I have created business card design in photoshop and used RGB for making a design, but i know that most of the printers and stores for printing use CMYK for printing. In few cases when it was digital printing instead of plotter printers the stores told me they can print RGB without changing color.

But anyway when i finished my design i converted it to cmyk to check the difference and see if something needs change before printing. So everything was fine and in my print design there is a main logo with font which something like green-yellow-ish color and its color combination was a bit gradient and in photoshop it shows like this:

From the top of the font

C: 25%
M: 0%
Y: 100%
K: 0%

To the bottom of the font like this:

C: 32%
M: 0%
Y: 100%
K: 0%

I know that this gradient wouldn't be so visible on the business card. But in every variations i tried this should be the yelow-ish color.

When i got a business cards from the printing company they turned out as a green not yelow but whatever i tried the green color i got from printing, that should be like

C: 60%
M: 0%
Y: 100%
K: 0%

So why would be the color combination i used with 30% cyan turns out as a green on printing except the person from printing company messed up something?

Is it possible that yellow-ish color prints out as a green for some reason?

  • The lesson is.... for print, START in CMYK! Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 16:14
  • I just tested, so weather i started in CMYK or RGB than changed to CMYK the color i converted from RGB is the same that i would use in CMYK so what is the difference?
    – lonerunner
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 17:00
  • no I meant start your project in CYMK and stay there,dont expect RGB to look the same, CYMK will nearly always look duller, but can be optimised. Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 20:51
  • First, I would love to see the bottles of "RGB" ink that those printers who say they can print RGB use. It must be very hard to pour. Second, are there no swatch books for sale anymore? if you want to see what any combination of CMYK looks like when printed, get a swatch book. A CMYK swatch book, printed on the stock you use.
    – user8356
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 18:05

3 Answers 3


Printer to printer they use different profiles. Even there is lot of complications could arise how you export your final press file.

Since from the beginning, you started the whole process on wrong foot, there is nothing can blame on the print company person.

  1. Always design on CMYK mode if you know it is going to be printed.
  2. If you convert color for press, use InDesign to do the converting.
  3. If possible ask from your printer their profile
  4. Requesting a hard copy proof (color proof), since every single printers have different profiles.

Definition of yellowish is very subjective. I did little test on the color combination you gave, and found that both colors are "greenish" and "green".

I would say if the Cyan was less than 15%, it could have been "Yellowish".

enter image description here

For your further knowledge and research, read this answer for the this question.

  • Ok upon checking with 15% cyan it is greenish, but the difference is very visible from what i wanted (on the left of the first example and what i got looks like on the right ) which is hard green, so i am in doubt that either he did something with converting the psd to jpg, or the color profile is not correctly setup.
    – lonerunner
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:38
  • Either way, I wouldn't send .psd file nor .jpg to any press or print shop. If I do, I wouldn't complain on the print they make for me. Do you see my point? Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:52
  • That's exactly why i would complain. because i asked him and he told me to give him .psd file in RGB no problem. Although i asked him what color profile to he use and if he print in CMYK or RGB.
    – lonerunner
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 16:10

The short answer is yes, your specified colours are shades of green, not yellow. A comparison to similar green Pantone shades from a swatch book (admittedly quickly chosen) gives the below. Pantone classes these as green.

Process colours compared to spot colours

The longer answer is that accurate colour reproduction involves numerous factors, which is an entirely different topic. Just a few things to consider...

  • If you are choosing the shade by eye you have to remember that even a well profiled monitor will never give an accurate representation of the final colour match - it's not physically possible because the RGB gamut of your screen is different from the CMYK gamut of the finished product.
  • The paper type will also change a shade considerably, in my experience colours can look distinctly different on as little as a 20gsm lighter / heavier weight of the same stock. This isn't taking into account if it's coated / uncoated / etc, etc

Simple lessons for the future - output to a PDF with a profile specified by your printer, and get a proof before doing a full print run.


Experience with print tells me that those colors will be green.

It's difficult to see a color like that on-screen and judge how it will appear with ink on paper. But generally yellow is the weakest color of the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks that get put down.

So yes, Yellow + Cyan = Green.

Even a small amount of Cyan can have a big impact on how that color looks.

The way to avoid this is request a hard copy proof.

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