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Common Printing Terms - Color


cell phone
A cell phone screen is one of the most common sources of RGB color.

This color value can be found in photography, digital displays and lighting. RGB is an additive color model using the primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) to create colors. Adding all three colors together will produce white and subsequently removing the three colors will produce black. RGB is not a color format for printing. RGB files should be saved as .jpeg, .psd, .png, .gif.


color bar
A color bar showing the cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks used.

Also known as process color, CMYK are the four basic colors for printing. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black _Symbolized at K as to not to be confused with B (blue) in RGB). CMYK is a subtractive color model. White is created by the lack of application of color. True black is not created by adding all colors together, that creates a dark muddy color. True back is 100% Black. CMYK files for printing should be saved as a pdf, .ai, .eps.


A fan of 2000 and 3000 range of Pantone colors.

The Pantone Matching System is a standardized color matching system used to replicate colors exactly across different types of medium. used for branding to maintain consistency across product lines. PMS colors come in pre-mixed concoctions allowing for uniformity so that designers, printers, ink makers, and their clients are all on the same page. Inks come in coated and uncoated options for different types of printing medium. PMS also allows for unique options like neon and metallic colors.

LPI (lines per inch)

lines per inch
Capitol City Press uses 150lpi or 2400dpi but can go as high as 300lpi or 4800dpi!

LPI stands for lines per inch, used specifically in the world of printing. It refers to the density of dots (lines) that the printer can physically put on the paper to create the image. When creating a file for printing, keep in mind that the standard for quality printing is 150 LPI.

The conversion to DPI (dots per inch) is simple:

150 LPI x 16 = 2400 DPI.

We will get more into DPI, pixels and halftone grids in a later post!


GRACoL standards keep every project we print high quality.

General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACoL), is a set of requirements and guidelines for the commercial offset printing industry. The specifications were designed to provide consistent color replication across offset printing platforms.



G7 Master Certification means your project is held to a less than 2pt dE variance across the entire print run.

G (Grayscale) 7 (CMYK + RGB)

A certification stating that a CMYK device has been calibrated to specific G7 grayscale specifications. G7 certified machines allow companies to provide color consistency printing for their customers.


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