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Color Quality Excellence

  1. What is CMYK mode?
  2. Does the color mode matter?
  3. What should I do if my files aren't CMYK?
  4. How do I convert files to CMYK mode?
  5. Is there anything else I should be aware of regarding color quality?
Q.
What is CMYK mode?
A.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (actually, the K stands for "key"...which is black). The process involves combining varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to produce a full spectrum of color.

Q.
Does the color mode matter?
A.

Yes, the color mode does matter because everything is printed in CMYK colors. If your files are in RGB mode, they will need to be converted to CMYK. Converting colors is a tricky business because although they both produce colors, RGB and CMYK are as different as apples and orangutans! There are many formulas for converting RGB colors to CMYK colors, and they all produce results that are very, very close...but not spot-on. If color accuracy is vital to your project, it is best to consult with us early in the process to plan for the best color conversion possible.

Q.
What should I do if my files aren't CMYK?
A.

If your files are not in CMYK mode, they will need to be converted. You can convert them yourself, or we can do it for you. Because RGB and CMYK modes are so different, it is common for some color shifting to occur due to the conversion process, though it is often quite minor. If you convert the files, then you will be able to confirm ahead of time if the conversion process produces acceptable colors. If you have us convert the files for you, we recommend that you view a printed proof before we complete your order, so you can see ahead of time how the converted colors will appear on the page. Proofing adds a step to the production process, so you'll need to plan for that if you choose to have us convert your colors for you.

Q.
How do I convert files to CMYK mode?
A.

The specific steps to change the color mode of your files varies from one program to the next. You'll want to consult your design program's documentation for the formal steps involved. Most art and design programs are capable of such conversions, while other programs, including the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc), do not have such features.

Q.
Is there anything else I should be aware of regarding color quality?
A.

Yes. Light can have a major effect on the appearance of a color. A printed color can look quite different when viewed in florescent lighting compared to sunlight. In a similar way, colors on your computer monitor can look different under different lighting conditions. For best results, try to keep your work environment's lighting as consistent as possible.

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