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I have my own brand but everything I have done so far has been rgb. I wanted to get started printing some business cards but the color that our brand uses isn't available in cmyk and turns into a very... non-usable color.

I'm not really big into printing, what are my options here?

  • What is your RGB code? – Lucian Jan 16 at 10:51
  • My code is rgb(110, 81, 255) – RowdyHD Jan 16 at 11:09
  • Where will you print business cards (region of the world)? Europe, US, Japan? – mrserge Jan 16 at 11:34
  • Europe (The Netherlands.) – RowdyHD Jan 16 at 11:38
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    This is basically the reason you dont just design your own logo or branding. There is a lot of things to think about. While your at it you also need a High contrast/ black and white logos, for stuff like engraving on glass, wood, metal etc. – joojaa Jan 16 at 15:40
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  • OPTION 1 : Change the Color at least for CMYK projects
  • OPTION 2 : see Option 1.

I don't mean to be glib. The reality is if you have an RGB color which falls outside the CMYK gamut and can not be reproduced as CMYK, then there's no method to force the color into the CMYK gamut. You ultimately must alter the color.

You may be able to find a Pantone or Spot color which more closely matches your RGB color. That 110,81,255 is borderline fluorescent. Pantone does have some fluorescent inks or at least more vibrant purples than CMYK may produce. Spot colors can be used in commercial printing in addition to CMYK. The use of a spot color may increase printing costs at times.

It is not uncommon for a company to have 3 color breakouts for branding -- RGB, Spot, CMYK -- each breakout is specifically chosen to accommodate the color mode of the output. And slight shifting may be present between the different color specifications.

One universal truth is that not all RGB colors can be reproduced as ink on paper. The light spectrum is simply much broader than other spectrums. There's no getting around that.


I typically start all brand color decisions in Pantone (avoiding fluorescents and metallics) or CMYK due to this very fact. It's far too easy to settle on a color in RGB only to discover it can't be reproduced as CMYK or Spot. If you start color choices in Spot/CMYK you can be assured that any CMYK color can be very closely matched in RGB. Most spot colors as well.

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Your RGB converted to CMYK is 70,70,0,0.

If it doesn't look like you imagined it would, i guess the only option is to play around with the values and find a similar color in CMYK that you like, even if it looks slightly different from the RGB color.

  • :) He/She could just convert an RGB Photoshop file to CMYK and see that 71/72 CMYK purple :) I'm guessing that's the "unusable" color he/she posted about. – Scott Jan 16 at 11:20
  • Updated my answer. – Lucian Jan 16 at 11:32
  • Yeah, i've seen it before. I guess ill just have to decide on a color. – RowdyHD Jan 16 at 11:38
  • Yes basicly, any automatic conversion will turn your purple to something close to cmyk 70,70,0,0. Otherwise you (or somebody else for you) will need to adjust this 70,70,0,0 code to some similar values to use in print. – Lucian Jan 16 at 13:16

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