Everything You Must Know About Colour Gamut

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Colour Gamut

Can the human mind really know all the possible colours nature has to offer? The huge spectrum of colours that even the rainbow has to offer. There is an infinite range of colour shades and tinges that exist around us. But hardly 1.36% of the world’s population has a true four-colour vision, and they can be called tetrachromats. Now, four-colour vision is when the human eye has four colour cones that are able to absorb nearly 100 million colours. The colour spectrum that the naked human eye can identify is called the colour gamut. The colour gamut doesn’t include the colours that still exist and cannot be recognized.

Can imagine how reddish green would look like? Or bluish yellow? No. Because such colours are impossible for our eyes to see and our brain to visualize as we haven’t seen them yet. Just like human eye is limited to a colour gamut, artificial visuals generated by modern day technology also possesses this limitation. From projections to screens to LED displays and monitors, there is no exception, given their colour display standards. Colour gamuts are subjective and that’s what makes them interesting. Below are some interesting facts and concepts about the colour coverage and standards of a digital colour gamut.

Various methods are available to express the colour gamut in a diagrammatic form. The most common method is the ‘XY’ chromaticity diagram of the XYZ colour system. This system was established by the International Commission on Illumination. In the XY chromaticity diagram, the identifiable range of colours are represented using numeric figures and are graphed as colour coordinate.

Horseshoe Shop of Visible Color

What Are Colour Standards?

Colours are often generated via combinations of other colours, instead of producing colours on its own. In print media, the printers typically contain ink for just four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. All other colours that you see in print form are results of the mixture and blend of these base colours. Regardless of the device, which frameworks set the standards for colour production? It’s the colour standards that directly relate to patterned colour gamuts.

Different Types of Colour Standards

The most common colour standards include sRGB, Adobe RGB, NTSC, EBU, and DCI-P3.


sRGB is the most common colour standard that is used in almost all digital devices. From cameras to monitors and televisions, it is guaranteed that at some point in the past you must have encountered sRGB. This colour standard is popular for a reason. The input and output for sRGB experiences very little lag time and the least amount of discrepancies. These benefits make sRGB to become as extensively used as it is currently.

Adobe RGB

Adobe RGB is just a colour standard that was simply designed to compete with sRGB. It was meant to offer a broader colour gamut when implemented properly. This was to depict colours and blends in a more realistic fusion. When Adobe RGB was introduced, it was too ambitious and advanced for the technology it was meant to be used with. Thanks to its attention to detailing, it soon had to become a colour standard for advanced devices. And as LCD monitors and photography technology evolved, Adobe RGB is being used widely.


In a basket of popular colour standards, The Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers planned to introduce their own colour standard which was called DCI-P3. With an emphasis and focus on digital videography and projection, DCI-P3 chooses a colour gamut that is comparatively wider than its counterpart sRGB. Given that sRGB was its original roots, the DCI-P3 is a colour standard that is easily compatible with all digital projection devices on a cinematic level. On a consumer level, DCI-P3 can be found within the internal camera of the iPhone X.


NTSC actually stands for the National Television Standards Committee. But they created their own colour standard, NTSC, which was used in all newly produced televisions. Similar to Adobe RGB at so many levels, the NTSC colour standard still slightly differs when it comes to the production of colours red and blue. NTSC is yet to become the televisual colour standard but has found its niche into monitors and screens meant for professional video and photo editing.


Just like the NTSC, EBU, European Broadcasting Union, decided to have its own colour standard. Conventionally, the EBU colour standard focuses mainly on photography, videography, and graphic designing fields. With the availability of broader colour gamuts and ultra-high definition resolutions like 4K, the EBU colour standards were then placed into more common products at the consumer level.

The Colour Mode for Print Media: CMYK

When graphic designers are designing visual content on software like Photoshop, Illustrator, or CorelDRAW, they can choose among two colour modes when they start a new document. The two colour modes that they can choose from are RGB and CMYK. For print media, it’s essential to opt for CMYK colour mode to prevent unbalanced colours.

The CMYK colour profile contains the colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). When these are combined, they form hues of various other colours. When you opt for digital printing, the colour mode CMYK is chosen by default.

All in all, CMYK is a commonly used and chosen colour gamut mode that is popularly used in all print media software and devices. With new technology advancements, there might be new large format digital printing devices that might evolve the colour gamut modes even further but CMYK might remain as is! To know more about large format printing and high definition graphic designing, take a look at other blogs. If you have any other questions, you can contact us or write us a message.

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