9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2015 10:53 AM by meifoxx

    InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed

    meifoxx

      Hello!

       

      I made a flyer in InDesign using a webgraphic from Illustrator, I added a drop shadow and a textbox. The colors are navy and silver. When I export to print resolution PDF they still appear navy and silver- however, when I print the PDF or the InDesign file the colors are black and grey. It isn't exactly the same as greyscale (I tried printing in greyscale) but it isn't the right colors either. I had a printing tech come out and he looked through all my settings and said he didn't understand it either, he printed from his computer at home and the same thing happened. He said he thinks it is somewhere on the INDesign/ PDF file end (likely RGB not being converted properly to CMYK).

       

      Has anyone had this happen? And if so, how do I fix it? I need these flyers out to printing services!

        • 1. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Is your monitor calibrated and profiled? Do you use a color managed workflow? Did you check the colors using Separations Preview?

          • 2. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
            meifoxx Level 1

            From what I understand the monitor is fine. I am not entirely sure how to check the colors using "separations preview" because I have never had to before. Could you walk me through that?

            • 3. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              What makes you think the monitor is fine if it's never been calibrated and profiled?

               

              Window > Output > Separations Preview..., then set the dropdown to Separations. Not all RGB colors have CMYK equivalents (printers use CMYK inks). What are the color numbers for your RGB navy and silver (silver is VERY hard to print convincingly without using a spot metallic, by the way).

              • 4. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I don't know what kind of printer you're using, but you aren't going to get "silver" unless you've got one that's loaded with a metallic ink. And blues can be among the hardest colors to match even in a tightly color-managed workflow.

                meifoxx wrote:

                 

                I had a printing tech come out...

                ...he printed from his computer at home and the same thing happened.

                He said he thinks it is somewhere on the INDesign/ PDF file end (likely RGB not being converted properly to CMYK).

                No offense, but it doesn't sound like he's a grizzled veteran of the "printing tech" field.

                Has anyone had this happen?

                Everyone has had this happen. Printed output never matches on-screen color.

                And if so, how do I fix it? I need these flyers out to printing services!

                The science of color management is one of the things that makes graphic design a profession rather than a hobby. Peter touches on a few initial steps you'd need to take, but there are many more measures that may or may not apply to your workflow, hardware, needs, and intent. Getting predictable printed output isn't something that's contained in a one-fits-all formula.

                • 5. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  My printed output matches my screen about 99% these days, as long as my calibrations are up to date, but it isn't easy, or inexpensive, to get to this point.

                  • 6. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                    meifoxx Level 1

                    Okay, maybe I should have specified that I am in no way a professional and did not intend to come off as snarky or all-knowing about this process. I am merely a graduate student in an academic office who is better at this than anyone else in the office. I understand that there is a large amount of this process I have yet to learn. The silver I mentioned is not a metallic silver, I was using the term "silver" to specify a light grey- the grey being printed is instead a neutral grey. Since I am a 2D artist I can put it in these terms: The file presents  20% cool grey versus 40% neutral grey (which is what is being printed). The Navy/ Dark Blue is R: 7 G: 20 and B:48, and the Grey is R:153 G: 155 and B:158.

                    • 7. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      We (or at least I) don't think you were being snarky. The typical academic office has monitors that are good for word processing and have never been calibrated for graphic work (and may not have sufficient range to be accurate anyway -- my monitor cost a LOT more than the computer driving it).

                       

                      I have to tell you, looking at those color mixes here I see a near-black and very nearly neutral gray on screen.

                      • 8. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                        John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Okay, so in your situation meifoxx, trial-and-error is the only way to proceed. Use the printed output you have to go back and make judgements about how to adjust the colors used in the file. If the gray is printing twice as dark as expected, lighten it by half and try again. Blue won't be as straightforward. It would be easier to experiment if you worked in CMYK mixes rather than RGB. That way you could perhaps print a page of blue swatches based on 100% cyan with incrementally increasing black added. Then, choosing one that most closely matches the shade you want, you might add some magenta to enrich it a bit and get to something you'd call "navy."

                        • 9. Re: InDesign colors mismatched when exported and printed
                          meifoxx Level 1

                          Okay, thanks! I really appreciate it.