I experience small variations in the RGB values ​​depending on the different programs I used to convert the color values in CMYK to RGB. So my question is if there is a preferred program to use InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop?

I have synchronized the color profile of all programs via Bridge to European general purpose 3. (sRGB + Fogra 39)

My challenge, however, is that if I create the same CMYK color in one of the three programs and for example define the color Cyan (100, 0, 0, 0) and subsequently use Illustrator's color window to switch to RGB values ​​(0-159-227), then it gives a different result than if I use Swatches in InDesign to convert with (0-157-224).

If I then subsequently compare with Pantone's RGB values ​​for Cyan, it says something completely different (0-163-224).

This applies to virtually any color in the customer's color palette.

Do any of you have any good advice regarding which program to use for conversion to keep the best consistency in colors? The purse is to determine values for my clients brand guide (CMYK values are given - they need RGB numbers).

  • Pantones colors arent valid for your profiles. Anyway check that you have the warn options on and or see that your documents profiles matches your systems.
    – joojaa
    Feb 4, 2021 at 15:33
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    Ignore Pantone's cyan for this. It's not standard process ink. When converting 100% cyan from FOGRA39 to sRGB, I get RGB(0,159,227) in both Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. Have you manually checked that the Color Settings are exactly the same in both applications? What about the Conversion Options?
    – Wolff
    Feb 4, 2021 at 16:57
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    Also note that your settings dont apply to existing files retrosctively. Hence enabling warnings.
    – joojaa
    Feb 4, 2021 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


I will elaborate a bit based on Wolff's comment.

Forget Pantone's values. The reason is that Pantone should be using American Standards, and Fogra, although is used internationally started as a European standard and has different values, for example, TAC.

As I do not currently have a copy of Adobe's program on this computer I can not confirm that each program will give you a different transformation with the same settings, I would assume that if everything is properly configured, they should give you the same transformation value.

As far as I understand they all use the same library, not a library for each program, and the library is the one that has the transformation matrix for the color modes and the color profiles.

If for some reason the problem persists, I would probably use Illustrator as the base program. The reason is that is most likely used to output assets to be used with specific values, like say icons, logos, etc. Where Indesign will most likely produce self-contained assets, like a PDF publication.

But take this answer with a grain of salt.

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