I'm a beginner with InDesign and I am struggling with understanding (and properly using) colour settings. I am designing a flyer that requires a specific colour of a brand. I'm using the swatch for this colour I received from the brand, so that should be in order. However, the colour in InDesign differs wildly from what it should be; and when I export a PDF from InDesign, the colour is not only incorrect but also differs from what I see in InDesign.
Of course I have tried finding solutions online, but for some reason I just can't get it to work/wrap my head around how colour management works. So I was hoping someone could help me see the light and get the right colours in my export 🙂
In this picture, the green on the left is the correct green. The bottom right is the green as seen in InDesign, and the top right is the green in the PDF. Ideally, all greens look like the green on the left.
My colour settings in InDesign are as follows. When I export the PDF, I select 'No Colour Conversion' in the export dialog in the 'output' tab.
You can't get the bright greens (or bright oranges) printing in CMYK that you get in the RGB color mode.
Hi Derek, thanks for the answer and - sorry, I forgot to mention that it's a spot colour: Pantone
2270C. Or at least, it's supposed to be, but perhaps I am not using it right in InDesign?
Besides that - Do you have any idea on what could explain the difference in colour between InDesign and the exported PDF?
You need to have a separate "spot" plate. In a way it doesn't matter too much how the green appears on your screen because the colour will be mixed to match by the printer (have you checked with your printer)?
I know this sounds sacreligious, but don't worry how the color appears onscreen.
If you're working with spot colors, and you've selected/defined that spot color in your Swatches panel, you can use it freely and set up a spot color separation that will print accurately.
When you click the OK button and return to the Swatches panel, it will show the new spot color swatch, as shown below this illustration at the left.
It sounds rude, but at this point you don't have to care how the color looks onscreen. Apply the spot color from the panel, and you'll define the color build for spot color separation and be able to print it as a spot color job. As long as the press operator loads the right ink, you'll get the results you want.
Hope this helps,
Just want to add a major caveat here. Although when you are printing spot colours, it literally does not matter which Library you pick it from, whether it be the Coated or Uncoated... the ink is the same. The only difference is the LAB values in each which are measured by PANTONE off an actual printed swatch of the colour, so you can get a sense of what it will look on the screen. Naturally, the 485 ink will read slightly less intense and duller when printed on an uncoated stock and that is reflected in the swatch.
Where it DOES matter is if you are printing process and are relying on your Color Mangement to convert to CMYK. You want the best represntation of the colour, hence you want to pick the 485 C swatch, NOT the 485 U swatch.
I just used an old business card to illustrate the example. It was printed on an uncoated stock, so that was the color build I used to build a quick demo for screen caps.
Hi @laurensvi , could you clarify if the PANTONE color will be output as a Spot ink—an ink running on a separate plate on an offset press—or is it going to be converted into process CMYK?
InDesign handles the preview of Lab defined spot colors differently than process CMYK and RGB colors—the Pantone Solid Coated library is defined as Lab spots. This thread has is an explanation of how Lab defined spots and process colors display:
Also if you want to Export with No Color Conversion use the PDF/X-4 preset and view in AcrobatPro with Output Preview turned on:
What's your printing intent?
Are you printing a special spot colour for the green?
(i.e. a 5-colour job: CMYK + 2270), then you will be fine no matter what it looks like on the screen. As long as your colour remains defined as a spot colour. If there's nothing on your page that uses any Transparency effect (e.g. multiply) your spot colour will display using the Lab values built in, so nice and bright.
What can happen though, as soon as there's a transparency object/effect added to anything on the page, the whole page is "converted" visually to CMYK, so the colour will now shift to the closest match in FOGRA. this doesn't mean your colour is no longer a spot. This is why checking Separations Preview in either ID or Acrobat is a good step to confirm what is happening.
Are you printing 4-colour process only?
In that case your color settings will determine the CMYK conversion for all your colours... in your case the FOGRA profile is showing you what you can best expect in CMYK (hence the duller green). You should toggle Proof Colors under the View menu to check your entire document (Making sure your Proof Setup is also spec'd as FOGRA)
Since you are exporting your PDF with No Conversion (this is a good thing), your green will still appear in the PDF as a spot colour. This means your printer will need to do the conversion with their RIP accordingly (obviously you would need to communicate whether you are expecting a 4-colour job or a 5 colour job), and depending on their press/RIP combo, may actually give you a better match.
As far as why you might be seeing different colours in Acrobat vs InDesign, check under Acrobat's Tools > Print Production > Output Previews and make sure the Simulation Profile at top is the same as your ID Color Settings; anything else will give you diffrent colour. If you ARE printing a 5th colour this will be honoured in your Separations. If you NOT printing a 5th, Click Ink Manager and click the colour you want to change to process (or click Convert All Spots to Process if that applies).
(Sorry if I've repeated what others have offered.. sometimes by the time one of us types a response, others will have posted!!)