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This article documents the process by which we manage colour creation and conversion to maintain consistency between print and digital assets.

Workflow

  1. Use CMYK for print, use RGB for digital, including within stylesheets.
  2. Initially define colours in CMYK, then convert to RGB using Europe General Purpose 3 colour settings and use judgement to correct any colour shift to give best screen match.
  3. Have one location where all colour information is kept - preferably online e.g. https://color.adobe.com/University-Core-Palette-color-theme-8571448/
  4. Have one shared colour palette usable by all software employed by Digital and IDPS.

Discovery

The problem

Print and digital use fundamentally different to convey colour information; print design requires CMYK colour separation, or Pantone spot colours - whereas digital designs cannot implement these and instead require RGB values (or derivatives thereof). Print and digital use a variety of tools to produce concepts, artworks and production-ready graphics, and these need to share a single palette or at least have a single source of truth providing the correct values for colours, appropriate to the medium.

Colour settings

Both print and digital departments have access to Adobe Bridge, an digital asset management tool, which enables us to define a colour setting for all Creative Cloud products. IDPS use InDesign and Photoshop, and Digital have access to Adobe XD (Experience Designer) and Photoshop, but also use Bohemian Sketch.

Profile NameDescription
Europe General Purpose 3
  • General-purpose colour settings for screen and print in Europe.
  • Profile warnings are disabled.
  • Uses updated CMYK ICC profile for offset printing on coated paper (FOGRA39). 
Europe Prepress 3
  • Preparation of content for common printing conditions in Europe.
  • CMYK values are preserved.
  • Profile warnings are enabled.
  • Uses updated CMYK ICC profile for offset printing on coated paper (FOGRA39). 

 

Europe Web/Internet 2
  • Preparation of content for non-print usage like the World Wide Web (WWW) in Europe.
  • RGB content is converted to sRGB.
  • Uses updated CMYK ICC profile for offset printing on coated paper (FOGRA39). 

Currently, IDPS use the Europe General Purpose 3 colo(u)r setting, and after reviewing the options available above it seems logical to adopt this setting for Digital as well - rather than having a separate specific profile for Digital.

Initial colour value

Print works in CMYK and Pantone (rarely), with support for RGB.

Digital can use RGB, Hex, HSL for defining colours online.

Therefore, the initial definition of a colour should be its RGB value, with a converted value for CMYK.

Where appropriate (for instance the University and Faculties main colours) we should include the correct Pantone (solid coated) reference.

 

Documentation

1. We need a single repository for colour palette information, that allows us to define RGB, CYMK, Pantone, and also attribute SASS variable names to a given colour.

Options:

 

2. We should also maintain and share a single digital colour palette for use in all applications to ensure consistency.

Options:
  • Adobe colour palette (.aco)
  • Apple colour palette (erm...)
  • 3rd party colour management software

 

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