I just finished a print shop for a coffeemachine, there will be around 1000 unit prints

I have one stupid question, and I'm kinda scared:

When I export it as cmyk it looks good on my screen but when I upload it online the colors look wayyy different.

Will this be the case when printed too?

In Illustrator, I've changed the color mode to cmyk and just 2 of the colors got a bit lighter

  • 1
    Where online are you uploading it? Different sites/viewing programs are going to interpret the CMYK values differently.
    – hkaube
    May 19 '15 at 12:57
  • Mostly Imgur, but Its the same on different image hosting sites.
    – Eli
    May 19 '15 at 13:02
  • Is your monitor calibrated, and do you have a proper profile?
    – joojaa
    May 19 '15 at 13:02
  • And its the same if viewed in a browser (chrome and firefox) the colors change
    – Eli
    May 19 '15 at 13:04
  • Hi Eli, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    May 19 '15 at 13:07

Don't trust on-screen representations of CMYK. Like, ever. Even the most sophisticated .pdf viewers are bad at representing CMYK colours on an RGB screen.

If you have created a proper .pdf with a proper colour profile, colours should be ok. The only ways you're ever going to be sure of how it's going to look when printed is either calibrating your monitor (requires equipment and software, and therefore an expensive solution) or experience.

  • .pdf files looks fine, but will it look like this when printed too?
    – Eli
    May 19 '15 at 13:42

Vincent is correct, you can't really get a correct representation of CMYK (subtractive color process) on an RGB screen (additive color process), especially with certain colors like green.

That said, most quality commercial printers will/should provide a printed color proof of some sort before printing the whole run. Definitely check with your printer (or have your client do it) before printing! It's a very standard request; In fact, many printers won't run the job without someone signing off on a printed proof.

If you're having them printed through an online company (much more common these days), you can still get a printed proof mailed to you, but in my experience, many of the online companies just expect you to go with whatever you see on screen. For less important jobs, this may be fine, but I wouldn't trust it.

  • Thanks, I gotta ask the client for a printed proof, Its an really important job
    – Eli
    May 19 '15 at 14:16

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