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Printing Lingo: What does "CMYK" stand for?

CMYK Colors = Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black

What does CMYK stand for?

What does CMYK mean?

What is CMYK printing?

I am frequently asked these and other similar questions about the "CMYK" acronym. Simply, CMYK stands for four ink colors - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

A printing press applies the four CMYK ink colors in successive layers. By overlapping these four ink colors in various concentrations, a huge number of other colors can be created. As a result, the combined visual effects of these four CMYK colors produce what we commonly know as Full Color Printing.

Other names for the CMYK printing method include Four Color Printing, Four Color Process, 4CP, or simply Process Printing. Hence, all of the additional colors that can be created from the four CMYK colors are referred to as Process colors. The CMYK Process is used for printed matter that contains photographs and other designs of varying colors.

If you have any questions about CMYK colors or Full Color Printing, just give us a call. We can offer guidance on just about any printing topic and can simplify the task of buying printing for you.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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