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Why is the color black is represented by the letter “K” in “CMYK?”

September 18th, 2012 | Posted by Alex in graphics


The “K” in CMYK stands for key since in four-color printing cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed or aligned with the key of the black key plate. Some sources suggest that the “K” in CMYK comes from the last letter in “black” and was chosen because B already means blue. However, this explanation, although useful as a mnemonic, is incorrect.

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