Rules of Color When Designing Custom Packaging

February 26, 2019 by Erin Behan

To design a colorful, eye-catching box you need more than just a sense of brand identity and brand story. You also need to make sure you’re using the right color mode so the colors you see on your computer screen translate into the colors that print on your box. Read on for tips and tricks for getting just the colors you want on your custom packaging.

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CMYK or RGB for Custom Packaging Artwork?
RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is standard for web applications, but CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is recommended for print applications as it delivers the truest colors in the printing process. Distinct Packaging uses an online Designer tool that accepts artwork saved as either CMYK or RGB, but for best results, convert your images into four-color CMYK before uploading. Using CMYK means that you’ll be able to soft proof the images on screen. Note that resolution of artwork should be 300 dpi for printed materials.

What Happens to Artwork Submitted as RGB?
Since digital printing is done using CMYK, any artwork submitted in RGB will be automatically converted to CMYK. This automatic conversion process can sometimes result in faded, dull, or inaccurate color representation in the final printed project. To have complete control over how your colors will print, use CMYK.

Best Software to Convert Images from RGB to CMYK?
If you're converting artwork from RGB to CMYK yourself, you'll be able to adjust colors after your conversion to achieve just the hues you want. Software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Acrobat have features to better represent CMYK colors on computer monitors. Use one of these software programs to help you convert and preview the artwork.

How to Convert an Image from RGB to CMYK?
Photoshop: open image > image > mode > CYMK color
Illustrator: open image > edit > edit colors > convert to CYMK
Acrobat Pro: open image > tools > print production > convert colors

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Now that you know how to get the most accurate color representation on your custom packaging, head over to Distinct Packaging and start designing your custom box today.
Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


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