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Design, Tips

What is the difference between RGB and CMYK?

No doubt you’ve heard of RGB and CMYK, but if you don’t understand what they are and what they’re used for, then read on! I will explain it for you as succinctly as possible.

Firstly, what do the acronyms stand for?

RGB = Red/Green/Blue
CMYK = Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black (Yes, K means Black!)

So what’s the difference between RGB and CMYK?

RGB and CMYK colours render differently, depending on which medium they are used for—web or print. Let me explain both:

colour space RBG

RGB

RGB colour mode is associated with electronic displays: LCD monitors, scanners, digital cameras etc.

It is an additive process.

It combines the three primary colours: red, green and blue, in varying degrees to create a whole range of colours.

When all three of the primary colours are combined and displayed to their highest value, the result is a pure white. When all three colours are combined at their lowest value, the result is black.

colour space CMYK

CMYK

Printers using a digital printing method print colour on paper using CMYK.

It is a subtractive process.

It utilises four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black in various amounts to create a range of colours for printing images and graphics.

It is a subtractive process. This means that as each additional colour is added, more light is removed and absorbed, resulting in new colour creations.

When the first three colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) are added together, it makes a dark brown. So, the K colour, or black, is used to completely remove light from the print, and allows the eye to perceive ‘pure black’.

CMYK does not include a ‘white’ colour, because when printed on white paper, the white from the paper will be used to fill the space left after the percentages of each colour that is used, and making each shade appear lighter.

How do I know when to use each one?

If you’re printing something, such as a business card or flyer, use CMYK.

If it’s something that will only be seen digitally, use RGB.
A digital monitor is made up of units called pixels. Then, each pixel is made up of three light units: one red, one green, and one blue. The RGB values are applied to the pixels, and so set the luminosity for each of the light units in each pixel.

Why? How do they render differently?

RGB has a greater spectrum of colours than CMYK, so it can produce colours that are more vivid and vibrant, such as fluorescent colours. The CMYK range is more limited.

The colours render differently based on (1.) the amount of white space that is already provided, and (2.) how much mixing of colours needs to happen.

To get the same colour ‘matching’ on all mediums, across web and print, the colours need to be converted. (An absolutely perfect match between the two types of colour modes is impossible, but when converted, a very close match is achievable.)

Going from RGB (web) to CMYK (print)

Because RGB colours are beyond the range of CMYK, they will appear darker and more dull in print than what is seen on the monitor or display.

Going from CMYK (print) to RGB (web)

Conversely, artwork shown in CMYK mode will always show up precisely on a computer screen, because its limited colour range easily fits into the full spectrum of the RGB range.

Example

Below is an example of a photo originally produced in RGB colors converted to CMYK colors as displayed on a computer monitor. Notice how the colors are much more vibrant on the RGB picture.

Conclusion

The artwork displayed on a computer monitor may not resemble its printed version unless you convert the colour mode properly first.

To accurately print a document or image, it must be converted from its original RGB format to CMYK. You can do this using Adobe Creative Cloud programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator.

The job of a graphic designer or pre-press professional is to check the effectiveness of colour conversions and offer advice on instances where more vibrant colours need to be converted from RGB to CMYK.

*Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

Design

5 designer resources that offer FREE assets (that are actually worth downloading)

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There’s free assets all over the internet for designers—fonts, stock images, mock-ups, themes, software extensions, templates, etc. Most of the time though .. it’s pretty ho-hum quality / outdated trends / not built or packaged well … you get the point. In short, just not worth downloading. That’s why it’s free.

BUT. I’m going to share with you 5 resources that I actually use regularly in my design practice that’s really valuable stuff. And worth downloading.

Let’s get straight into it:

1. Creative Market

If you’re a designer/creative and you don’t know about Creative Market … please, familiarise yourself. It’s like Etsy for design assets. Independent creators around the world offer a variety of goods: photos, graphics, templates, mock-ups, fonts, website themes, illustrations, etc.

Just like on Etsy, you can follow your favourite shops/creators who make stuff in the style or category you like.

But the FREE stuff I’m talking about, is here. They release 6 free assets every week. You can sign up to their mailing list to get a reminder, or you can just jump straight onto their website to check out what’s on offer each week. Here’s an example of what’s on offer right now:

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I don’t always need or like all the freebies on offer, but I usually snag at LEAST one from the pack. This week, I downloaded the Terrazzo seamless patterns to make the image for this post. Neat, huh.

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2. Pixeden

Pixeden offer a range of premium design and web resources with a pretty cool setup. They group their assets into either Premium or Free. For a membership of $6 per month, you can access everything, otherwise you are able to go ahead and download any of their free goods.

To be honest, I have only used this website for their mock-ups, so I haven’t trialled their other products. But the mock-ups are amazing quality, so I don’t see why their other products would fall short.

