I have a portfolio for example, and initially it was designed for print, and everything was okay.

Now I am trying to make it viewable on screen with consistent colors, and I'm finding some problems. Notably the black shades, which I'm finding I have to convert to RGB 0,0,0, to stay as dark as I want them. Some white tones, and transparent areas are also changing, when converting color modes.

Are there any general tips one has to follow when designing the same thing for screen and print to keep consistent colors as much as possible?

Are there any automatic processes/workflows that do this?


For print, assuming you are using CMYK, you are left with a limited gamut of colors, so when moving over to RGB, you will more than likely see discrepancies.

In my workflow, I output from indesign and specify RGB. The converted output to PDF or JPG is usually spot on. I wont edit the actual work/print files, but make digital copies for screen use and modify them when needed.

This method reduces the tediousness of having to correct each color on the palette. Just let the PDF engine work it for you.

There tons of details we are leaving out too! Is your printer calibrated and using the appropriate profiles to get accurate results? Screen calibrated? Your success is in accuracy will very depending on these answers.

  • Exporting from InDesign worked perfectly, thanks! This saves me the trouble of saving two huge versions of the same design for different mediums. I just do the CMYK, and InDesign handles the RGB. – fadelm0 Oct 14 '15 at 21:15

You do what needs to be done to make your files look good online too! There's no rules about this. Sometimes, the colors could be more saturated online to make them more vibrant and it's true that the real RGB black will look more black then the CMYK one that can look grayish on the screen.

Some tools you can use are "levels", or "selective color" adjustments, or the "curves" or even the "replace colors" in Photoshop. There's a few other ways but these tools can help you to replace a color you don't like or to adjust the contrast/darkness/brightness if necessary without affecting too much (or at all) the other colors. But that also depends what needs to be modified and your knowledge about these tools. You'll need to make some tests and read about it.

You can use the brightness/contrast and saturation to also boost a bit your colors. There's also a nice curve your can use in the curves to achieve this very quickly. You'll need to make your own tests.

If you need to always replace the same kind of color (eg. the CMYK light black to a RGB 0-0-0 black or similar), you can always create an action and use it on all your files OR it's also possible for some of these tools to save an adjustment and import it in another of your file.

There's no automatic process that is bulletproof but you can still create your own shortcuts.

You can freely use a version for your online needs and one for printing.

Example for the "Levels" tool:

how to compensate 50% opacity white over photograph

  • Thanks for the tips! (The thread you linked to was interesting, too). It would be a good idea to fix up the final files so they look better on the web using photoshop. – fadelm0 Oct 14 '15 at 21:22

Are there any automatic processes/workflows that do this?

No, not really. CMYK and RGB are simply two different ways to display color and have their own needs.

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