I’ve been in the business for about 20 years and I was taught to always work in CMYK for print and RGB for digital, but I know the times have changed. The last 10 years or so I have used RGB photos in my ID document then converted to CMYK upon PDF export at the end, for print purposes anyway. What about Illustrator graphics that you insert into ID? Should those be RGB as well if your ID doc has all RGB colors? I also know that you can have CMYK and RGB swatches in ID, but shouldn’t they be one or the other?

I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong way to do it unless the printer you’re using has a preference.

Sending RGB files to a digital printer usually makes more sense because CMYK+ digital printing has a wider gamut than CMYK.

With 4-color offset, any RGB file must still be converted to CMYK at some point before it’s on the press. Whether this is done in Photoshop, when saving to PDF, or in the printer’s RIP is probably a matter of the designer’s and printer’s preferences. If you’re relying on PDF or RIP auto-conversion, I don’t think it matters much if you’ve used a combination of RGB and CMYK files in the document, whether Photoshop or Illustrator.

My preference when preparing work for offset printing is to prepare everything in CMYK. This probably boils down to three reasons. The first one being habit. The second one is that I want to know what the image will look like in CMYK ahead of time, so I can make adjustments as needed. The third reason is that some printers still ask for CMYK files, so to be on the safe side, that’s what I always give them.

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I’m with @Just-B, I tend to work in CMYK for bitmap and vector art on projects that are going to be offset printed. For digital / large format / CMYK+, I’ll heck with the vendor.

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Okay, that’s pretty much what I do too. Just thought I’d ask because we have a very young project coordinator at work who thinks she knows “all about it.” I try to explain to her that it’s okay to have RGB files in the ID document. They’re going to get converted to CMYK when exported out to a PDF anyway.

One thing that most people ignore is the usage of CMYK color profiles. If you work constantly with an offset printer and a specific prepress bureau you should know the preferred profile, the TAC at least.

If the design heavily depends on photographs, (or any raster image like 3D renders) a safe way to work is using swatches in RGB. For example, a swatch could need to be the same color as a zone in the photo, then let the color profile do the conversion.

But if you want to control how clean a color is, for example, a dark green, then probably you want to define the percentages manually, let’s say you do not add any magenta, only black to darken the green.

This is also useful if you want to do text overprint. Imagine you have black text over a cyan background. In RGB the black will use a CMYK combination of colors or poke a hole in the cyan to use black only. If you define your overprint you can have a black over the cyan to have a nice deep black. But the already comments have said. This is only if you really need to use CMYK. Offset print, (or industrial-level print like flexography) or on a few cases, large format prints. But ask the provider and / or send some test files.

This is called “intermediate binding” (3,4). Before that you practiced “early binding” (1,2). There is also “late binding”(5,7) where you leave the RGB data inside the PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4 and let the guys in prepress pr print do the conversion to CMYK. If they know what they are doing you can get better results due to larger color spaces than ISOcoated with some printers as mentioned by @Just-B. And

Fundamental knowledge in color management helped me tremendously over the years.
Someday I might translate this wonderful book if it comes out in the updated 2023/24 edition.
Right know it isn’t available directly because of its partly outdated nature but you can visit the site. Cleverprinting Handbuch kostenlos herunterladen

As for vector graphics you could decide on the basis what they should match. Do they have to match some images or should they preserve black overprint just to state one pair of topics. Beware that depending on your settings embedded Ai files can be exempt of being converted.

If you choose your working profile to be an RGB color profile it could be challenging to get the common print habits to work like overprint or maybe some black transparencies.

I still use 95% intermediate binding or late binding. RGB working profiles I only use for screen design.

In my humble opinion every professional graphics designer needs a color management workflow where every part has a color profile and the designer has knowledge why which one, ideally on hardware calibrated wide gamut devices.

I’ve never run into the word binding used this way. Is this a common term in Austria or Germany? I’ve only seen the term used in printing/publishing when referring to the various means of binding pages together in a publication and wrapping a cover around them — for example, bookbinding.

I downloaded it and looked through it. My German isn’t good, but from what I could decipher, it’s a fantastic resource. I wish there were an English version. The closest equivalent I can think of in English is Pocket Pal, but it hasn’t been updated in 25 years.

Various color settings and the many different kinds of settings when saving to PDF or modifying the settings in Acrobat are confusing. Very few resources adequately explain them, let alone a comprehensive guidebook. When I see so-called designers not knowing about bleeds or incorrectly setting up crop marks, it makes me think they’re almost certainly relying on default settings for everything else and hoping for the best without having any clue about what they’re doing.

Yes. I see no reason to build vector graphics in RGB when those graphics are intended for print. In the rare instance when I need to convert an RGB vector file to CMYK, I’ll always spend a few minutes cleaning up the color combination mess created by the conversion. For example, the last thing I would want is black text in an Illustrator file being converted into a black made from screen tints of all four process colors.


Not that I know of, I guess it is borrowed from the field of software engineering due to the lack of suitable terms. But Cleverprinting are not the only ones using it for color management.

nkjet printers generally use dye-based inks. This is true of Canon’s PIXMA range of printers, with the exception of the black inks in some, which are pigment-based. Because of the way dye-based inks react with photo paper, they tend to produce more vibrant colours than pigment inks – the dyes permeate the paper, while the pigment inks sit on top of the paper. For the same reason, dye-based inks tend to produce prints that more accurately reflect the character of the paper – for example, high gloss paper appears as a true high gloss. for more information you can visit canon website by click this link [Preformatted text](https://www.canon-europe.com/pro/infobank/rgb-and-cmyk/)