Psst … a tip. If you want to be super sneaky, you can sign up for a month and start downloading like crazy … then pull your membership. Best practice? Probably not. But hey, if you’re tight on funds, there’s no-one to say you really can’t do that. You can get tons of premium assets for a measly $6.

You can search through their categories, or just start on the home page for all assets, and simply filter to the free stuff by clicking on ‘Free’.

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3. Pexels

This resource offers amazing free stock photos and videos shared by talented creators from around the world. There’s tons of free stock image websites out there, but this one is way less corny, carefully curated and extremely high quality.

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It’s free, but it’s best practice to link back to the photo and credit the creator. You can donate or share their work to support them, too.

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Psst! I often use this to download great images for @fibra59 #photobombchallenge contests!

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4. Font Squirrel

When I need top of the range typefaces, I head straight for My Fonts, but for the best free fonts on the web, I love Font Squirrel.

They probably say it themselves the best: “Free fonts have met their match. We know how hard it is to find quality freeware that is licensed for commercial work. We’ve done the hard work, hand-selecting these typefaces and presenting them in an easy-to-use format.”

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5. Moyo Studio

I saved the best for last. Honestly, if a ‘small studio-based’ design asset site could be considered to have gone viral, I would nominate this one. I gladly part with my $$ to get my hands on their creations. It’s just so … current, authentic, minimalist, natural … beautiful aesthetics, all offered in carefully curated bundles, or individually.

I found them originally through Creative Market, before saving their actual website to my bookmarks.

(Psst .. they’ve got a super awesome Black Friday sale on right now .. NO, I’m not an affiliate, but I probably should be. Just a big fan.)

Their mock-ups are easily edited into something that looks completely unique, so you don’t have to worry about your Instagram feed or website portfolio ‘looking like everyone elses’.

So … what’s free? If you scroll down their home page:

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… you can sign up to their mailing list to get instant access to 30 free images (easily downloadable via Google Drive). Then, it gets better. They send you free stock images and mock-ups to your inbox every month. Like, really good ones.

Here’s a peek at what I’ve got my hands on so far:

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I hope this list has been helpful—and I’m always on the lookout for premium resources, free or not, so if you’ve got something awesome to recommend back to me, I’m all ears!


Illustration

Morwenna digital illustration | from the historical period drama series, Poldark

Illustration by Leysa Flores: Morwenna, a character from the historical period drama series Poldark. 

Morwenna is not a leading character, but one I relate to. If you have watched the series, you will know her story. For those of you who are not familiar with Poldark—it is a five-season television series by BBC One (2015-19) based on the novels by Winston Graham.
The series is based in Cornwall (South-West England, UK), set in 1781-1801. Morwenna is portrayed by English actress Ellise Chappell.
I just finished watching season five, and many did not like the final season. For me, I enjoyed it the most, perhaps because it was the least depressing and everything came together nicely in the final episode (mostly … no spoilers here).
If you’re interested in the series, try your local library! It’s a free way to test the waters of a series without committing to a purchase or rental.
I’ve got a long way to go with realistic portraits but I enjoy doing them—I hope you like it.
It was illustrated in Procreate on the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

Art

A little update

If you’ve wondered why there have been crickets chirping and leaves rustling around my blog lately (read: a little quiet), it’s because I’ve been finding Instagram to be the best platform for me to update you all on what I’ve been up to (which I also link to my Facebook page).

Let’s face it – we’re mostly mobile these days and simply, the Insta app is so much easier to use than the WordPress one, or at least, it seems so to me.

Also, you may have noticed I’ve been sharing less design work and more of my artworks on my feed. This does not mean I am not actively designing beautiful work for my gorgeous clients. No, indeed! It simply means I have fallen head-over-heels in love with abstract gouache painting, and this has taken much of my creative-outlet energy lately. Of course, I plan on climbing down from the clouds sometime soon to update you all on what I’ve been creating in the graphic design field. (There are some amazing projects that I’ve wrapped up this year. Oh my goodness!)

I was also studying a short course from Jan-Apr this year — Jane Austen, taught by Dr Octavia Cox at the University of Oxford (online). It was a personal bucket-list item that I am absolutely stoked to have completed and thoroughly enjoyed.

I have promised myself to ease off on the studying for now which will free up more time for me to pursue my goal of also becoming an artist. My dream, ultimately, is to align my freelance graphic design services with my passion for art. Stay tuned and be sure to follow along with me on my journey!

Instagram: Leysa Flores Design
Facebook: Leysa Flores Design

Instagram Leysa Flores Art

Illustration

Cosmic cat illustration

This cosmic cat illustration was created as I experimented with lighting and shadows, to improve my understanding of where light falls and how to make an illustration appear more 3D. I still think I prefer flat colour illustration but it’s great to experiment and try new things and always push the limits of your own skills and creativity.

