RGB vs CMYK: which is best for Print on Demand products?

Jan 25, 2021 | Blog, English, Features, Tips

rgb vs cmyk: header image

RGB vs CMYK, what’s the difference between the two color modes?  When you design online, the colors you use will look very similar no matter what computer monitor you view them on.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case when it comes to printing your design onto a product.  A miss-match of color modes between design files and printers can cause the colors you see on screen not to be recreated 100% faithfully in print.  This post will give you a brief overview of what RGB and CMYK are all about and provide you with some best-practice guidelines so that you can achieve a perfect print every time.

RGB vs CMYK: what do the names stand for?

Scanners, digital cameras and computer monitors use red, green and blue (RGB) light to display color.  Commercial printing presses on the other hand, print with cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink.
The combination of RGB light creates white, while the combination of CMYK inks creates black. 

How should I upload my designs?

The great majority of Moteefe’s suppliers use advanced Direct to Garment (DTG) printers which are mostly configured to use the full RGB spectrum.  For this reason, it’s advisable to upload your final design in an RGB format.  Moteefe has to convert any print files received in CMYK into RGB before sending the order on to suppliers.  Converting CMYK files can result in some of the following changes to your colors:


  • Blacks may appear gray

  • Magentas and bright pinks may come out more red

  • Turquoise colors may come out darker than expected

  • Using various shades of green may produce one solid green

Moteefe uses dozens of suppliers worldwide and designing with the RGB color mode will help ensure that each of your customers, no matter where he or she is located, will receive the same great quality product.  Using the RGB color mode will ensure that your design remains consistent, no matter where it is printed.

Will my printed products look exactly as they appear on my computer screen?

Moteefe is working hard to standardize the printing settings used by all of its suppliers.  This has mostly been achieved, but if a supplier is using an older printer that still operates on CMYK, there may be slight discrepancies between digital and printed images.  

Most differences are not noticeable to the human eye but if you are concerned that your design may not come out exactly as you intended, it is a good idea to purchase a test product before making it available to your customers.

For more information on selling, marketing and all things POD related, check out the rest of the articles on Moteefe Academy.  And if you want to join our community of POD sellers, watch informative POD broadcasts and discuss online marketing strategies, join Moteefe x Marcazo Global on Facebook!  Hope to see you there. 

for further help and support, please contact our Seller Success team using the details below: 

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Aidan Kessell – Success Manager
Ana Sousa
 – Success Manager

Support in English from 09am – 1800 BST (UK)