I’m wondering: what color mode should be used for vector artwork that is intended for laser printers or inkjet printers, since those are RGB devices.
Should the Illustrator document be set in CMYK or RGB?
Inkjet printers are generally capable to reproduce more colors than CMYK printing presses.
So I would suggest to create your artwork in an RGB document.
And what if the Illustrator document is going to be imported in InDesign afterwards (for additional design work) to finally be exported as a PDF in order to be printed on a laser printer?
What would be the recommended color modes and export settings for each step?
Just keep it RGB all the way.
Once you convert to CMYK, there is no way to get the original bright RGB colors back.
Try from time to time to use the Proof Colors option with the color profile of your printer to see what you can expect.
So the Illustrator document should be created using the "Art & Illustration" preset in order to get the RGB color mode.
But what preset should the InDesign document use? "Print" uses the CMYK color mode, and the "Web" and the "Mobile" presets use the RGB color mode. I guess it should be one of those?
And on export: I guess the "High Quality Print" should be used when creating the PDF, since this setting creates a PDF file that produces optimized results when printing on a desktop output device?
A PDF for print should usually be a PDF/X
You need to discuss the matter with your print service provider.
For CMYK printing presses, indeed. But I'm referring to laser/inkjet printers specifically.
InDesign does not care if you mix RGB and CMYK in a document, so Print should be OK.
High Quality Print is the right PDF preset for inkjet printers, it does not convert your colors and the conversion will take place during printing.
If there are fine black lines and fine text in your document, then check with the print service bureau if RGB black will be an issue. It depends on their processes and machines whether it is.
"intended for laser printers or inkjet printers, since those are RGB devices."
They are? You won't find they have 3 color cartridges 1.) R, 1.) G, 1.) B. Terminology may be a bit off. When you work in a "closed loop" and your output device is a "photographic" RGB printer ( Canon, HP, Epson ), then you can send an RGB file to it ( may be advantageous in type of color you are expecting ). Most printers can output CMYK, some better than others ( photographic vs. proofers ). You fail to mention anything about your file other than it is vector. So, without knowing more, it is a little difficult to reconnend anything specific. Monika mentions Black output, which could be a concern. So, in short, it depends on the final output device and the file itself.
Inkjet printers use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks (plus additional inks to extend gamut and detail), which in theory at least makes them CMYK devices. But in practice, unless you're printing through a PostScript raster image processor (RIP), desktop inkjet printer drivers are built to receive only RGB data.