There are many models used to measure and describe color. The RGB color model is based on the theory that all visible colors can be created using the primary additive colors red, green and blue. These colors are known as primary additives because when combined in equal amounts they produce white. When two or three of them are combined in different amounts, other colors are produced. For example, combining red and green in equal amounts creates yellow, green and blue creates cyan, and red and blue creates magenta.

As you change the amount of red, green and blue you are presented with new colors. Additionally, when one of these primary additive colors is not present you get black.

RGB Color in Graphic Design

The RGB model is so important to graphic design because it is used in computer monitors. The screen you are reading this very article on is using additive colors to display images and text. Therefore, when designing websites (and other on-screen projects such as presentations), the RGB model is used because the final product is viewed on a computer display.

Types of RGB Color Spaces

Within the RGB model are different color spaces, and the two most common are sRGB and Adobe RGB. When working in a graphics software program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you can choose which setting to work in.

  • sRGB: The sRGB space is best to use when designing for the web, as it is what most computer monitors use.
  • Adobe RGB: Because the Adobe RGB space contains a larger selection of colors that are not available in the sRGB space, it is best to use when designing for print. It is also recommended for use with photos taken with professional digital cameras (as opposed to consumer-level), because high-end cameras often use the Adobe RGB space.

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