How to match RGB colors to CMYK for sublimation

Matching RGB Colors To CMYK For Sublimation

Sublimation Samples

Do you get frustrated when the colors you see on your computer screen don’t look the same once you’ve printed out your design? Do you wonder why this happens and how to fix it?

There is a simple explanation as to why this happens, and some solutions on how to fix the issue.

The problem can be found in the color mode you are using. This can affect any stage of design including creating, viewing, printing, and sublimating your project.

There are two different color modes RGB and CMYK, let’s find out more about them

RGB VS CMYK Color Modes

RGB VS CMYK Color Modes

When most people are creating digital designs on their computers they generally have their color mode set to RGB. This stands for Red, Green, and Blue. RGB colors are classed as additive as colors are added to a black base.

RGB can produce a wide range of colors which is perfect when creating vibrant, rich sublimation designs.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). These colors are used by printers due to the paper being white. Colors created using CMYK are classed as subtracting, meaning they are built upon a white base, reducing lightness.

When you print out your sublimation designs your printer converts the colors from RGB to CMYK using color management or ICC profiles.

What Are Color Management And ICC Profiles?

RGB Vs CMYK Color Combinations

Color management software help convert your sublimation design from RGB to CMYK color modes and give you the most accurate colors for your design.

When you're aiming for the colors in your design to look the same both on and off-screen color management software must be used.

The ICC profile is usually provided by your sublimation provider and includes a set of data that helps standardize the colors you see on screen and on your final print.

Without an ICC profile, your final sublimation product may look different from the sublimation design on your computer.

Some sublimation printers might also include print management and built-in color profiles that work with their own branded ink sets. These printers work well if you color match using Pantone color charts alongside your RGB colors.

We Recommend

If you're looking for a sublimation printer that is easy to use and creates crisp vibrant prints every time, we recommend purchasing the A4 DTF Printer for Epson L805. Make T-shirt sublimation pain-free with our printer bundle, included inside is our plastisol ink in CMYK, strong adhesive, and digital transfer film, the modern way to create your sublimation prints.

Recap For Better Color-Matching Results

Follow these for better color matching both on and off screen while you are creating sublimations:

  1. Consider using printed color reference charts so you can match RGB values with Pantone colors
  2. Use color management software
  3. Set your design software to CMYK profile instead of RGB
  4. Make sure to use the correct color profile for your substrate, inks, and paper
  5. Create test samples to check your colors before the final print


CmykColorsHow toPrintersRgbSublimation

1 comment

Sarah Hix

Sarah Hix

Great Article! I’ve struggled with this for a while but I’m going to try using a color management software and see if this helps!

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