Here is a list of reasons why colours on electronic designs might differ from printed designs:
Tips on getting the most accurate colour
- Monitors work in the RGB (Red,Green,Blue) colour space while printers use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) colour space.
Designs look fine on a monitor if they are designed in RGB to begin with. Converting them to CMYK might make them look odd on screen, but they will print correctly, to a certain measure. It is difficult to sign of an image file that is currently in CMYK mode while viewing with an RGB monitor.
- Monitor settings differ.
The designer was sitting in a darkish room when choosing the blue and his blue looks vibrant. The client was viewing the same design in a well-lit room, making the blue seem lighter. The designer uses an LCD display and the client uses a CRT monitor and the vibrancy differs. The contrast and saturation settings on each monitor might differ as well, rendering the blue with different values.
- Each printer in the world prints colour slightly different.
Sometimes it is really obvious and sometimes it is almost impossible to see the difference. Normal desktop printers are definitely not something to do colour proofing with. If you print the design out on your desktop printer then a slight shortage on any of the colours will make the colour come out wrong. There are a lot of factors that can influence even the most expensive printing equipment. These include altitude, humidity, the current heat of the printer, age of the printer, quality of ink, the paper that is being used, special coatings on the paper etc. Even viewing the same printed material in different lighting conditions may make the colour seem different.
Go to your nearest printer company and ask to see their Pantone colour matching system. Each colour in the Pantone chart has a matching number. Most design applications have the same Pantone charts built in so that colour matching is easy. Read up on Pantone at Wikipedia
. Make sure that the file is converted to CMYK (If not designed in it originally) before sending it to print. Some printer companies might ask for colour separation prints which the leading design packages can produce. It is also important for the designer to choose the correct colour management profile in the design package.