Color Separation

By Jon Sullivan, PD Photo; This color separation by Jacob Rus (CMYK separation – maximum black) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Definition: Color separation is the process by which original artwork is separated into individual color components for printing. The components are cyan, magenta, yellow and black, known as CMYK. By combining these colors, a wide spectrum of colors can be produced on the printed page. In this four-color printing process, each color is applied to a printing plate. When the colors are combined on paper (they are actually printed as small dots), the human eye combines the colors to see the final image.

The use of plates for printing is part of the process known as lithography.

Also Known As: Four-color Process

Common Misspellings: Color Seperation