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Colour inconsistencies

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Scott Gaskin
Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 23, 2014 at 5:41:26 pm

Hi guys,

I'm not sure where to start with my issue as I think these forums are more dedicated to technical software issues rather than rookie design issues it may not be the best place. However, I'll give it a go!

I have designed a logo for a client which displays much differently on her monitor than how i designed it. The design should show more as a grey but is showing as a purple on her machine. It looks how it should on both my iMac and macbook but on her both windows machine it shows more bluey - purple. I have since tested on other windows machines and get a more bluey purple colour. The macs I've tested display the 'correct' colour i designed it and mostly all other windows machines displayed it more as a bluey purple. My girlfriends iPad did display more blue too!??

The CMYK values I have chosen are as follows C47 M40 Y24 K1. Can anyone shed any light on this? I get that monitors will display different and there may be calibration issues but I would have thought these differences would be subtle.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:26:58 pm

Initially, I'd say that since you're working in CMYK I'll presume that you intend to print this art.
You might want to do test prints on something similar to your production medium - photo gloss, or photo matte, or whatever.
The color issues that you're seeing on the other systems sounds a lot like the app isn't properly interpreting CMYK. Many OS or non-pro apps will do this.
You can create an RGB proof, only for these users.
So, this is probably not an issue with the file.
Again, try a high quality test print.
Let us know how it goes.


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Scott Gaskin
Re: Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:46:29 pm

Hi Vince,

Thanks for your response.

The logo needs to be used for print and web. Its primary use will be for web. I designed first in CMYK and when finished I exported for print (TIF,EPS and PDF) and web (jpeg and PNG)

What I should have said is the PDF file actually looked correct (how it looked on my computer) on the clients computer, but all other files had the purple look to it.

Should I be using a different approach to my design? I know that there will be inconsistencies between screen and print but its frustrating to think a particular colour choice I go with can potentially look so different on other monitors and understandably the client will not be happy about this too.

I read that its better to design in CMYK and export to RGB than the other way around and as the client also wanted to print the logo for a t-shirt it seemed logical to design this way. Is there another method I should be using?

Thanks in advance


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Per Arne Sandvik
Re: Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:29:23 pm

If you use those CMYK values, it should show up as a slightly bluish-purple grey. You should probably up the K value and reduce the CMY values to produce a more predictable color.

If you want a pure grey, you only use the K value and leave the others at 0.

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Scott Gaskin
Re: Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:50:44 pm

Thanks for your reply. Its frustrating as the blueish purple is very subtle on my computer and looks nice. But it looks too purple viewed on the others. I didn't want pure grey as it looks too dull. :(


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Herbert van der wegen
Re: Colour inconsistencies
on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:31:25 am
Last Edited By Herbert van der wegen on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:34:23 am

Unless 1) all the screens are quality monitors (not just the average tft sceen), and 2) all those screens have been colour calibrated with a hardware device like a Spyder or Huey, colours will ALWAYS shift and change when viewed on all those screens.

Without a fully calibrated and controlled colour management workflow colours will always look different - even with a controlled workflow colours may change, depending on the screen and print technology. That is why companies tend to use very specific spot colours to print their brand materials.

On my hardware colour calibrated screen your colour looks indeed like a subtly purplish coloured grey.
But then, I work on high quality screens with almost no colour shifts even from extreme angles.

The average monitor used by the average user is quite horrifyingly bad at colour reproduction. Even with colour calibration it often cannot match the intended colours.

As long as you keep working on a non-calibrated monitor, it could very well be that you are working with the wrong colours - so at least correct your screen colours.

In short: it's just something you have to learn to live with. The very least you should do when colour precision is important, is to purchase a colour calibration device, and correct the screen you work on. iMacs have pretty good screens, so it is worth it. That way you know for certain that the colours you chose are theoretically more or less correct.

Aside from these issues, when working with graphics for the web: remove/delete all colour profiles from those files.

System: Win7 64bit - i7 920@3.6Ghz, p6t Deluxe v1, 48gb (6x8gb RipjawsX), ATI 7970 3gb, EVGA 590 3GB, Revodrive X2 240gb, e-mu 1820. Screens: 2 x Samsung s27a850ds 2560x1440, HP 1920x1200 in portrait mode

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