"CMYK (short for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), and often referred to as process color or four color) is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, also used to describe the printing process itself. Though it varies by print house, press operator, press manufacturer and press run, ink is typically applied in the order of the acronym.
The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking certain colors on the typically white background (that is, absorbing particular wavelengths of light). Such a model is called subtractive because inks “subtract” brightness from white.
In additive color models such as RGB, white is the “additive” combination of all primary colored lights, while black is the absence of light. In the CMYK model, it is just the opposite: white is the natural color of the paper or other background, while black results from a full combination of colored inks. To save money on ink, and to produce deeper black tones, unsaturated and dark colors are produced by substituting black ink for the combination of cyan, magenta and yellow".