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Matching Screen color to the printer color

Community Beginner ,
Jun 19, 2023 Jun 19, 2023

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Hi,

I am designing wedding invitations to be sold online. I am designing on Illustartor. When I try to test the designs by printing with my home printer (inkjet printer). The color is different than the screen. It improved when I decreased the quality of the printing output, but still there is a difference. How can I design so the colors on the images I show on the screen will match the printing output?

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

reema,

 

Fundamentally, it is better to create artwork for print in CMYK, with proper colour management of course, and save a copy of that as PDF.

 

You can then recommend the use of a PostScript ((emulating driver) printer, which will use your CMYK without the double conversion. This can give the customers a choice, and serve as a reference of what they could get.

 

And you can convert a copy of the artwork to RGB for non Postscript (home) printers, and this can also be used for web/screen use.

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Community Expert , Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

OK. The Canon MX410 is a general home/office inkjet printer, so the color profile necessary to get a precise print simulation on screen probably isn’t available. You can still get a rather rough approximation of how it will print by choosing View > Proof Setup > Working CMYK. You can toggle that on and off by choosing View > Proof Colors.

 

It will be only a rough approximation because the CMYK profiles installed with Photoshop represents printing press inks, not the inks in home/office inkjet p

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Community Expert ,
Jun 19, 2023 Jun 19, 2023

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reema,

 

Apart from whatever can be said about colour management, and partly irrespective of colour management, you are facing a home printer issue, both with your own and those of customers, namely that they can (almost unavoidably) print quite differently to what you see on screen.

 

Crucially, a home printer requires RGB colours which are then converted to CMYK through an inbuilt colour conversion, which will differ from home printer to home printer.

 

If you create the artwork in CMYK in an attempt to make the colours fit the smaller CMYK gamut (colour range), the printer will make two inbuilt colour conversions, first from your CMYK to the required RGB, then back to CMYK, which can make the colours rather muddy.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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Thank you for your answer

>>

If you create the artwork in CMYK in an attempt to make the colours fit the smaller CMYK gamut (colour range), the printer will make two inbuilt colour conversions, first from your CMYK to the required RGB, then back to CMYK, which can make the colours rather muddy.

 

Does this mean I should start creating the artwork in RGB? because yes, what I am doing is designing with CMYK

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Community Expert ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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reema,

 

Fundamentally, it is better to create artwork for print in CMYK, with proper colour management of course, and save a copy of that as PDF.

 

You can then recommend the use of a PostScript ((emulating driver) printer, which will use your CMYK without the double conversion. This can give the customers a choice, and serve as a reference of what they could get.

 

And you can convert a copy of the artwork to RGB for non Postscript (home) printers, and this can also be used for web/screen use.

 

Or you can create it in RGB specifically for home printers, avoiding out-of-gamut colours shown with an alert triangle; rather than just clicking to get an in-gamut colour which will often be completely off, it is better to avoid the alert by choosing colours (anew) without the alert.

 

When creating/recreating the artwork in RGB for non Postscript (home) printers, at least to begin with it may be worth experimenting with adaptation for best results on yours and maybe a few other (non Postscript) home printers.

 

You can compare the home printer results and work on getting the best, or least worst.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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Thank you for your comperhensive reply. I appreciate it.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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You are welcome, reema.

 

I hope you will report your findings.

 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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What brand and model of printer is it?

 

Print colors are often disappointing simply because ink and paper are not capable of the same levels of brightness and saturation as a screen, which has its own light source. Prints can only reflect the level of light falling on the print, and inks are not as pure as the RGB light from a display.

 

It’s possible for Illustrator to show an on-screen simulation of the colors that a specific printer can produce, but doing this is easier and more precise with a professional color printer, compared to a common home/office printer.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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My printer is Canon MX410 printer. It is very old, so after reading all the comments it is no surprise that I will get poor color matching.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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OK. The Canon MX410 is a general home/office inkjet printer, so the color profile necessary to get a precise print simulation on screen probably isn’t available. You can still get a rather rough approximation of how it will print by choosing View > Proof Setup > Working CMYK. You can toggle that on and off by choosing View > Proof Colors.

 

It will be only a rough approximation because the CMYK profiles installed with Photoshop represents printing press inks, not the inks in home/office inkjet printers. But it should get you close enough to know what to expect. Because you are selling the invitations online, they will be printed by others, on other printers you can’t know about, right? In that case, how your Canon printer reproduces the colors is less important than how the colors reproduce in CMYK generally, so simulating print colors on screen through a generic CMYK profile is acceptable in this specific case.

 

Simulating on screen is called soft-proofing. It works best when the display has been color-calibrated and/or profiled.

 

However — very important — doing this does not create a screen-to-printer color match on its own. That’s usually impossible for the reasons I stated above: If your document has any colors that are outside the range that the printer can reproduce, such as a very bright blue or neon green, there is no way to print that color. What soft-proofing does is set your expectations about what colors the printer is actually capable of. With View > Proof Setup enabled, you can continue to edit the colors while seeing approximately how they will print. Or, if you don’t think there’s much you can do, you can simply go ahead and print, knowing that it will look somewhat like it does when Proof Setup is on.

 

This is nothing new, and not specifically the fault of an “old printer.” Even the newest and most expensive CMYK printers can’t reproduce all the RGB colors you see on screen. Working with color within the limitations of the intended printer’s color gamut has been a design skill for decades, since before digital editing even existed.

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