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When are CMYK Colours Required?

I have drawn a logo in Inkscape which is not capable of doing CMYK colors.

However at present I only need my logo on content that is going to be printed by domestic printers, does it need to be CMYK?

Jimlad said:
Two points:

1. CMYK is needed whenever you're printing. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK are the colours used to create a printed image so working in any other colour space will create printouts that don't match what you have on screen.

2. Inkscape IS capable of CMYK. It says so on their website: https://inkscape.org/en/about/features/
It isn't capable of outputing a file with cmyk colors though, i think i'm correct in thinking that it only has the color selectors?
is it also necessary to flatten the file before printing please? btw, what is the difference between flattening a file and just saving it as a pdf please

Thanks in advance!
It depends, if your file has areas of transparency flattening will divide the work up by transparent areas and rasterized areas which is easier for printing.


Staff member
More on the K

Key colour would be for the darkest colour in a printed job.

It's common in CMY printing that there is a black plate, which is the darkest and printed first - hence CMYK.

Whereas if you were doing a 2/3 colour print job not using black, you would still have a Key plate, the darkest colour printed first to give the outline and definition.


Staff member
Once it's RGB you can convert to cmyk during the output process. There's no need to convert to Cmyk prior to this.

RGB has a wider gamut than CMYK. If you convert to Cmyk then you're reducing your gamut range. What happens when you need to print this same image on large format printer that uses the ProRGB spectrum for printing?

You have reduced your gamut and this image is now unsuitable for this style of printing.

My advice would be to leave RGB as is place as it is. InDesign/Quark/Photoshop/Illy etc all use the exact same colour conversion to Cmyk.

Basically place rgb place Cmyk place spot and let the software convert to Cmyk/rgb/etc for you.

You don't need to spend so much time manually converting every image.

The only time I would do this would be for a color critical image, such as a painting or perhaps bespoke photography.