black, and is used for printing things in color. The printers at your local print shop all use this color scale.
Black or “key” is used because no combination of cyan, magenta, and yellow can make black, even if they are all in their purest form. CMYK is known as a subtractive color process because colors are taken away to produce lighter hues. This process happens the way it does because these colors absorb light, and more ink added means less light and darker colors.
CMYK hues are represented by percentages, so to get white, all of the colors have to be at 100%. Setting cyan, magenta, and yellow to 0% and key to 100% does not make a true black. To get black, there has to be 75% cyan, 68% magenta, 67% yellow, and 90% black. This is a rich black that will not tear a hole in your designs.
CMYK ensures that your colors will be rich so that they look professional when printed in any size. The best things you can make with CMYK colors include:
- Business branding materials (business cards, stationary with logos, promotional signs)
- Advertisements (billboards, flyers, posters, brochures, face cards)
- Merchandise (t-shirts, hats, bags, water bottles, pens, mugs, sweaters)
- Other physical items (menus, product packaging, and containers)
RGB and CMYK are two different ways of representing color. One is for digital designs on screen and the other is for physical prints. One is additive while the other is subtractive.
Canva only uses RGB colors, and does not have a feature to change colors to CMYK. You will need to export your project in RGB from Canva, and convert the colors to CMYK elsewhere before printing.