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Graphics help needed - Drinking from the Fire Hose — LiveJournal
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 12:58
Subject: Graphics help needed
Security: Public
Location:Work
Mood:frustrated
Music:Nothing but motors and fans
Tags:graphics, work
For the past couple of weeks I've been struggling with getting new business cards printed for the company. I use gimp as my graphics program, which means I get to specify color in RGB (and changing to a different graphics program is not an option). The printer, naturally, specifies its colors in CMYK. The company logo is supposed to be Pantone Blue. According to something I found somewhere on the web, Pantone Blue is 0.96,0,0,0 in CMYK. And according to http://web.forret.com, this translates to 10,255,255 in RGB (or, in hex, OAFFFF).

In an attempt to get the company logo to print in the correct shade of blue, I changed the blue of the logo from whatever it was in the graphics file (which turned into a muddy purple blue when the first set of cards came back from the printer) to OAFFFF.

Being a suspicious sort, I sent email to the printer with the new graphics image attached and asked them to look at it and tell me if it would print in Pantone Blue (or something reasonably close) before I ordered another full set.

I received a reply saying "The OAFFFF color is a bright sea green and when I convert it to CMYK, it is a darker bluish-green color." To my eye, looking at a swatch of Pantone Blue in the Pantone Color Guide, Pantone Blue is not at all green. I know that colors appear differently on different computer hardware, so the fact that the 0AFFFF version of the logo appears to be a very bright turquoise on my monitor does not mean much. But it still disturbs me that my printer rep sees the logo quite differently on her screen and that she tells me that it will print as bluish-green.

Having said all of that, should I go with the OAFFFF version of the logo? Should I change the logo to some other color and if so, what RGB do I use to end up with a logo that will print in a blue that looks like Pantone Blue?
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johnridley
User: johnridley
Date: 2009-05-21 19:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Are you doing 4-color printing of your business cards? Are there photos on it? If it's a typical business card, it should only have a couple of colors on the logo portion; just give them each color in B/W and specify "pantone blue" as the color for that layer.

When we do the music boosters newsletters, we give them a multiple-layer PDF and specify a pantone color for each layer. They use that to print a year's worth of blank newsletter front pages. Then when we have a new newsletter, we give them a PDF of just the text, to be printed black over the previously-printed blanks.

I thought business cards were usually printed the same way; the company had a hundred thousand cards printed with just the logo, then ordered a few hundred at a time per person with their specifics on it.

If you really are doing CYMK printed business cards, there is a CYMK plugin for Gimp.

I don't think I found any two sources online agree about what blue was, even "blue 072" had varying values.

This may be useful:
http://www.benedict.edu/divisions/inseff/mis/pdf/web/bc_web_dev_pantone_color_bridge_cmyk_pc.pdf

Lists blue-072 as:
100C 85M 0Y 4K
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Laura: cesar
User: wolfens
Date: 2009-05-21 19:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:cesar
Try Pantone blue 72 c, it's more a pure blue, the that matches your description is pretty much a cyan

wish i could help more but it's been too long since i've done prepress stuff
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 20:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's funny you should mention pantone 72 -- that's what I thought it was. But when I looked it up in the swatch book I could see that wasn't "our" blue at all.

I haven't had to do any prepress work since 1992 -- and even then I wasn't good at it. I have zero graphics training and don't know what I'm doing more than half the time.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 20:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We don't print the blank business cards the way you mentioned -- I've simply been submitting a png file of the complete card to an online printing service. I wasn't too happy with the cards from OfficeMax (which were outsourced to VistaPrint), but the ones we got back from 123Print were great if you ignore the logo being the wrong color. (VistaPrint's cards came back with the same muddy purple blue, so I know the problem lays within my artwork.)

I'd visit our previous printer, but they seem to have gone under. Probably because their prices were 3x higher than any of the online places.
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johnridley
User: johnridley
Date: 2009-05-21 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've only ever dealt with small local printers, that don't do anything else. They're generally extremely helpful.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 21:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd be happy to call Stan (our old printer), in fact, I tried. They're still in the phone book but no one ever answers the phone. That's part of why we went with an online printer. That and we're a bunch of pennypinchers.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 20:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That pdf *was* useful. I'm saving a copy, thanks!

