I am a children's book designer writer. I am trying to format my first picture book for printing. I have worked the images in RGB, but thought I should convert in Affinity before sending to printing. I sent of for test print in RGB and they are super bright. I realize that was a photobook and won't be the same quality as printed for publishing.

First, am I correct in this thinking or should I leave it in RGB and send to printer that way?

Export gives so many color options and I am not familiar with them. Should I export in RGB 8, 16, or 32...or CYMK in sheetfed coated or web coated or those options in uncoated?

Also, what format is best? I've been using PNG for export.

Thanks in advance!

  • 5
    Depends very much how your printer processes the images and what kind of printers they use. Anyway, dont ask us ask your printer. Also BTW there is no best way if there was we would all use it abd you wouldnt have options.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 14:28
  • There really is no "best". Each print provider will have specifications.. and some may want RGB files. I've never used Affinity... and I've never used PNGs for commercial printing... That doesn't amount to much since there are as many possible workflows as there are options.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 16:29
  • Thank you, Scott. I haven't decided on a printing company yet, so wasn't aware each might want different file types. I thought there might be a "standard", and I wanted to get files correctly formatted before submitting. (perfectionist, you might say). Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 17:04
  • There typically may be a standard for your workflow. But that doesn't really universally translate to everyone else's workflow. I know all my files are CMYK SWOP web coated (and tiff/psd NEVER png).... but that doesn't mean those are good settings for you. For what it's worth.. there's no such animal as a CMYK PNG. You may be able to get some idea of what you should be using by exploring print companies.. check a few you might consider using for file requirements. Chances are the providers you'd consider aren't going to vary wildly in their requirements.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 19:12

2 Answers 2


We only use CMYK files for commercial output. You should work your files in CMYK, not RGB. RGB is the color of "light". CMYK is the colors of the ink in a commercial press. RGB is used for on screen digital images. If you mix RGB light together, you get White, which makes you colors on screen look extra bright. CMYK is limited to what the 4 hues can achieve when combined. The best way to use CMYK is to limit the amount of hues used to achieve a color.

  • What you say is true, but I think the "for print work in CMYK" is a bit of a half truth. When it comes to image editing I would say "work in RGB with soft proofing". I work in print and one the main causes for "wrong colors" is the client converting to some wrong CMYK profile early in the process, editing the images directly in CMYK and then unknowingly just assigning the correct CMYK profile on export. They would be better off keeping their images in RGB until export imo.
    – Wolff
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:26

Probably best to ask the printer directly. Their preferences can be really different.

But in general printers prefer to get files as CMYK. In Europe "euroscale" seems to be the printers favourite. (Fogra you see often too) Depending on the paper take the coated/uncoated version of the profile.

Though really it is common practice for printers to ignore whatever profile you select, and they replace it with their own one that best matches their printing machines and paper.

Formats should not really matter; png, high quality jpg, tiff etc.

If you have a whole book in affinity with many images, there probably is an option to export the whole thing and automatically convert images to CMYK in affinity, without changing all images individually.

Also you should be aware that the RGB colour space is much bigger than CMYK. So if your design is featuring a lot of bright, neon like colours, it may need some manual tweaking, so the conversion from RGB to CMYK will come out right.

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