Tech Talk is my semi-regular blog post to teach you some of the technicalities or specifications that will make your book perfect in print and divine in digital form
So you’re producing a book and are planning to print it in colour? Maybe you have a beautiful photo book or a stunning family recipe book simmering in your mind.
An important consideration of the printing process is that of your chosen colour model. There are two models that we will look at in this article.
The first is the standard of print: CMYK.
CMYK is an acronym for the different colours that make up this colour model. They are Cyan (sky blue), Magenta (hot pink), Yellow and the Key colour which is Black. C-M-Y-K!
A standard full-colour photo is broken down (also called separated or separations) into CMYK. This is the standard for offset printing.
Four different printing plates are prepared, each with a different separation on it – one for each part of the colour model.
When combined, these reproduce the original photo as it looks in full colour.
The second colour model is the standard of the Web: RGB.
RGB is an acronym for its parts which are Red-Green-Blue when broken down.
Your television, your computer screen, and other visual display equipment all represent colour using the RGB model.
RGB appears more vibrant than CMYK which can be a little dull and flat in comparison. This is due to the range of colours (also called the gamut) that it can represent.
A digital printing press can convert RGB to CMYK ready for print at the click of a button.
However, a good designer will make that conversion manually on each photo in your book. This gives the designer CONTROL over the finished colour which you don’t get with an automated process. You can end up with unexpected and quite lurid results otherwise!
I hope this article has helped you understand some of the differences between the two main colour models when producing your book!

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