When Was CMYK Invented?



Let's exploure when the CMYK color model was invented.  And then we will talk a little about the inventor behind it.

What is CMYK?

Added together, they can form many colors

CMYK is a color model used in printing and it stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black). It's the most common way used to reproduce color on paper. You've probably seen it if you've printed something at home or in a professional print shop.

CMYK is used in printing presses to create colors that appear on paper. The process involves mixing four colors together to create different shades: cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). The resulting combination of these four colors produces a wide range of hues that can be used to produce almost any aspect of an image or design printed on paper. 

The K or "key" refers to any key color being placed into the composition; this could be black but could also be another primary color like red, blue or green depending on what you're trying achieve with your final product (for example: adding more reds would give more warmth while adding more blues would give more coolness).

When was CMYK invented?

CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow and black are the four colors used in a typical color printing process. The combination of these four primary colors is what allows us to create any other color on the spectrum. When was CMYK invented? This question is a bit trickier than it seems at first glance: while most people would assume that this process was developed around the same time as other primary color processes like RGB (red/green/blue) and HSB (hue/saturation/brightness), this isn't actually true.

CMYK printing dates back all the way to 1867 when Scottish scientist William Henry Fox Talbot developed an experimental process for reproducing photographs using four inks: cyan blue-green; magenta red; yellow ocher; and black carbonate of iron. He also invented two separate ways of producing photographic prints: lithography (which uses water-based paints) and photogravure (which uses solvent-based ink). Unfortunately neither method caught on until much later due to their high cost compared with woodcut blocks or copper plates—and not everyone could afford them anyway!

CMYK was invented in 1867 by a Scottish scientist.

James Clerk Maxwell

The CMYK color model was invented in 1867 by a Scottish scientist named James Clerk Maxwell. He came up with the idea of using four colors to create all of the colors you see, so when you're looking at something printed on a page, it's really made up of thousands of tiny dots that combine to make the colors appear like they do. The system uses cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black ink to create a total of 16 colors.

CMYK stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black; these are also known as subtractive colors because they are created by absorbing light rather than reflecting it as additive colors would do. Because these are used for printing on paper or other materials where colored light cannot be used, this type of color scheme is ideal for producing accurate results that match what we see with our eyes when viewing objects in real life.

When was CMYK made into a usable system?

Albert Henry Munsell

CMYK is actually just an acronym. The acronym stands for "cyan," "magenta," yellow" and "key" (black). These four types of ink are used in offset printing to create different colors on press. They're also used in inkjet printing, digital printing and other types of imaging processes. If you've ever had an image printed on paper at home or in a store, chances are good that the images were created using CMYK (or similar) color models.

CMYK was further refined by Albert Henry Munsell back in the 1890s when he developed a system of colored hues based on how people perceived them with their eyes as opposed to how scientists would describe them using spectrophotometer tests (which is how modern computers generate color). Munsell's system was based on three primary colors—red, yellow and blue—and four secondary ones: orange-reds; green-yellowish hues; violet-blue hues; brownish black hues from reds mixed with blacks (or vice versa). He then added white so that they could create other tones too if desired; this became known as Pantone Matching System (PMS) after its creator Pantone Incorporated acquired exclusive rights to use it commercially back in 1988!


That is when the CMYK color model was invented. There can be really no concise date, but it is considered first discovered in 1867 by James Clerk Maxwell and then refined in the 1890's by Albert Henry Munsell.