The obvious answer, to me, is that the RGB Colour Space is capable of reproducing the CMYK Colours; for the simple fact that the CMYK Colour Space is fully consumed within the RGB Colour Space as follows:

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As is often the case, many online resources has presented various pieces of conflicting information that claims the contrary.

My goal is to create a series of Printed materials that are also shared online, where the colours are all consistent with each other. My logical assumption being that if I use RGB Colours, within the CMYK Colour Space, then both online and offline variants will be consistent with their colours.

Is anyone able to shed any additional light, on this matter?

1 Answer 1


Depends, you have to understand that there is no single RGB space and a single CMYK space. Those are just nomenclatures of how the colors are mixed not how big those spaces are.

So out of the three commonly defined RGB spaces sRGB, Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB the situation is really different. sRGB is meant to be standard but in a time when people used cathode ray tubes. Most likely many of the not top of the line displays you have can not even reach full sRGB. While ProPhoto is impossibly vibrant. The green and blue corner of ProPhoto have impossible color. Not even real light can reproduce ProPhoto, you would have to directly manipulate a humans brain to get colors like that.

On the CMYK side there are quite more standard and actual device spaces. I have sublimation dye printers at work that can reach almost sRGB kind of quality in intensity when put on aluminum backing, and with lots of colors sRGB can not do. In fact it is common that CMYK spaces exceed RGB spaces in certain areas for a animation of this see this youtube video

Its not nearly as simple as saying cmyk is smaller than rgb spaces. They tend to be less virant but not entirely contained within each other. But also the quastion is WHICH actual color space.

  • This is all true, but in the end, if you want to show something online, you don't really have any other choice than sRGB. You'll just have to live with some CMYK colors not being in the sRGB gamut. Maybe it doesn't matter all that much since most people don't have color calibrated screens anyway and the images are bound to be displayed differently on different screens no matter what you do.
    – Wolff
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:03
  • @Wolff No you dont even have a choice of sRGB. You tip sRGB because that the only possible choice you can make but its most likely not even sRGB that people see. But yes many cmyk devices have color beyons RGB devices but only small slivers
    – joojaa
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:25
  • Still lots of learning my end. If I choose a colour that resides in both the sRGB and CMYK spaces, would they appear the same online and offline (Screen Calibration set aside)?
    – Craig
    Aug 11, 2019 at 21:26
  • @Craig depends on how pedantic you need to be.
    – joojaa
    Aug 12, 2019 at 3:53

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