RGB to CMYK advice needed
November 14, 2008 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm working with a client who has an existing web logo designed the majority of which is three primary colors in RGB. So left to right it's a vertical stripe of Blue (#0000FF) next to a vertical stripe of Red (#FF0000), next to a vertical stripe of Yellow (#FFFF00). This logo now needs to go on business cards (plastic ones) and so needs to convert from RGB to CMYK in order to be printed. Problem being that the CMYK gamut just doesn't do those eye popping RGB turned up to 11 primaries so conversion leaves a lackluster product and the client on seeing the drafts in PDF with the colors converted is not impressed. Ideas for saving this one? CMYK versions of those colors that contrast in a similar way to their RGB equivalents? Recommendations for printers (online or in NYC) who can do 3.5" x 2", rounded corner, double-sided, plastic business cards with special inks? HELP!
posted by merocet to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You should look into using spot colors for the colors that don't reproduce well in CMYK. It will probably cost more, but depending on the number of cards you need, and the fact that you're getting specialty cards with "special inks" anyway, it may not be a lot more.

Also, once you choose a printer, they should be able to help you choose the best way to reproduce those colors.

Attend a press check if at all possible, so you can see the output with your own eyes.
posted by kidbritish at 8:24 AM on November 14, 2008

Best answer: Talk to a printer. A good printer can turn you onto the proper combinations of colors. And this tool may offer some useful suggestions.
posted by jdfan at 8:25 AM on November 14, 2008

Seconding spot colors.
posted by zsazsa at 8:30 AM on November 14, 2008

You'll have to go beyond CMYK. Do you have a Pantone Formula Colors book?

For example on the red, Pantone 172 is closest (so says Photoshop). Pantone Warm Red C is also pretty close. But I can see on-screen that it's not exact.

Suggest you look in to the Pantone hexachrome color spec. Ultimately that might be your ticket -- better than spot if there are many other colors in the job beyond the three logo colors.
posted by omnidrew at 8:34 AM on November 14, 2008

Yeah, I took a look in Photoshop and I feel your pain. Have you looked into Hexachrome printing? It's an expanded CMYK gamut, I think, that might handle the saturation better. No doubt it's more expensive, but it doesn't hurt to check.
posted by empyrean at 8:37 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

My gut says these are going to print flexo. In that case, you'll probably be better off choosing spots with the advice of your printer instead of trying to go from RGB to CMYK to el flexo diablo.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:59 AM on November 14, 2008

Yeh, forget CMYK, this is beyond it. You're going to want three spot colours, and that's gonna cost.
posted by bonaldi at 9:35 AM on November 14, 2008

Best answer: Your only real problem is the blue; 100Y for the yellow and 100M/100Y for the red should look fine.

The blue is just not going to be that intense without using a spot color, but something like 100C/70M should be acceptable.
posted by designbot at 10:49 AM on November 14, 2008

Nthing the suggestion to just go spot. Grab a Pantone book and have the client pick the pantone equivalents, guided by photoshop or some other tool that gets you close. Recreate the logo using spot colors, and print it that way. It's really the only way to get those popping colors.
posted by griffey at 12:57 PM on November 14, 2008

This is a job for a print designer and a commercial printer. Web designers who don't understand the way print works do a disservice to their clients. You might want to partner up with a print designer who occasionally needs web design work done so that these types of issues are more skillfully handled in the future on both ends.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:22 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

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