17 Replies Latest reply on Feb 5, 2014 9:02 AM by thedigitaldog

    What color space as base in a brand guide?

    perrybrus Level 1

      color-guide.png

      What color space forms the base of a color brand guide? How do you start in terms of color spesifications? When I look at most guides it seems that Pantone is always the base, then CMYK, then RGB and Hex? Is RGB and Hex always gonna be a dithered version of the CMYK values or is it best practise to hand pick each one to make them look as close to the CMYK as possible? Is Pantone always mentioned first in the list because that's where the designer started?

       

      Also, is best practise to mimmick the CMYK and Pantone colors so that the RGB and hex values look like them? Seems to me that most brand guides / visual manuals are made firstly for print, then they add the screen based color spaces.

      In the enclosed example I also observe that the complete values are not always listed, in many cases the Y and K is missing in the CMYK values, does that mean it doesn't contain any black, or is it simply meaning zero? It rarerly occurs with the other color spaces.

        • 1. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
          Level 5

          Most folks work in RGB and only convert to CMYK for the final target file, generally a copy of the RGB file.

          • 2. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
            perrybrus Level 1

            station_two, the guide I'm supposed to follow right now (not the attached sample) looks to be very made for print, cause the RGB and Hex colors looks like pale cousins of the print values. The whole guide is very print orientated so it looks to me that the designer has added the RGB and Hex with little effort to mimmick the Pantone and CMYK. I'm tempted to launch a seperate web/screen guide that takes care of that problem, but then I feel bad cause it's like editing a guide that supposed to be made in stone.  

            • 3. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
              Level 5

              Sorry for my delayed response.  I had to step away from the machine in the middle of composing my previous post.

               

              As you may have gathered from the careful phrasing of my post #1, I merely stated my general observation of what CMYK users normally reply to the question; personally, I only extremely rarely work with CMYK files, as I'm primarily concerned with photography and art prints. 

               

              Now the image shows in your OP.  Go figure. 

              • 4. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                Level 5

                Referencing your other thread, I fully agree with guru Andrew Rodney that the RGB values in the sample file are meaningless without specifying exactly what color space they are in.

                • 5. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                  D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  You don't need to mimic anything. Given a set of icc profiles, any conversion between them is unambiguous and definitive. The exception is if a color is out of gamut in one of the color spaces; then the equivalent would be the closest possible match.

                   

                  As has been said, numbers are meaningless unless they reference a specific color space/icc profile. That's what the profile does - define the numbers.

                   

                  Now, Photoshop comes with default working color spaces, which just happens to be sRGB and US Web Coated (SWOP) v2 out of the box. I suspect many people take those two as having some sort of "universal" significance. They don't, not by any stretch of the term. In fact the first thing most professionals do is swap those for something more appropriate.

                  • 6. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                    perrybrus Level 1

                    After looking trough over a dusin visual guides from global brands I have yet to see a definition of what color space they were made in. BBC, Nike, Skype and more, they all define their color structure as in my attached example, but most of them include all of the CMYK values. I have yet to learn what color is the base for the guide tough, they all include Pantone, CMYK, RGB, Hex - in that exact order. So I guess it's just best practise and that it doesn't have to be a prioritized definiton.

                    • 7. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                      perrybrus Level 1

                      I would say that sRGB is appropiate for most designers working with web publishing. It's not like it's the choise of non proffessionals, it's a reason why it's default. Most people actually design for web only services within PS according to Adobe, so I don't belive it just "happens to be" sRGB by default. When working with GUI design etc sRGB is not incorrect.

                      • 8. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                        Level 5

                        The reason it's the default is that sRGB is the lowest common denominator among RGB color spaces.  Even so, you're discarding some out of gamut color when you convert from sRGB to CMYK, which is an even narrower color space.

                        • 9. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                          perrybrus Level 1

                          So what do you do when converting from RGB in Illustrator? As far as I can see there's only RGB and CMYK to choose from in there (I have CS4) PS have much wider colorspace options. In InDesign I don't know but it seems like its only possible to work within the CMYK mode.

                          • 10. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            There is never only RGB and CMYK in color managed software. There is always a profile specified in Color Settings. You're looking at File > Document Color Mode, which is the same as Image > Mode in Photoshop.

                             

                            But in fact you have the same options in Ai and ID as you have in Photoshop - a Color Settings dialog where you choose working spaces; as well as Edit > Assign Profile and Edit > Convert to Profile.

                             

                            With one exception: Illustrator only has assign profile, not convert. I don't know the reason for that, but it's possibly to avoid CMYK to CMYK conversions which can be tricky for a number of reasons. You need workarounds to convert to a different CMYK or RGB profile than the one you have specified in Color Settings.

                             

                            InDesign allows both RGB and CMYK content in the same document, and there you can assign or convert to any profile.

                            • 11. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                              perrybrus Level 1

                              I see, thanks for clearing that up. But what color profile (that I called "mode") do you reccomend in InDesign when your making a pdf document that's going to be emailed around and viewed on the screen. But it could also end up being printed. What's the most common color profile in general in terms of all round work when dealing with InDesign, if I can put like that. I've sendt rather large artwork made in PS to a rather high-end print shop that deals with exhebition material, and they never returned my files with any demands of re-assignments of color profiles all tough I've been working in sRGB all the time. They received large enough files (pretty huge at times) and the result came out very accurate compared to my original. The print media was everything from canvas, different types of paper to alliminum plates.

