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Adobe Illustrator - RGB vs. CMYK Color Modes

This guide will explore the differences between RGB and CMYK and provide a better understanding of the two.


When setting up a new document it is important to choose the correct color mode for the project. 


CMYK is a color mode which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black; as represented by these colors. CMYK is primarily used for print publications. The CMYK color palette consists of these four colors which are overlaid over top of one another, to display all of the colors in the spectrum that you have.


RGB  is comprised of three colors Red, Green and Blue. These are the colors that are represented on things like TV screens, computer monitors, and anything like a tablet or wireless device. RGB is primarily used for web or screen graphics. So any time the document is not going out for print, it should be in the RGB color space. 

The basic difference is, they're different colors; cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, red, green and blue.  The big difference is, CMYK is used for print, RGB is used for web or screen.

If you need further assistance please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 920-424-3020 or

Keywords:Print, Web, Screen, "Starting out"   Doc ID:64269
Owner:Richard L.Group:UW Oshkosh
Created:2016-06-20 13:48 CDTUpdated:2016-06-21 15:58 CDT
Sites:UW Oshkosh
Feedback:  15   2