5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 2, 2014 9:54 AM by thedigitaldog

    Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide

    perrybrus Level 1

      I’m looking at a visual guideline for a large company right now, in the color section it says for instance C72 M98 with no defined Y or K values?! Another color in the guide is classified as C70 M70 K45, in this case the Yellow value is missing. Does this mean that everything NOT included in the color values is 0? I'm used to seeing all the four values in CMYK defined.

       

      Also, the RGB values of the CMYK colors are not the ones that I get when I let Photoshop and InDesign translate or convert them? They have other RGB values of those CMYK ranges in the guide. At the same it says "we use a basic color palette to avoid using different versions of the same color.” Well, aren't they doing the exact opposite here?

        • 1. Re: Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Those numbers mean absolutely nothing until they're associated with a specific icc profile. So saying "we use a basic color palette to avoid using different versions of the same color” is in itself meaningless until they also specify a profile. It's like putting "five water" in a recipe.

           

          Note the different CMYK values in this randomly picked color. Top is ISO Coated v2 300% (eci), bottom US Web Coated (SWOP) v2:

           

          cmyk.png

           

          Ditto for RGB. Numbers for sRGB will not be the same as for Adobe RGB, describing the exact same color.

           

          As for the missing values I don't see how that could mean anything other than zero-?

          • 2. Re: Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide
            perrybrus Level 1

            I didn't get quite what you meant about the ICC profile cause we are talking CMYK here and not how a spesific printer is calibrated. Sometimes I make sure I get the ICC profile from a printshop when I prepare photographes to be printed at a lab, then I'm able to corresponde with how they calibrate their machines, but in terms of CMYK values I find mixing ICC profiles into the issue strange? Every brand guide has a CMYK guide and that color space is a global standard.

             

            When it comes to RGB versus CMYK I'm still confused when it comes to conversations between them. If I pick C30 M100 Y100 K42 from the CMYK values working in a sRGB environment in PS, the RGB values directly translated are R120 G6 B6, but if I do the same from within InDesign the latter values are R117 G19 B19. But in InDesign I don't have the opportunity to choose color modes like I have in PS? I'm using CS4 for both. Isn't every document in InDesign default CMYK at 300dpi? (not that resolution has anything to do with it, just saying) I never work in Adobe RGB mode in Photoshop cause my work is 90% for screen when I'm in that application. Even when I import images from a camera that's shot using the Adobe RGB color space my application is default at sRGB and I never change that. If I need to use them in a print file I just place them into InDesign and the application re-calculates the color space / mode when it's being exported to PDF. All the printshops are fine with that.

             

            So, how am I supposed to relate to brand guides like the one I referred to, saying they don't use different versions of the same color? This company is huge and they have a bunch of brands and sub brands. I mean, they are probably one of the largest media companies around. So they surerly must know what they are doing?

             

            When making color guides for a brand guide, should one start with Pantone, then find a simmilar CMYK, then find the RGB color that dithers the best to try to simulate the CMYK colors and then lastly add the hex codes from the RGB values for web usage? And what color mode should be the default starting point for work like this?

            • 3. Re: Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide
              thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              perrybrus wrote:

               

              I didn't get quite what you meant about the ICC profile cause we are talking CMYK here and not how a spesific printer is calibrated.

              The ICC profile IS the item that defines, controls and produces the CMYK data. That's the mechanism by which RGB becomes CMYK. It's far more than printer calibration.

              ... in terms of CMYK values I find mixing ICC profiles into the issue strange? Every brand guide has a CMYK guide and that color space is a global standard.

              There is no such global standard. And many shops simply aim for their own CMYK "standard" if we can be so kind to use that term. CMYK is a device dependant color space. Every device can produce a different recipe of CMYK based on it's substrate, the inks or toner or whatever is used to produce the color, the calibration as you point out, the entire behavior of the output device can be vastly different. Just take an RGB document in a defined color space (sRGB), pick all the various CMYK recipes built into Photoshop and examine the resulting CMYK values. They are all different, some by a large factor. The correct CMYK values are those, produced from an RGB conversion that is based on the output behavior of the CMYK device. The numbers are all over the planet. There are some standard target behaviors like SWOP V2 that a shop may or may not attempt to produce. Without an ICC profile to define that process, anything else is a guess.

              I never work in Adobe RGB mode in Photoshop cause my work is 90% for screen when I'm in that application. Even when I import images from a camera that's shot using the Adobe RGB color space my application is default at sRGB and I never change that.