                               

                              I've been importing RGB pixel graphics to my documents and exporting to PDF with the automated process, never payed any attention to any color profiles in neither InDesign or in pdf preferences. I discovered that my InDesign RGB color profile is sRGB and in the CMYK section it says U.S Web Coated (Swop) V2. Should I change these setting for better results in general?! Let's say if I'm making a brand guide that was my initial topic in this thread.

                              • 12. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                For web, email and screen in general it should always be sRGB. Then you can be fairly certain that it will display correctly (more or less) in any scenario. sRGB wil also work for print (inkjet), it's just that many colors that can be printed are out of sRGB gamut, so it's a restriction that doesn't need to be there. sRGB is a small color space that can't reproduce very saturated colors - they're just clipped. So it's better to start with a larger space like Adobe RGB or even ProPhoto.

                                 

                                For editing purposes you want a large color space simply to have headroom and not hit the wall at every move. The final destination may well be a smaller space, like a printer profile. The software then converts to that destination profile as it goes to the printer. You can soft proof to the printer profile to get an impression of how the final result will look.

                                 

                                You can print directly from InDesign, but the typical InDesign workflow is to export a finished PDF. That is where you specify a final destination profile for the whole document, whether a certain CMYK profile for offset press, or an RGB profile for screen. So you have your master InDesign file, and output PDFs for each destination. The InDesign file can contain placed RGB images in any color space, while text and graphic elements are CMYK. Then everything is converted in one go at export.

                                 

                                You should always go through the PDF Export dialog carefully. Use the presets, but don't automatically accept defaults. For specific purposes, ask here or in the InDesign forum, where they deal with this all the time.

                                 

                                For screen, under "Output" use convert to destination, sRGB, include profile. Under "Compression", things aren't as obvious as they used to be (downsample to 96 or 100 ppi), because of the new retina displays that can benefit from a higher resolution. I hold my judgement on this one.

                                • 13. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                  perrybrus Level 1

                                  But if you reccomend Adobe RGB over sRGB in InDesign because the latter has a too narrow color space, why stick with sRGB when pushing interface pixels and bitmap graphics in PS? To be honest, my perception is that the end user doesn't have a clue about calibrating their monitors so what they get is in the end all the same. Alltough I may put effort into getting an exact red tone we all know how inpredictable that outcome is when it hits the user monitor.

                                   

                                  I changed Color Settings in InDesign, but I see that assign profiles is still the default. So does that mean I'm working in the space that I defined in Color Settings, but that my export will turn out differently cause I need to assign a color profile as well? I tought all was sweet and dandy until I started asking all these questions about color. Now everything seems upside down. Is this sRGB versus Adobe RGB really just nit-picking in terms of web graphics? Like when I say "hit the ball with your left leg 2 cm more to the right, that will give it 0,6 km more speed" I don't know anyone working with me in GUI work that uses Adobe RGB in PS. Perhaps we're all become fat'n lazy. I'm confused. But you did say "For web, email and screen in general it should always be sRGB" so that InDesign switch kinda had me worrying - cause major part of that work never gets printed either. But I always make the document format printer friendly, for office printers that is.

                                   

                                  By the way, isn't all the monitors out there based on the same RGB color concept? So when they look at graphics it's all down to hardware in terms of what quality they receive on the image. I mean, outdated graphic boards generates a crappy result, a wore down old monitor with no light the same. A high-end top of the line proffessional monitor is a complete different story. So sRGB or Adobe RGB or "whatever RGB" - dunno how cruical it is in the end.

                                  • 14. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I was just trying to give you some background .

                                     

                                    As for advice, it's this: stick to sRGB until you know why you would want to use something else. Really. With sRGB you're safe (and that's why it's the default everywhere).

                                    • 15. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                      perrybrus Level 1

                                      Thanks for the input, I guess there's alot of questions to be answered in my latter post and I may have to divide them into topics and post'em in different groups. Especially the one with normal RGB systems on receiver monitors, I don't even think there's just one but many ways the displays treats the RGB structure, thus affecting the outcome. That's why I personally believe sRGB vs Adobe RGB isn't that important in terms of web work, but more so in the context of digital imagery and photography.

                                       

                                      Anywho, it's a vast topic this color managment thing.

                                      • 16. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                        D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Yes, it certainly is. It's always better if you can break it down to specific problems and ask about that as you go along.

                                         

                                        The underlying, basic principles of color management are actually pretty simple once you manage to wrap your head around it, which usually takes some time. But when you finally do, a lot of these things fall into place by themselves. Read and just try to absorb. I can't think of anything specific to recommend off the top of my head, but the Adobe help files aren't too bad actually.

                                         

                                        But for now, let's just say that anything involving web should be sRGB.

                                        • 17. Re: What color space as base in a brand guide?
                                          thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                          perrybrus wrote:

                                           

                                          Especially the one with normal RGB systems on receiver monitors, I don't even think there's just one but many ways the displays treats the RGB structure, thus affecting the outcome. That's why I personally believe sRGB vs Adobe RGB isn't that important in terms of web work, but more so in the context of digital imagery and photography.

                                          The outcome to the display yes. The outcome to a conversion from an RGB working space to some output space no. The display profile has only one role: to provide correct previews within ICC aware applications. They play absolutely no role outside that.

                                           

                                          And sRGB vs. Adobe RGB IS important in web work for those using wide gamut RGB displays which are becoming more common. IOW, in the future, when sRGB display-like systerms have gone the way of the CRT's that could produce that space, and more users are working with wide gamut displays, sRGB becomes less useful, Adobe RGB more so.