Questions about colors, different color space, RGB or CMYK color model, transparent color, using or changing colors.

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44
votes
8answers
28k views

What kind of black should I use when designing for CMYK print?

my question is what kind of black should I use when printing. At the moment I use this black (split into CMYK) : C:0% M:0% Y:0% K:100% It looks fine in InDesign or Illustrator but if I save a PDF ...
43
votes
5answers
5k views

Are “web-safe” colors still important?

Years ago, it was always strongly recommended that web designers should only use web-safe colors. Have studies been done to see if this is still the case? If so, what's the answer? Edited to add… ...
39
votes
7answers
6k views

Why do two perfectly adjacent rectangles create black or white lines in between as if they were overlapping or not exactly adjacent?

I have a flat design (well, it's supposed to be), but these black and white lines between the shapes are so annoying... [no stroke] take a look: See these lines between two overlapping rectangles? ...
37
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a good resource or tool to help build a palette/color scheme around colors I select?

No matter how nice the composition, flow, and lines of my design are, if I am not copying directly from nature, I have a very difficult time picking a decent color scheme. It either looks too drab, ...
33
votes
8answers
2k views

Sources for Color Theory or Psychology of Color

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good book/blog/forum that focuses on design principles such as psychology of color, specifically where it relates to picking a color palette for a communication ...
32
votes
13answers
1k views

What web graphics formats to use?

Web sites can contain JPEG, GIF,PNG, SVG format graphics. Which ones should be used, and when?
31
votes
9answers
15k views

What is the difference between CMYK and RGB? Are there other color spaces I should know?

I'm a photographer, who dabbles in graphic design from time to time as well. What are the differences between the various color spaces?
22
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I improve my color selection skill?

I'm a web developer, started to become a web designer. However, I think my understanding of colors is not practical yet. There are tools out there that can give you color harmonies, and more stuff, ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is it that this color gradient is so much more attractive than others?

I've been playing around with some gradients on a site I'm developing, and I'm really interested in the psychology or other meaning behind why certain colors appear more attractive than others. ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is pure blue darker than pure green?

If I convert hundred percent green and blue to grayscale then blue one becomes like twice as dark. I can see that green looks brighter, but I also want to understand reason behind it. Looking at ...
19
votes
8answers
96k views

How do I change a single layer to grayscale in Photoshop CS4?

I know you can have the whole image turn grayscale: Image > Mode > Grayscale, but what if I only want to make specific layers grayscale? There's gotta be an easier way than pulling out the ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Where can I find a large palette / set of contrasting colors for coloring many datasets on a plot?

I need large set (20 and more) of contrasted and easily visually-distinguishable colors for coloring different datasets on a scientific plot (the set of colors should not include white or black, and ...
17
votes
4answers
6k views

What's the difference between CMYK Black and RGB Black

I know this sounds a stupid question, black is black right? Wrong: It's black right? so why are the CMYK Values so far away from black?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I make screenshots look good when printed in CMYK?

When printing screenshots alongside black text, black areas of the screenshot look a washed out "muddy dark grey" and "washed out". What causes this and can I improve the black color area?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Clearly distinguishable colours for scientific figures

I am looking for pointers on how to pick a set of colours (or a colour gradient) that are clearly distinguishable, for use in scientific figures. Was there any systematic research on this? If yes, ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is black not a natural color?

I've had at least two art teachers tell me that black does not naturally occur in nature, so using pure black makes your designs look synthetic. I do not understand this. Aren't the following black ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

How to turn the grey background white in a phone camera picture of a book?

Here is a picture (of many) that I took from a book with my phone camera. The problem is that the background is too grey. I want it fully white. I have adobe Photoshop CS6. Does anyone know how I can ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What effect do gradient fills have on the eye?

There are many baseline rules in web design (and design in general) around how the use of color, shape, line-quality, and font. These rules typically have some grounding in the way the brain perceives ...
12
votes
4answers
465 views

How could I adjust a design color scheme to account for paper color?

As a made up example, say I have a client who really wants a pastel blue paper but a color print on top of the paper. She knows there's going to be discoloration, but still wants me to go ahead and ...
12
votes
3answers
23k views

What CMYK values should I use for rich black, and how should I handle tints/shades?

I'm working on a full color piece in Illustrator which has a few large black and grey areas. I'd like the black to be a rich black. I was thinking c30 m30 y30 k100. What is the best ways to match my ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How should artwork be setup for T-shirt printing?

What does it mean to colour separate the artwork in T-Shirt printing? It is normally suggested to use Pantone colours for T-Shirt printing. Is it the Pantone Coated or the Pantone Uncoated? The ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I get the closest color word for a hex color?

Say I have a color like #7B0D40. Are there any tools out there to output the nearest human-understandable word for that color? (Like #7B0D40 ~= Magenta?) I know there's ways to search the words used ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

How to make a color appear the same on different backgrounds?

Background on color perception: Due to the nature of the human eye and visual processing by the brain, there's an optical illusion that the same color will look different depending on the background. ...
10
votes
4answers
483 views

Do high-content areas of a website need to be white/light-colored?

Many websites that are designed to be easy to read (eg. nytimes.com or ilovetypography.com) use white backgrounds with black fonts to make the content easy to read. Is it necessary to only use light ...
10
votes
4answers
692 views

What do users remember the most, position or color of elements?

