Why does my artwork need to be in CMYK colours?


CMYK is the acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black) and represents the four primary ink colours used in colour printing. This system is essential in the world of graphic design and printing and is the foundation for producing a spectrum of colours by blending these primary hues.

Each letter in CMYK denotes a colour channel, and when combined in varying intensities, they create a full range of colours, often called 4 colour or full colour. The “Key” colour, black is added for depth and detail. CMYK ensures accurate colour reproduction for printed materials.


Whilst CMYK is integral to the printing industry, RGB (Red, Green, Blue) dominates the digital realm. RGB signifies the primary colours of light used in electronic displays, such as computer monitors and television screens. RGB is prevalent in digital design, web graphics, and multimedia, providing vibrant colours for your brand on screen.


Hex colours, short for hexadecimal colours and are another way of representing colours in digital design. They are widely used in web development and graphic design. The term “hex” is short for hexadecimal, a base-16 numbering system. In a hex colour code, colours are defined by a combination of six alphanumeric characters. The first two characters represent the intensity of red, the next two for green, and the last two for blue. Each pair of characters can range from 00 to FF, where 00 is the lowest intensity, and FF is the highest.


RAL colours refer to a standardized colour matching system widely used in Europe, particularly in architecture, construction, and industrial design.

Each RAL colour is identified by a four-digit code, with the first three digits representing the color and the fourth digit indicating the color’s shade or intensity.

RAL colours cover a broad spectrum and are often used for paint, coatings, plastics, and powder coatings.

For example, RAL 9010 represents pure white, and RAL 5002 is a deep blue. The RAL system simplifies communication about colours, facilitating accurate colour reproduction and ensuring uniformity in various applications.

In a nutshell…

CMYK is for print colours

RGB & Hex are for screen colours

RAL is for paint colours