You can see the shadows and highlights better in the original, I think. The original was done in a blush colour.

However, popular opinion liked the black and white version better. What do you think?

I also turned it in to a seamless repeat pattern, as is my latest obsession.

If you’re interested in Procreate tutorials, you should check out Austin Batchelor’s videos on YouTube – amazing stuff. I picked up some great tips and tricks and binge-watched many of his videos the other night. Thanks for sharing, Austin!

Art

Elements

Some people write,

play music,

exercise,

meditate or pray

to heal.

Others create

to let it out

to express themselves.

〰️

I know many designers who love their jobs, including me: solving visual communication problems for amazing clients. This is one of the best jobs in the world, and I am so grateful.

Many designers, including me, also feel the need for a personal creative outlet – after all, we are creative beings. To create art, that is unique to us, somehow, and helps us to keep the flame of creativity alive.

For a long time, I have been inspired by many amazing creative people, including Corina Nika, Britt Fabello, Kim Tran-Flores and Satsuki Shibuya, to mention only a few.

Corina, for her insane talent and aesthetic. Britt, not only for her beautiful artwork but for her story in making the journey from designer to artist. Kim, for her authentic commitment to her passion and kindness.

One of Satsuki’s posts led me to question the purpose of why I want to create. Her style of abstract art really resonates with me and inspires me as I feel it is a similar style of expression that heals me as I create it.

And there is actually the answer to my question – why I want to create. Because it heals me.

I’m not an outgoing person, at all. Anyone who knows me personally knows I hardly ever socialise and I’m a real introvert. My brand voice isn’t like that because Leysa Flores Design is my job (which I love); it is another persona and it is an exceptional service I offer my clients. I am warm and friendly to my clients, because I genuinely care about them and their amazing projects.

But personally, away from the graphic design, is me. And that persona is a lot moodier, quieter and artistic. I struggle with a defining a personal style, from my own perspective, but perhaps Satsuki says it best when she says, “Most of the creative people I know, reinvent themselves and are continually exploring. Find your purpose by trying/seeing if whatever is calling out to you is resonating”.

At the moment, it’s artwork like this – abstract and free. I have Satsuki to thank for that, because she showed me that putting marks on paper is just as perfect-and-imperfect as the way you create it. It’s the process that heals the artist, and the resulting artwork that inspires others to heal. And the last thing I want to do is copy her, or steal from her, but only in the way Austin Kleon explains it: to steal like an artist. Which is, to take what inspires you, build on it, pull it apart, and make it your own.

And so this is what I feel, genuinely, is calling out to me and resonating with me, (in the words of Rousseau), “…without industry, without speech, without home”. If that doesn’t make sense to you, never mind. It does to me.

This piece represents the elements, which are my main source of inspiration, as well as the ability to express something without words or a defined form. Without explanation or justification.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your creative journey and how you find your creative purpose – please share in the comments or email me.

 

 

Patterns

Surface pattern design | blush tortoiseshell

I’ve been really enjoying creating surface pattern designs lately – here’s a stellar one I created yesterday: a blush tortoiseshell pattern design. It’s a sweet take on the traditional colour palette. I love how the glow comes through and looks like liquid resin – but it’s totally a digital painting done in Photoshop.

There’s just something so satisfying about patterns. Naturally, when viewing a graphic, the brain seeks to make sense of it. That’s where the principles and elements of design come in – one being, of course, pattern, whether it’s referred to as repetition or also rhythm. The brain digests the repeat information and is soothed. That’s how I understand it, anyway!

If you like this sort of thing be sure to follow me on Instagram as I post a lot more of this stuff there than here on the blog.

Freebies

Freebie: Definitely naughty gift wrap printable

 

December is certainly the month for freebies!

If you’re like me and still haven’t wrapped your gifts yet, you might like today’s cheeky freebie – a gift wrap / wrapping paper printable! Who is on your definitely naughty list?

It’s A3 size, so you can print it at A3 or scale to and A4 depending on the capabilities of your printer. Have a great weekend, and get wrapping!

Download free gift wrap here | Definitely naughty wrapping paper printable

Freebies

Free wine bottle gift tag: Eat, drink + be merry

 

I’ve designed a free wine bottle gift tag for you to dress up your wine gifts this year! 

It’s a simple addition that adds a personal, luxe touch to your gift.

Simply download, print, cut and fold like the diagram shows to the right. The solid line is the cutting line, and the dotted line shows where to fold. Too easy!

Important note: Please use at least 200gsm thick paper to avoid the paper crinkling.

Once you’ve cut out the main shape, you can use a stanley knife to cut a cross in the centre of the white circle.

Then, pop your scissors into the hole and cut around the edge.

That’s it! You’re done!

Download wine bottle gift tag here: Eat, drink + be Merry

*Personal use only. Commercial use is strictly prohibited.