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Glossary – Color Space

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Color Space

A color space describes the range of all colors that can be displayed on monitors, software and devices, as well as the range of colors that can be imaged using different printing methods. The human eye also has a given color space, which includes all optically detectable colors. It is difficult to determine how many colors a person can actually perceive. In research, one assumes about 20 million recognizable colors. From this abundance of colors, the parts of the color range that can be reproduced on image processing devices are recorded in smaller partial color spaces.

To describe color spaces, the xy color chart of the XYZ color space system is usually used. In a coordinate system, these parameters can be used to represent all colors that can be displayed in the media. Color spaces related to the display of colors on monitors, in offset printing or in newspaper printing can be drawn in this coordinate system. In general, one differentiates between three color spaces, which refer to different mediation media. The RGB color space refers to monitors that produce colors of light in an additive color mixture and project these over each other. The abbreviation RGB stands for red, green and blue, the core colors that are used in this color space to represent all other colors.

The CMYK color space contains those colors that can be displayed in offset printing. It is therefore a device-dependent color space, which can mix colors in subtractive color mixing of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Newspaper printing also uses CMYK, but this color space is smaller due to the nature of the printing conditions than in offset printing.

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