Color modes can be difficult to understand for some. The two color modes you should be concerned with are RGB and CMYK.
RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue and is the way in which color is represented by your computer monitor and your television. If you can imagine your television screen being black and then populating it with tiny little red, green and blue lights to make color then you might understand the RGB color mode. When something is black there is no light. When something is white it is a mixture of Red, Green and Blue. We do not use this color mode to print with. It is a mode for lighted displays and it can represent nearly every color imaginable.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and is the way in which most materials are printed by consumers and commercial printers. If you can imagine that everything you print is already white and then using ink to make colors on the white canvas then you have a basic understanding of CMYK color mode. The absence of ink is white. Black is represented only by the black ink or a mixture of all four inks depending on your needs. Because there is no light projection involved in print CMYK there is much less variety of color.
If you can imagine the number of colors represented by RGB could fill a football field and the number of colors represented by CMYK could fill a kiddie pool then you can understand the limitations of the CMYK color palette. That is not to say that you can't print certain colors with CMYK. There are special inks for printing special colors like neons and bright pastels. We do not print with those inks though.
You can't choose the exact color you want for your design by using a computer monitor unless you understand the color modes above. The best way to choose your colors is by using printed examples of colors supplied by us. You can purchase our color wheels sets if you want to see how certain CMYK colors are printed in our shop. Otherwise, you'll have to use a printed color manual or index like Color Index 2 by Jim Krause
. Our color will print a little darker than the colors in this book but it will get you closer than the color pickers in design software.
Color is the most difficult part of the print design process because it is hard to imagine what your customer sees and wants in their color design. Color is not only represented to everyone in a multitude of ways as explained above but it is also very subjective. Colors often represent emotions and can be associated with vivid memories of our personal pasts. That makes them very subjective. When someone wants their design to have red they may actually mean more of a lighter red or pink rather than a red with more yellow added. Minute variations of color can alter that entire theme of a design.