Colour Format

The Importance of

Everything we see through the human eye is seen as a representation of the three prime colours of  Red, Green and Blue – each mixed to deliver all of the various colours and shades we recognise.

The different screens we use  (television, computer monitors, smart phones, etc.) all use the same method. You will see this format represented in computer graphics software by it’s acronym of R,G,B.

Each primary colour is divided into 256 shades according to it’s saturation. “0” counts as a number so you will see it represented as 0-255.

The mathematics are 256 possibilities of R x 256 possibilities of G x 256 possibilities of B = 16,777,216 possible colours.

There is no way, of course, that anyone can distinguish between over 16 million colours and quite apart from differences between each persons eyesight there are also differences in the capabilities of software and monitors. 

 However, just as you think that everything is based on the RGB format, along come professional print machines which use a four colour system:

Cyan    Magenta    Yellow  and  K (Key) which we recognise as black.

These four colours mix in percentage points and do not actually match the RGB colours seen on screen. (Screen colours may not be accurate anyway unless the monitor is regularly calibrated)

 It’s not possible to match exactly the results of a three colour mix with the results of a mixture from four different base colours so you may be disappointed with the end product

In addition,  we all know that many colours can be recognised in different shades (e.g. Sky Blue, Royal Blue, Navy Blue, etc.) but how many people realise that white varies also?  The end print may be affected by the shade of white on which it is produced.

Sign products are even more complicated as many print machines which produce them have additional print cartridges to add more colours in an attempt to improve colour accuracy,

There is even more to be concerned with but too much to write about here. If you are greatly concerned about exact colour matching ask about our consultancy service where we can offer a visit to your premises and a group talk.