Hey! Anybody wanna know the REAL difference between RGB and CMYK? I mean really want a visually obvious example to etch the distinction into you psyche for the rest of your life? If you’re really unclear on this point, and you still think this “color management” stuff is all bullshit, try this.
1. Open up InDesign (or Quark, or MSPublisher, or whatever you want to use) and design a business card in sRGB (your monitor works in sRGB, so you’re doing that automatically). Use a lot of black and dark grey. Especially use a black background and black text with an "outer glow" effect to make it readable on a background of the same color.
2. Export that design to a PDF in sRGB (if you leave the settings alone, this is probably what they will default to, since most people don’t know anything about color management).
4. Send them the PDF you created in step 2.
5. Receive two boxes of completely unreadable business cards.
6. Remove brick from pants.
7. Write a long, bitchy e-mail to the printhouse, in which you point out that you formatted your file exactly to their specifications and are entirely displeased with the results and expect them to overnight you two new boxes printed properly. Ask them to provide you with an ICC profile for their printers so that you can send them EXACTLY what they need.
7(a). Don’t click send just yet.
8. Go and read the specifications mentioned in step 7.
9. Realize that they specify not only that they want files in CMYK, but that they specifically note that their color management system uses the GRACoL 2006 color profile, and provides a link to an article about color management and how bloody important it is. It even provides a helpful bit at the bottom about how to convert from RGB to CMYK using several popular software products.
10. Delete unsent e-mail.
11. Place your face approximately 8” above your keyboard.
12. Swiftly lower your head approximately 8.5”.
13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 until the importance of color management becomes apparent.