Professional Web Applications Themes
  1. #1

    Default Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    I've read through numerous posts about CMYK numbers, color mangaement, etc. (and was very helped last year by Ian Lyon's great info on it) but still have what I HOPE might be a simple query.

    I design business cards which are printed in CMYK. I work in RGB, do CMYK previews often, then convert when done. My question is this: does anyone have a short list of just some basic colors most of us might perceive similarly (ie. royal blue, navy blue, forest green, fire engine red,teal--I know that's not too basic but really changes from monitor to press) and what their corresponding CMYK #'s are? I have kept a list of some that I have received the actual printed version of but don't have the sample cards for many of my printed designs (so don't know if my forest green really looked more blue than green but since the client didn't care will never know). I will probably be getting more of my samples but just wondered in the meantime if any of you have some standard numbers you start designing with so the red you choose doesn't turn orange, blue navy, teal grey and so on.
    Joan Czaia Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    I usually use PMS 187(coated) for red, 356(uncoated) or 336(coated) for green, 1255(coated) or 871(metallic) for gold. 135(coated) is pretty good for yellow when it's printed in CMYK.

    Blues are a bit harder, because when you use a spot color that looks realy good in blue, then print in CMYK, the blue looks washed out. Or so our printer says is the problem. We end up using the blue of our choice, maybe something like 287, then when we print in CMYK we add another layer of the blue 287 as a fifth color. It's more expensive because you need a press that handles at least 5 colors, but it looks better.

    If that helps...
    Kathy White Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    The CMYK percentages needed to create various real-world colors will vary depending on the paper stock, inks, and press used.
    Chris Cox Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    Kathy thank you for those choices--it helps add some good ones, especially the red, green and blue.
    Chris-didn't realize that, which only adds to the mystery of how it will actually look in print!
    Joan Czaia Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    ....Or if you have room on an existing print job and you usually use the same printer/paper/press etc you could run a band of selected colors down one side of the page and have them trimmed off - this would give you plenty of copies, to refer to - don't go leaving around uner lights as this will cause fading and render them useless, seen a few expensive pantone simulator/selectors ruined like this.
    sam m brown Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    The Pantone color book identifies which colors are achievable with CMYK. Most printers use it as the "standard" for color mixing.
    Michael Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    The CMYK percentages needed to create various real-world colors will vary
    depending on the paper stock, inks, and press used.

    Good point Chris. Experimentation is a good idea if one is a stickler for accurate color matching. Using Pantone colors as reference is also a good starting point.

    Joan, I would recommend a great book called Color Harmony Workbook by Lesa Sawahata and Rockport Publishing ( <> ). It has all the standard CMYK colors and their values. This book is great for design because it gives some great ideas on color theory and color combinations with a professional flare. I use it all the time when color is critical. For your purposes, the CMYK values are probably worth the $30 price tag.

    zippy2000 Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    You might find this page that I built to use for choosing colors for web pages to be useful. It lists the CMYK values of all the pantone colors, as recorded on my computer with an sRGB profile. (If you calibration is different, then your values may vary a bit.) The page is at <>
    Don Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Some Colors' CMYK Numbers

    OK fine. Chris Cox is correct as usual per CMYK numbers not being a precise definition of a color due to different inks/papers/presses etc..

    Yet certainly, CMYK numbers can yield a basic definition of color, just as they have since the day when Photoshop was just a gleam in Thomas Knoll's eye.

    So here is a very basic guide:

    Basic Red: 100M, 90Y

    Blood Red: 100M, 80Y, 20C or K

    Cherry Red: 100M, 70Y

    Chinese Red: 90M, 100Y

    Basic Green: 100C, 90Y

    Kelly Green: 100C, 100Y, 20M

    Basic Blue: 100C, 70M

    Royal Blue: 100C, 80M, 20K

    Basic Yellow: 100Y, 10M

    Deep Yellow: 100Y, 30M

    Again, just the basics. In theory, true blue should be 100C/100M and true red should be 100M/100Y and true green should be 100C/100Y, but nobody uses theoretical pigments. All CYMK inks today, given their individual characteristics, do not adhere to the ideal color model, and most will produce the basic results ascribed above.

    You might be better off using a calibrated monitor in conjunction with some reliable profiles, and work in RGB to produce colors that look good to you, then let Photoshop choose the CMYK mix when you convert, given the destination.
    John Guest

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