I found our blue, and as my notes said, it's between 306 and 307.
And better, it gives this info:

PANTONE Pro. Blue PC
C:100 M:13 Y:1 K:3

When I put it into the color converter thing, I come up with RGB 0,215,0 or 00d700 in hex. Which explains why my rep kept saying "green" -- 00d700 *is* green and not the right color.
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Laura: Brett Favre grin
User: wolfens
Date: 2009-05-21 20:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Brett Favre grin
i think my head is spinning LOL
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 21:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes! *Exactly!* That's how my head's been for the last two weeks. I am so confused it's almost funny.

Today's thought was to create fake 4x6" photos and send them over to Costco for printing. Fake photos containing various screencaptures, such as part of the pdf file johnridley pointed me to, plus text in various hex color codes for blue. I'll try matching those against the old business cards tomorrow to see if that gives me any hints.

Although for all I know, the photo printers used by Costco have nothing in common with the printers used by folks like 123print and I'll have basically thrown away my afternoon and one of my own dollars buying the photos.
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Instigator of Inappropriate Imagery
User: kevinnickerson
Date: 2009-05-22 00:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I select Pantone Process Blue PC in Photoshop, the initial selector agrees with C:100 M:13 Y:1 K:3. I then painted an area that color, and the info window said it was C:77 M:26 Y:0 K:0, which is probably a remap for gamut and to keep the total ink closer to 100%. If I start with a CMYK image, it keeps the original value, but does the above when I convert to RGB.

Anyway, it says the equivalent is R:0 G:152 B:214 which sounds reasonable, and doesn't shift color to my eye. (besides I trust PS)
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Instigator of Inappropriate Imagery
User: kevinnickerson
Date: 2009-05-21 19:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If Chris hasn't given you the best answer by then, I'll check what Photoshop says "Pantone Blue" is, and what its CMYK is.
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Instigator of Inappropriate Imagery
User: kevinnickerson
Date: 2009-05-21 19:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And then the brain cells start to kick in. 96,0,0,0 is almost pure Cyan. Turquoise is a good description of it. Which "Pantone Blue" do you mean? There should be a number.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-21 19:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Pantone Blue is a special color, being as I understand it, 100% blue. It doesn't have a number -- although I made a note that I found it between Pantone 306 and 307 in the swatch book I borrowed.
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Chris
User: dizzi_d
Date: 2009-05-22 04:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hokay, tharr be good news and bad news.

The good news is that Pantone Blue (assuming you mean standard 072C) has fairly reliable CMYK and RGB gamut recipes:

R28 G63 B128
or
C100 M88 K5

The bad news?

Generating Pantone equivalent solid colors from an RGB workflow that doesn't support any kind of industry standard color profiling is going to be *complete* voodoo.

I don't know enough about Gimp to be helpful with the specific levers and buttons necessary to make it perform said magic, but unless you can specify exact color proportions in CMYK (which is what the printer is going to use for process color) then you would need a device-specific calibration profile (typically an ICC profile) from your printer to make the necessary RGB to CMYK gamut conversion. If that's not an option, then the only way to get a reliable representation of the blue from them is going to be the "throwing darts" method because every piece of software gets from RGB to CMYK via a conversion table and there are many - so you need control over which one is used.

Literally until the past few years, color management was the bane of most designers' existences. Printing the same job with 5 different printers or on 5 different devices, until very recently, would always give you 5 measurably different results.

I'll happily help you with the file, as with the right tools it's a trivial step - but without them it's a complete pain in the pesqueeter.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2009-05-25 03:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you, but I think I came up with a solution we can live with -- it turns out that the boss is about as picky as I am, meaning any blue within a certain range is fine with him. And I think I've figured out how to get it -- I sent a trio of test files to Costco's photo center for printing and they turned out the way I thought they would. The (intentionally) bad logo is still purple blue, the turquoise one is still turquoise, and the one I was betting would be blue is the right shade.
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