Color mode & color range

Design print files in CMYK

As a print shop, we work in the CMYK colour range.

Always design your print files in the CMYK color mode. We automatically convert print files submitted in RGB into CMYK. Please note that conversions of RGB to CMYK may lead to color shifts since not all RGB colors can be represented in the CMYK color range.

The CMYK colour range is much smaller than the RGB colour range.

Color profiles

Color profiles and/or source profiles are necessary to interpret the colors of image data from different output devices (e.g. monitor or printer) as exactly as possible. Therefore, always use the color profile adjusted to the product and paper/print substrate in your print files. The respective information can be found under “Data info” on the product pages in our online shop.

Generally, the following ICC color profiles are used:

  • For coated paper: ISO Coated v2 or ISO Coated v2 300 %
  • For uncoated paper: PSO Uncoated ISO 12647
  • For other materials: ISO Coated v2
    (e.g. banners)

Output requirement

PDF/X files contain a so-called output intent specifying for which output requirement the PDF has been processed.

RGB vs. CMYK: differences in color representation

Color representation on the screen: RGB (additive mixture of color stimuli)

This photo in RGB mode has brilliant colours with a high saturation.

Photo in RGB color mode

Computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone screens work in the RGB color mode. What you see differs depending on settings (e.g. brightness, contrast, color temperature and calibration) and processing quality of the screen. In order to achieve color fidelity (like on print products), screens must be calibrated and profiled using a measuring device. Your program's output preview, also called soft proof, simulates the color result in printing.

Color representation on the print product: CMYK (subtractive mixture of color stimuli)

The same photo in CMYK seems less brilliant than in RGB mode.

Photo in CMYK color mode

The color representation in the production of your print product also depends on the print substrate or material selected because different paper types have different characteristics. Recycled paper tends to have a grey-yellowish coloring while offset or art print paper can be more whitish or blueish. 

Color representation with laserjet and inkjet printers:

Laserjet and inkjet printers do not output your print files in a way which is accurate in terms of color. There can be significant color deviations as compared to your print product.