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I designed a mockup on my LG monitor. When I view the same design on another monitor that I own, the colors seem drastically different. I reset both of the monitors to their factory defaults, but still the issue persists. I'm wondering if some of my clients might dislike my designs because of this. What should I do?

How can I make sure that what I design is what my client sees?

Even worse still, I've realized that my laptop is showing different colors too.

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Regarding the question

I reset both of the monitors to their factory defaults, but still, the issue persists.

This does not help at all. The basic configuration is not on the monitor but in the graphics card that sends the signal to them.

For web could be enough, but for photography or print, you need special hardware. There are some brands, for example, this one: http://www.xrite.com/colormunki-display

The basic calibration I mention is so you know, at least, your colors are not too crazy.

I'm wondering if some of my clients might dislike my designs because of this. What should I do?

TALK to them. "Hey, the color for this can vary from monitor to monitor, this depends if your monitor has some basic calibration"

How can I make sure that what I design is what my client sees?

If exactitude is needed, either deliver a calibrated print sample in case of printed material or go with the client and calibrate their monitor or show it on a device of your own... calibrated.

Did you notice the word calibrated?

You need to make a simple basic calibration on your 3 devices. (It can be hard to modify the basic brightness and contrast of some led monitors, but try to find how to specifically adjust them)

A basic tutorial

Many new monitors are limited on the options you can adjust. Some may be present or not.

1) Monitor temperature - color

On the monitor's menu look for an option temperature/color. Some monitors define this as temperature or as the specification. Choose:

  • 6500°K, D65 or sRGB

Do not use, warm, cool, blueish. Sometimes you can use 5500°K but the recommended is D65.

enter image description here

2) Brightness

If your monitor can handle this normally a brighter option is better. "Brightness" controls the darker points of the image.

Here is a test pattern. You need to barely see the No.1 using a dark background. Open the image in a new window.

enter image description here

But as this is too easy to move in some devices is the hardest to maintain well defined.

3) Gamma

The most crucial parts are the middle tones, which are controlled by the gamma function.

This is controlled by the graphics card. Look in your control panel or in windows right click on the screen. There is a chance you have some kind of application to modify this. Something like this:

enter image description here

You need a "standard target" to compare. You can adjust all the RGB components together, but I recommend setting them one by one.

The objective with this patterns is to modify the gamma settings so the 2.2 number blends with the background. Higher numbers will look brighter and lower numbers darker.

Open this images in a new window, at 100% zoom:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

Almost all modern computers have this panels, but in the case, you do not have it you can use this application on windows. http://www.quickgamma.de/indexen.html


Vincent posted one comment that wants to be addressed:

Why should I do it?

Here is a joke:

One man is driving a car and he is hearing the news. "One drunk man is driving on the opposite way on the highway!"

He says... One? There are a lot of them!

Well, you do not want to be the drunk man.

If your calibration is too magenta, and you shift the image to greens, the image is green, not really balanced.

  • Actually, my monitor is set to 'too warm' because of the blueish light in our office... Most calibration tools will not find this out unless they feature an external device to function as eyes. – PieBie May 31 '16 at 17:55
  • @PieBie many allays on calibration systems have this eye. But calibrating does not really help if you make webpages. You can not convince random customers to see correct color. You can just make yourself see how it should be calibrated. There is simply no way to manage the internet. So adjusting customer monitors makes you warm and fuzzy but unless its a intranet design its still a gamble, most often your designing for them not your customer per see (even if they pay you). Grated monitors do get better 'calibrated' at factory all the time. – joojaa May 31 '16 at 19:16
  • True true. I was merely trying to point out that even ambient light can have an influence on color perception so even two identical monitors that are calibrated identically can still differ. And that no rule is absolute, like 'do not use too warm'. – PieBie May 31 '16 at 19:48
  • The sRGB standard uses D65 as color temperature. – Rafael May 31 '16 at 20:25
  • This is a great help Rafael. – Abhilash Singh Jun 2 '16 at 20:00
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Yes, some people (if not most) will definitely see your colors differently. And this is why we use calibrated displays when doing work for print because we can dominate the medium.

Now most people will most likely see what your less expensive monitors show you (especially if its a wide gamut color monitor and not calibrated to sRGB!). To harmonize colors between your systems calibrate them and use proper color profiles on your medium.

For most other people out in the world theres unfortunately not much you can do. See: Web colors: how to compensate for differences in monitors. Don't spend enormous amounts of time choosing the perfect hue its lost on your clients*.

* This was rumored to be used to personal advantage by Hollywood and TV visualFX people to manage their director: By giving 3 well crafted choices that would almost certainly be more or less the same color when deployed onto Cinema and especially TV (where jokingly NTSC stands for Never the Same Color).


If the results are random (uncalibrated devices are random) theres not much you can do. However you can randomize the colors according to some model to appraise what the result might be. Not all color combinations are as sensitive to looking terrible.

I have no idea what the model would look like, i would need to measure a number of uncalibrated devices to even begin doing so. Which makes this a good candidate for a Ph.D work if literature does not already have this on books. Cant say i do not have access to relevant academic journals.

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Since screen technologies (contains phosphor that gets older), resolutions and configurations are so much different, that's a problem we simply cannot solve completely.

If you have personal contact with customers, explain them how to calibrate their screen. And other tips here (help.adobe.com)

How I faced this problem before (yes, I know it's very unprofessional and maybe unaccurate):

Try it on different screens and adjust color/hue. I own 4 displays (2 desktop monitors, laptop, mobile device), and always adjusted it to the profile that looked well for every device (the more tested screens, the better).

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