As a print on demand store owner, you might have experienced the difference between your design and the final product print color. While most of your customers buy your unique design products because of the emotional appeal and not color brightness, it is very important that the custom product they receive is the same color as the one they see on the screen.


In this article, you will find instructions on how to make sure the printed colors match your computer screen.


But first, let’s look at technical differences of screen colors vs printed colors to better understand why they don’t match always.


1. CMYK and RBG color systems

Color is the aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of light being reflected or emitted by them.

Radio waves are observed by your eye and translated by your brain’s neural impulses into color, therefore the human eye can see a wide spectrum of colors.

1.1. RGB color

This is a color system that takes 3 basic colors of light as a standard, including:

R - Red.

G - Green.

B - (Blue) (Blue).

To effectively and efficiently represent a color on your screen, practically every computer and the mobile device use the RGB color system. Red, Green, and Blue are coded in computer-understandable language - using bits. Due to technical limitations, the RGB color gamut is smaller than the color gamut your eyes can see.

RGB is called an "additive" system - tones are created by mixing Red, Green, and Blue colors in different proportions. This color system is suitable for computers as your monitor emits light and can vary the intensity of any color it emits.

1.2. CMYK color

This is a system exclusively for color printers.

C - Cyan (Green).

M - Magenta (Pink).

Y - Yellow.

K - Black (Use the K to indicate black because K stands for Key, intended to describe something that is major, key, in addition, use the letter K to avoid confusion with Blue).


If you have created your design file in RGB, you can preview how your design will look when printed if you convert it to CMYK. This will give you an approximate idea of the color change.

Printed products such as t-shirts, mugs, and canvas paintings do not emit light but only reflect light. Therefore, the same additive RGB color system cannot be used for printing.


Almost every printer in the world uses the CMYK system - even home or office color printers. The CMYK system is called a "subtract" system - each pigment subtracts part or all of (absorbs) some wavelengths of light and not others. The color that the surface displays depend on which part of the visible spectrum is not absorbed and therefore remains visible.


Each printer's print cartridge tray contains four different cartridges labeled Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K - as the “key” color for registering other colors). Mixing pure Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow pigments produces black by absorbing all the colors. In printers, black (K) ink is added for better gloss density.


2. Differences Of CMYK & RGB Color System In Printing


In addition to the concept, these two color systems have some obvious differences in the intended use.


CMYK color system is often used mainly in printing. This is the color of the printing inks, when mixed with certain proportions, it will create different colors, serving the printing needs of publications such as name cards, catalogs, leaflets, leaflets.


The RGB color system cannot be used in printing, but is mainly used to observe, view images, videos, ... through electronic screens, televisions, computers, cameras, computers, devices that use light. The RGB color system is mainly used to design and make media publications such as website banners, fan pages, advertising images, ...


Therefore, the advice for Sellers selling POD is the CMYK color system for the design file, the product design color will be the most similar to the color when the product is printed.


3. How to convert two-color systems in design software


Depending on the purpose of use, it is possible to switch flexibly between the two-color systems to achieve the best effect for the viewer. Below is a guide to converting color systems in 2 basic design software, used a lot in design and printing:


In Photoshop: Go to the menu Image -> Mode -> select the mode you want to switch.

Note: The design file containing the CMYK color system only allows saving the design in JPG format.


If you want to save the design containing the CMYK color system as PNG, you will have to convert the CMYK to RGB color system again, so your design file will be saved as a PNG file.


CMYK color system is the most standard color system used for all current printers and will produce the closest color compared to the design file, minimizing the risk of the finished product being too much wrong when printed. uses the RGB color system.



The printing of POD products will be affected by many factors such as temperature, humidity, settings of each printer, color system, and inevitably a slight color deviation. However, for the design file and the printed product to be identical in color, please use the design file with the CMYK color system.


With this article, Geargag hopes POD Sales Sellers will get millions of sales and reap much success.


Sources: Colorme, techjunkie.