So obviously, I'm a newbie at Illustrator and really need some expert advice.
By hook and by crook, I got far enough to make my own book cover in Ai. But I'm having trouble with my background colors shifting to an amber/muddy hue when file goes to KDP Printer. Here's what it looks like in Illustrator with the screenshot of the PDF of same file in Acrobat Reader. Notice it's getting a tinge of orange as soon as it's saved as a PDF (which is the format KDP requires).
Then, when I upload to Amazon's KDP Print, the KDP previewer shows the colors getting noticeably muddy and dull.
Note—this previewer is a fairly accurate predictor of how the printed version will look. See the pic of proof copy below, which got even more brown in tone.
What I've tried so far:
Other things I've tried:
So now what do I do?
Is it the PDF file generated by Ai that’s the problem?
Is there a way to preview it in Illustrator looking exactly how it will once printed?
What color settings should I be using?
What PDF save settings should I be using?
Obviously after three days of not solving this on my own or with tech support, I’m pretty frustrated. I know real graphic designers would have resolved this in a flash, but due to a first cover fail with an artist ($1000 but not right fit for genre and not liked by readers) I’ve used up my budget and am stuck with myself now. And I want the cover to have that perfect antique red/burgundy tone not the brownish scab color the proof copy came out. Help and many thanks!
Copy link to clipboard
Your color managment settings could be better. RGB profile should never be monitor profile. It could be sRGB or AdobeRGB - depending on what kind of images you are dealing with normally. Also the Policies shouldn't be "OFF".
Changing this will most likely give you a different on-screen rendering of your cover.
As for the Kindle printing: I have no experience how it treats color and which profiles would be best for it. You will need an experienced production artist to solve this for you.
Okay, cool, I'll reset the RGB to AdobeRGB for now. Presumably, I set the policies to Convert to Working Space? What about the CMYK?
Oh, and what should I put the document Color Mode to then? RGB? It's currently set as CMYK.
You are a genius!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look how much better it looks!! Just like that. Huge improvement. Will have to adjust moon glows not to be so pinky. But this is a massive improvement. Hallelujah. Got some tears.
Here are pics of how it looks in Ai now with Acrobat Reader shot of PDF below. Then a shot of it in KDP Previewer looking way better. Then a shot of the new Color Settings. Let me know if that CMYK is correct or not. Wow!!!! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
"Let me know if that CMYK is correct or not. "
The proof of the pudding is the eating. With printing what matters is what comes out of the press. Have a proof print if they offer it.
You are so right. I wiill make a few small adjustments an order the next proof copy today. In case anyone else in my shoes ever reads this thread, I set the Color Mode to RGB. KDP said they'd take it in RGB or CMYK. Thanks again. Very grateful for the assistance.
Just for anyone else that ever runs into this problem. Here are the before and afters on KDP Previewer after changing to RGB Color Mode and adjusting the Color Settings to Adobe RGB and turning the Policies on to match Working Mode.
I'm sure there are other imporvements I could make to the file still and happy for any suggestions, but very pleased to get this far. Definitely seems like my main problem of muddiness and muted tone has been solved.
Had a similar problem with covers submitted in CMYK. The colors on the proof, especially the reds, were muddy and drab. Submitted the cover again in RGB and achieved much better results.
Thank you so much for posting this.. I use canva for my covers and I'm not very techy.. how or what do i need to change my settings to please ?
"Oh, and what should I put the document Color Mode to then? RGB? It's currently set as CMYK."
That is one of the questions that need to be solved by someone who has experience with the Kindle printing service. Usually CMYK would be the color mode for printing. But expecially with several kinds of digital printing you get better results with RGB. Only: you would need to know how exactly to set up your files.
I'm having the same problem and it's driving me insane! As you suggested I changed the color space to Adobe RGB and turned the Policies on to match Working Mode! What About image compression? Could you please share your export setting because I had people telling me not to compress jpeg, but it's kinda impossible, my pdf would be something like 70MB (50MB is the maximum to upload on amazon).
If I leave the export option in standard mode, this is what I get (see screenshots). Do you change any of it?
Thank you 🙂
As it's been a few years since I built and uploaded the files, I've forgotten most of the finer points. Trauma has probably wiped my memory too. Going to be a real picnic when I do book two's cover this year, oof. I do however have a vague recollection of adjusting the PDF settings to reduce the size or it would have been way too massive to upload. If I remember right, I did this by randomly toggling the Compression settings until the size was as big as possible without going over the limit. Absolutely no idea if I was selecting the "right" drop down options and alas can't find the screenshot of what I did. But it eventually worked. Someone that actually knows what they are doing might be able to recommend the ideal combo. I kind of just gave up when the size looked basically right and thereafter passed all the KDP and Ingram Spark trials. I know I also had to make a lot of adjustments in the Adobe Reader (the one you pay for that lets you edit documents) so the total ink levels would pass muster. Someone on another thread helped with that too. There was a plug in that helped and lots of futzing around with settings in there too. Felt like blind whackamole from beginning to end to be honest. Best of luck to you!!!