colour guide

Ever printed something out and noticed the colours are a little off from the screen? Don't worry, you aren't going crazy! This happens, and it is for a few different reasons.  

Why do Colours Looks Different on Screen vs. When Printed?

This can be a complex answer, but the simple answer is.. because they both use different colour formats.

The easiest way to differentiate these two colour formats is how they are used. One is for digital purposes (websites, social media anything digital really!) and one is for printed products (things you can physically hold like business cards and labels).



RGB colour is the combination of three colours: Red, Green and Blue. RGB is designed for screens like your computer or phone. On a screen, there is a much wider range of colours that are achieved (think neons etc) which just aren't able to be printed with cmyk inks.  


CMYK is the colour format we use in print. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Any printing machine whether a standard home printer or a professional one uses a combination of CMYK colours (ink). These colours are subtractive meaning that the starting canvas is white and, as colours are added, it gets darker and darker until it’s black. Because we can’t add white, this can mean CMYK colours aren’t as bright as RGB colours, which is why the colours you print often look a little duller than they do on your screen.

Different Vinyls and Cardstock

Different materials will absorb colour differently. If printing your same file on 3 different vinyls, they will all appear VERY differently. This is because of the way the ink is absorbed, the chemical properties the material is made up of, and also the base colour of the vinyl. 

Wanting to print an exact colour?

Pantone is also knows as PMS : Pantone Matching System, which is used in many industries. Pantone uniquely created standard colour matching system to unify the colours in different manufacturing sectors. Pantone is the universal way of matching colours. Designers and printers will have a Pantone Swatch book, which is a physical copy of each colour. We use this, to compare the pantone colour, to your label as it prints. If your label isn't printing as per the pantone swatch, we fix it then and there! However, if not provided a pantone colour, we don't have a way of referencing the colour you are hoping to achieve.