4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2009 2:10 AM by [scott]

    White is grey in CMYK jpg - ideas?


      I'm using Illustrator in CS2.


      I have a logo that sits on a white background. I need to distribute it for a variety of uses and one of the formats I've selected is jpg (principally for people creating desktop documents and making presentations). Because it's intended mainly for print use it's in CMYK mode - and the colours of the logo certainly come out differently in RGB mode whether on the screen or on paper.


      The problem is that I've discovered that white in a CMYK jpg actually shows up as a very faint grey on the screen when imported into Microsoft programs such as Word and Powerpoint (unfortunately I only have Adobe and Microsoft applications so I can't tell if it's a Microsoft-specific issue). My own tests indicate that it's only an issue on the screen and that it prints in white as it should, although a user has said that he can see the edges of the "white" when printing.


      You can see what I mean if you open a new CMYK document in Illustrator, add a white rectangle with no border, export it as a jpg and import that into Word. If you do the same but set the colour mode to RGB the problem goes away.


      If it weren't for the colour shift in the logo I'd simply save it in RGB mode but the whole point of publishing the logo and its accompannying branding rules is consistency. I don't suppose there's a lovely little button somewhere in Illustrator that says, "Make white white," is there?



        • 1. Re: White is grey in CMYK jpg - ideas?
          Scott Falkner Level 5

          If you’re making a file to be placed in presentation software and word processors, you should be using RGB instead of CMYK. Many of such programs only understand RGB. Also, since this is a logo, PNG format would probably make a better image than JPEG since it will not introduce artifacts at the edges or high contrast areas.

          Microsoft programs are notoriously awful. ER... I mean awful at working with CMYK images. In Windows XP if you get the properties of a CMYK image it will tell you it has "CMYK Color Scheme". No, CMYK is a colour model, not a colour scheme. A colour scheme would be Cyan carpets and Magenta throw pillows. Use RGB images with Office programs, and PNG for anything that does not use a lot of shading, like photos or gradients.

          • 2. Re: White is grey in CMYK jpg - ideas?
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

            Well, what do you think Office products know about CMYK? Zero! You are looking for an error in the wrong place. Converting to RGB is the correct procedure for embedding files in MS Office documents. And not to put too fien a point on it: As long as you can't guarantee that all screens and printers are color managed (which I never have heard of being the case in an average business office), all your concerns regarding constency of color reproduction are pretty much missing the mark, anyway....



            • 3. Re: White is grey in CMYK jpg - ideas?
              GilesS Level 1

              Scott and Mylenium,


              Thanks - useful comments. It's pretty clear that I'm going to have to switch to RGB for the jpg file and live with the colour difference (fair point, though, about the variability of monitors and printers making the question somewhat academic). Png would be a viable alternative except that one version of the logo involves some drop-shadow shading which ends up looking dreadful on some desktop printers.


              (By the way, I have another question about file formats for these logos but I figure it would be better to start another thread rather than continue here, since it's on a slightly different subject - hopefully that will make it clearer for anyone else who's searching for information on the issue.)

              • 4. Re: White is grey in CMYK jpg - ideas?
                [scott] Level 6

                Mylenium wrote:


                Well, what do you think Office products know about CMYK? Zero!