I have a navigation menu with some buttons, that looks a bit like this (NOTE: Each button has a distinctive icon that differentiate it from the rest, I didn't add them to the mockup but they are ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the relationship between hue, saturation and value?

I see people adding color on top of a gray-scale drawing and their colors look great, but when I do myself, the colors look terrible (dirty, not the color I seem to pick from the color wheel). People ...
10
votes
2answers
297 views

How reliable are the colour blindness previews in Illustrator and Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have options to preview what artwork will look like to people with red/green colour blindness (protanopia and duteranopia). How reliable are these previews? For ...
9
votes
5answers
8k views

What is 5-colour printing?

When my print rep talks about five-colour printing, what does he mean? I know you have cyan, magenta, yellow and black - but what's the fifth?
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Text not very readable on different image backgrounds

I've come here seeking for a bit of design help or advice on how I could possibly improve the following: Like the title says, I'm having a website banner with multiple text displayed on different ...
9
votes
1answer
54k views

Make image partially transparent in gimp

I want my image to have 60% transparency. How can I do this in gimp?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to calculate other colors with the same perceived lightness as a given gray value?

This is related to a question I asked on tex.stackexchange, which has a color aspect. The result of that question is the following image: I have drawn a series of gray squares on the left, with a ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I map the colors in a greyscale image to a specific color “gradient”?

Caveat: I'm not a graphic designer and may be misusing some terminology. Please bear with me. :-) I'm attempting to add color to some greyscale icons (i.e. all three channels are identical). I ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What's a good source of color palettes to provide to a color-blind user?

There's a question on this site already about choosing good color palettes when designing for color-blind users. My question is different — it's about working with colors for an audience with normal ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How does one generate a palette similar to the ones in Google's material design?

Google's material design specifications have sets of colour palettes: Starting with a base primary colour, which they designate as "500", they then have a range of incremental steps of shade, ...
8
votes
10answers
735 views

Are there examples of software that use a dark colour scheme?

A client told me they want something with more a design software feel rather than web 2.0 feel, particularly something with a dark colour scheme. So now I am looking for some examples to show to him. ...
8
votes
9answers
12k views

Good color palette, usable for the color blind.

I'm designing a chart right now, that will slowly have more items added to it. I'd like to create an list/order of colors for the items, that will be most usable for the color blind to differentiate ...
8
votes
2answers
18k views

How to prepare a design for CMYK printing?

This was asked in another thread. When I searched to see if this question has been asked before it was not. Per Meta we are encouraged to create threads that show quality solutions or to future ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Choosing colors that work well on projectors

When specifying colors for use in a software user interface, what's the best way to ensure that those colors will look acceptable on all common display technologies: CRT, LCD, and in particular ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a spot/Pantone colour?

When should I use them, and how do I pick one? (NB: I know the answer, but think this question fills an important gap.)
8
votes
7answers
6k views

GIMP - change color of object preserving feathering

I have an .xcf image and I like to change the color of some objects within it. The objects are mostly one solid color with the edges feathered into transparency. I.e. all pixels in the object are ...
8
votes
2answers
769 views

Why is this gradient considered metallic chrome?

Why is the "white to brown & white to blue" gradient generally considered a shiny metal? What is the reasoning/theory behind this? Why those colours? (If someone says chrome, you might first ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do yellow and red look good together in this photo?

I've been looking into complementary colors and appealing color schemes, and I couldn't find any which suggested that this shade of yellow would look good with this shade of red. However, the picture ...
8
votes
1answer
801 views

In GIMP, how do I use an image as a color reference to colorize a black-and-white photo?

Let's say I have created a layer on a black-and-white image with a layer mask to colorize some parts (for example skin). I am able to change this with Colorize and change to any color. But how do I ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Do you use colour lasers for proof printing?

I own an EPSON Stylus Photo RX640 printer which prints really good on special paper media, but is rather poor when it comes to normal (>75%) printing on plain papers. Beside that it's also quite ...
8
votes
2answers
417 views

Does hue/sat/lum offer a smaller range of colors than RGB?

All values of RGB should be unique and distinguishable, meaning there are truly 256*256*256 colors. In HSL, however, if L=0 then H and S can be anything, but you still get the same color (black). ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

What is HSB really?

Can any of my graphics designer friends explain HSB to me? I know it's hue/saturation/brightness and I know what those three do (for the most part)... I understand the algorithm of creating colors ...
8
votes
2answers
691 views

Why does anti-aliasing in black characters use colors other than gray-scale ?

I'm a developer, I'm not a graphic designer. But there's one question that bugs me every since I've noticed it some years ago. Anti-aliasing is a method for removing the sharpiness from high contrast ...
8
votes
2answers
30k views

How to add background color to text in Photoshop

What's the easiest way to do it? I know CSS could just set background color of text very easily. And fireworks was able to do that. But I can't make it work now. I know there is a harder way: putting ...
8
votes
1answer
278 views

Creating a color scheme that looks good on screen and when photocopied in black and white

I'm trying to create a color scheme for text headlines that will have distinctly different colors for each level of header, but will also print out mostly dark. I looked at http://colorbrewer2.org/ , ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How to select colours that match each other?

Looking at the colours in this logo, it is clear that the colours match each other. How do I find an orange and purple that match the same colour scheme? I suppose the colour in the 'R' is yellow? ...