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Firstly i cant find an appropriate forum, so I'll ask this question here in case someone might know the answer. I'm very new to design so please bear with me. I am creating a set of business cards and one of our corporate colors is vibrant orange (#FF3300).

Using the MS Paint program the color appears as expected according to our corporate guidelines. However when i try to recreate the colors in Illustrator the colors doesn't appear correct.

I also get a "out of gamut warning".

I am using a CMYK Color mode to create the business cards and the equivalent CMYK code is C0 M75 Y100 K0 but this appears off as well.

How can i achieve the desired color accuracy using CMYK? (Attached is a screen shot of the difference)



It seems that my original CMYK conversion was off, but still with the update C0 M80 Y100 K0 it still appears off:


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migrated from Oct 20 '11 at 14:05

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I might be a bit off what you are asking, but let us see.

Let us assume you have the % correctly.

It depends on what you want and what processes you will be using.

As this is business cards, I assume you will have them printed, and printers work on different things: either, spot-colours (pantone #), 4colours (CMYK) or digital print.

CMYK is for print-print. You know, big clunky machinery with specialists behind them, producing quality print. % in CMYK refers to % of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. If you tell your print shop to use spot colour Pantone 239 c, you will get a pretty purple, and this will always be consistent if your printer is doing his job. In some print shops they do mix their own.

That your CMYK colour looks off on your screen, does not have any relevance then. Your screen calibration, the programme, the light.. you will never have a screen colour and a print look absolutely identical. It might look wrong on one and right on the other.

Then you print it out on your office printer to check, and this is also likely to not look right.

You have put your foot in a very tricky thing, and if you are after quality prints, then trust your printers spot colours.

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I think you're right in saying that CMYK colors are not accurately represented on screen. Got the biz cards back and the color is still not as expected - I'd put this down to the quality of the printers? How do graphic designers overcome this discrepancy when there's a difference between what is displayed screen and what is printed? I'd hate to be a graphics designer if it's a process or trial and error! – user35072 Oct 24 '11 at 14:58
well, it depends on what you gave your printer and what process he used... if digital print, he might want it in RGB colourspace, if traditional, clunky print, they want it in CMYK. If you gave them a spot colour, then the pantone number should have been sufficient. I am guessing this was digital print though. If you delivered correct files, you could demand a reprint. – Benteh Oct 24 '11 at 15:09
...and graphic designers that are "born digital" tend to learn this the hard way: awful surprises from your printer, and the ensuing argument that inevitably follows, is usually "won" by the printer. It is painful indeed. This thing might help in explaining a little: – Benteh Oct 24 '11 at 18:46

According to this site the RGB value #FF3300 is equivalent to:

C 0%, M 80%, Y 100%, K 0%

So your conversion is a bit off on the magenta. Try these values.

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Nope - even C 0%, M 80%, Y 100%, K 0% doesn't cut it - See screenshot – user35072 Oct 21 '11 at 6:29
@user35072 - Oh, that's me out of ideas, sorry. – ChrisF Oct 21 '11 at 7:50

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