When it comes to a printed product, colour is often the first thing anyone notices. It can catch your eye or let you pass right on by. This makes it one of the most critical aspects of preparing files for print, yet colour is often misunderstood or even overlooked. Here, we’ll discuss some fundamental colour concepts to help you ensure that your printed images consistently appear as amazing as you want.

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RGB: Red, Green, Blue

– Color space used by digital display

– Additive colour model

– 100% R+G+B = White

RGB is the colour space used by digital devices and televisions. It is considered an additive colour model because in its natural state, a screen is black and colour changes happen only when colour is added.


The RGB gamut (or colour range) offers millions of possibilities, and colour can vary quite substantially from one screen to another. Factors such as brightness, ambient light, the age of the device, and the software that you’re using can make a significant difference. For this reason, it can be tricky to get different screens to render the same colour identically.


We recommend calibrating your monitor regularly. TR Trades sells monitor calibrators and offers same day delivery.


Examples of RGB Devices:


CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black

– Color space used by printers

– Subtractive colour model

– 100% C+M+Y = Black (K)

CMYK is the colour space used for printing. It is considered a subtractive colour model, and it might help to think that it’s because we subtract colour from the brightness of the substrate (paper or other media) until we have true black. The inks that are commonly used are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which is also referred to as four-colour (4C) or process colour printing.

The CMYK gamut is more limited than RGB, but some of our high end digital equipment uses additional inks to increase the possible colour range. Colour can vary from device to device, and matching a previously-printed sample can be challenging. It is even more challenging to match a printed sample to what you see on your screen.



Examples of CMYK Devices:


Colour gamut refers to the range of colours that can be achieved by different devices, and all devices have different colour gamuts. For example, a standard laser printer typically contains only four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), which is more limited than some of our high end devices that contain twelve inks.


Visible colours have the largest colour gamut.

RGB devices have the second largest colour gamut.

CMYK devices have a limited colour gamut.


When building files for print, it is important to understand the colours you’ll be using and how they will appear on a printed page. For optimal results, select colours from a CMYK palette or a Pantone swatchbook. If you have to do any colour conversions, it is best to do them on a monitor that has been calibrated to the final output device, which is not always possible when submitting files to a print shop. At TR Trades, our graphics department is trained to look for instances of undesirable colour conversion, and if necessary, we will contact you with solutions.

Interested in a Colour Seminar?

Accurately reproducing colours is not a simple process—let us teach you some basic tools to improve your colour output!

Here are a few simple tips you can implement immediately:

1. Build your files using sRGB in an Adobe program.

This colour space is almost entirely reproducible on CMYK devices.



2. Use a Pantone swatch book to choose your colours.

When designing on your computer, if you select a bright green or orange, it will likely not reproduce accurately in CMYK. To get an accurate idea of how your colours will print, reference the CMYK section of a Pantone swatch book when selecting them.





3. Calibrate your monitor regularly.
TR Trades sells monitor calibrators and can have them delivered to your office within the same day.


4. TR Trades recommends exporting your PDF versus “printing to PDF”.


5. Use Soft Proofing.
All Adobe programs have a “soft proofing” function that allows you to see which of your RGB colours will not print accurately in CMYK. When soft proofing, you will clearly see which colours will be cropped to the nearest colour reproducible in CMYK.

TR Trades Reproduction Ltd.

1744 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver BC

Mon to Thurs 7:30am to 9:00pm
Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm
After hours printing available!

“McKenzie is always eager to respond and help. Great customer service as always!”
Smart Design Group


Senior Account Manager

McKenzie joined the TR team with a solid foundation of experience in the print industry. His career began in production, where he developed his skills in maintenance, operations and finishing. Quickly recognized for his talent, initiative and charisma, McKenzie was promoted to Production Lead. At the helm of the production team, he proved a natural leader and infected the team with his positivity and work ethic.

After building his knowledge leading the production team, McKenzie progressed into the Sales department, honing his sales skills under the leadership of Carla Duncan and TR’s customer focused approach. His natural penchant for customer service and dedication to quality assurance proved an ideal fit for the TR sales team where McKenzie now functions as Account Manager.

Never one to rest on his laurels, McKenzie enhanced his knowledge with sales courses at BCIT and can regularly be seen applying his skills throughout the shop. Don’t be surprised to find him supporting the finishing department, assisting clients at the front desk, or onsite ensuring installations surpass customer expectations.

Also goes by: Mac

Interesting fact about McKenzie: he can be found on Wikipedia

Best described in three words as: loyal, funny, and stubborn

Cannot live without: his back massager

Quote to live by: “When you look at someone through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags” – Wanda the Owl

“Bruce has always provided excellent customer service.”
InterCAD Services Ltd.


CAD & eProject Manager

When you meet Bruce you automatically know he is a seasoned professional in the reprographics industry. Starting out as a driver for Hughes Owens Printing in 1978, he eventually transitioned to Trimen Blueprinting where he acted as a reprographics technician for 13 years. With the onset of the digital era in 2000, TR Trades hired Bruce as CAD Manager. Since then he has been an invaluable asset to the company and anyone who has questions regarding CAD plotting. When Bruce is not overseeing others in the CAD department, he spends countless hours troubleshooting client issues, unearthing customer print errors, and providing eProject software support. He is regularly looked to for printing advice by both coworkers and clients.

Bruce is also well versed in troubleshooting onsite issues and participating in client presentations, having assisted Carla and TR sales staff in many client meetings. If you’re looking for a history lesson on the print industry or if you want to optimize your drawings for print, you’ll want to call on Bruce. Many may not know, but Bruce is a musician at heart! He originally studied engineering and math, eventually realizing it was not the career path he wished to pursue. Following this, Bruce went on to complete both a music program and a piano technician program through Douglas College. During his spare time, you’ll find him creating music or acting as a vocalist in several bands. When he is not playing the guitar and recording music, you can find Bruce tinkering around on one of his computers or watching hockey.

Also goes by: Stretch

Best described as: Humble

Favourite place in Vancouver: Minnekhada, Coquitlam

Guilty pleasure: Audio software

Favourite TV show: Hockey

Ideal meal: Mac & cheese (with ketchup)

Cannot live without: Music

Carla Duncan


Having worked in the family business since before she can remember, Carla has a natural talent for helping clients reach their printing goals. Always an advocate for education, Carla completed the Marketing Management course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and then obtained a degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University with a double major in Management Technology and Human Resources. And all of this is in addition to sales and marketing courses at BCIT!

Combining her extensive education with a lifetime of experience, Carla is a driving force behind the success of TR Trades. On a daily basis, she can be found anywhere in the shop, always striving to enhance client satisfaction. Her familiarity with our systems, equipment, and services make her uniquely capable of ensuring clients benefit from every possible way that TR Trades can help businesses grow.

Favourite place in Vancouver: None. She would rather be off the grid camping!

During her free time you can find her: riding her atv or dirtbike, camping in the wild, fishing off the West Coast, fishing in a river, or in her garden.

Ideal meal: steak and double stuffed potatoes

What gets her motivated in the morning: coffee and coming to work!

Contact Me

“If you’re looking for an alternative option to your current print supplier, please call my cell at 604.376.7803. I would love to speak with you about how we can help your business.

604.736.4571 x 121