I designed a logo with a CMYK of C:60, M:0 ,Y:50, K:0. On my PC (Windows 8) it appears teal, which is the color that the client wanted. When I sent it to her, it appeared like a very bright lime green, and the same happened at the printer. I don't know if this problem is from my Adobe suit or my PC colors. I checked the color on Illustrator CS5, Photoshop CS5, PDF, and when I open it as a .jpeg file as well, it's teal everywhere. And I made sure that the document is set to CMYK as well as the colors. When I checked the values online, they appeared like the bright lime green my clients mentioned.

How can I resolve this because I'm having the same problem now with a different design. I have a bright maroon for a background of a poster, but on other devices it seems closer to black. Please help!

  • 1
    I think all designers should know how to use CMYK. It's a shame that professional designers nowadays can't work with something so basic. I do not say as a personal attack, conversely, how good you are asking and looking for solutions and do your job well. To my shame I would charge a client without knowing how to use something like that. Good Luck.
    – Aradnix
    Aug 25, 2014 at 5:32

2 Answers 2


There's no way to predict what CMYK colors will look like on paper from your monitor. Even a calibrated monitor can't match all CMYK colors properly.

The options:

  1. Invest in a Pantone Process Color Swatch Book. This is a swatch book of actual printed CMYK colors. Find what you are looking for and then use that color in your file.

  2. Ask the printer for a proof before committing to the print run. You should likely do this regardless. A proof is sample print using technology that will likely be much closer to the final printed piece that your PC/desktop printer can manage.

  • Keep in mind that the best way to know which color is right is doing a test print before that impossible. Having a reliable printer and know how to communicate with him is invaluable.
    – Aradnix
    Aug 25, 2014 at 5:34

There are two issues here.

1) You should calibrate your monitor if you haven't done that already. You don't necessarily need a top-of-the-line monitor from Dell or Eizo with the truest possible colors, but you should at least be able to 'trust' your own monitor. Often photography stores let you rent the required hardware to calibrate your monitor for a few bucks.

2) You're using CMYK colors for an RGB environment. When designing a colored logo for both print an screen media, you should at least make two versions: one in CMYK for printing, one in RGB for screens. Screens consist of tiny Red, Green and Blue dots, standard printing is done in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (actually it stands for key, but black will do for now).

BONUS ISSUE) You're converting to sRGB or other color profiles. Another possible explanation for the faulty colors, besides not distinguishing CMYK and RGB, could be that you save your JPGs in the sRGB color space. Read up on color spaces and color profiles to further understand how they can benefit or harm the appearance of your work.


  1. Calibrate your monitor or buy one with better color rendering
  2. Learn how to properly use CMYK and RGB
  3. Educate yourself on color spaces an color profiles

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