              That's a totally different subject of which we are not ready to discuss yet. Keep in mind however that IF you are controlling the CMYK conversions properly, with the correct ICC profile for the output, you're short changing that conversion in many cases feeding it sRGB as there are colors in many CMYK color spaces that fall outside sRGB gamut, not Adobe RGB (1998). And if your camera is indeed producing Adobe RGB (1998) data and getting tagged or treated as sRGB, you've got some major color problems! But for the time being, you need to understand what the CMYK color space is and is capable of reproducing and how to get to the correct recipe of CMYK from RGB.

              • 4. Re: Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide
                perrybrus Level 1

                Thanks for the input,

                 

                I've never experienced any "major color problems" when treating an Adobe RGB image in an application that's set to work in sRGB mode. The very few times I need to print something (very rarerly cause it's all presented online) I receive the labs ICC profile file and embedd that into PS. I've tried to switch PS into Adobe RGB mode before just for those few images and in my mind I haven't really discovered any major differences, I adjust my images towards my visual preception anyways and I may very well end up in a complete different place from where I started. So no, I don't experience any "major color problems" as you put it, cause my images look the way I want them to. How they look on each individual screen around the world is impossible to controll anyhow. All I can hope is that their monitors are decent.

                 

                 

                I understand that printers around the globe are not ONE beast feeding out an accurate color just because the file has a defined CMYK code attached to it. I don't live in the US for instance and I know they have some different standards as well. So, that's all clear. I also understand that converting a CMYK value to an RGB value also depends on what colorspace I'm in (sRGB etc) but still if the CMYK codes are what they are, it's the designers original intent to create that spesific color. So those numbers are global if you understand what I mean. It's an original attempt at producing a certain type of color. So when trying to follow a visual brand guide, those color codes (Pantone, CMYK, RGB, hex) are there to be copied exactly. I can't do more than that in order to follow the guide. So when I'm making something for screen based media I use the RGB and Hex codes that's listed in the brand guide. When I do print I use the CMYK codes - and if I wanna do some more tactile stuff like plastic banners or umbrellas perhaps the Pantone codes are the best.

                 

                 

                What I still don't get is how I'm supposed to relate to brand guides like I mention when they write "we use a basic color palette to avoid using different versions of the same color.” Aren't they doing the exact opposite here? Aren't we supposed to use different versions cause it's kinda hard not to? Isn't that what it's all about? Or have I missed out on something? Also, if someone that's been making brand guides like this could tell me how they start in terms of color spesifications? Is Pantone always the base, then CMYK, then RGB and Hex? Is RGB and Hex always gonna be a dithered version of the CMYK values? Do you start out by sorting out the first two and then try to manually adjust the RGB codes to mimmick the CMYK and Pantone colors? What's the approach?

                 

                 

                Thanks.

                • 5. Re: Incomplete CMYK values in brand guide
                  thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  perrybrus wrote:

                  I've never experienced any "major color problems" when treating an Adobe RGB image in an application that's set to work in sRGB mode.

                  Depends on what you are actually describing. Open an sRGB document, go into Photoshop and Assign Adobe RGB (1998) or vise versa. There will be a color problem.

                  IF your sRGB data is converted to Adobe RGB (1998), you 've gained nothing but the color appearance will be OK. If you convert Adobe RGB (1998) to sRGB, you've gained little and again the data will preview correctly. IF you are indeed importing images from a camera that's shot using the Adobe RGB color space my application, it's default is set for sRGB AND that app is treating it as sRGB when it's really Adobe RGB (1998) you've got color problems (whether you see it or not)!

                   

                  Again, until you've got this CMYK issue cleared up, let's not go into the various RGB working spaces, their gamuts and what that brings to the party.


                  I also understand that converting a CMYK value to an RGB value also depends on what colorspace I'm in (sRGB etc) but still if the CMYK codes are what they are, it's the designers original intent to create that spesific color.

                  It depends on BOTH color spaces. I have no idea why anyone would convert CMYK to RGB but that's another discussion. However, BOTH the RGB and CMYK color spaces, both defined by an ICC Profile can produce different values in either direction. All conversions take two color spaces defined by two profiles. One profile is a bit like one hand clapping. Doesn't work.

                   

                  ALL CMYK values from RGB are defined by two profiles, alter either, you'll get different values after the conversion.

                   

                  What I still don't get is how I'm supposed to relate to brand guides like I mention when they write "we use a basic color palette to avoid using different versions of the same color.”

                  It's nonsense. Ignore it. Without the recipe for RGB or CMYK, you can't produce any values you can depend upon.

                   

                  Don't confuse creating a solid color using process inks for creating images which are based on millions of solid colors output on a device that has no definition for it's output characteristics! Those characteristics are defined by an ICC Profile for the output conditions. That's what defines the numbers correctly and without any ambiguity.