I've always struggled with this and more and more often it causes me issues in the stage when I've received payment and then they client tries to print their design. Especially with my designs that are full of color the files I email them look great. And when they are printed they look like they have been bombed. And this seems to happen randomly for no reason. Even if I create two logos exactly the same way but perhaps with different color schemes: one will print exactly the same as it displayed on the computer and the other will be fried?! Please help me out guys...I feel like a complete idiot and am losing my mind!

  • 1
    Have you calibrated your monitor with a color calibration device? If not then all bets are off.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 17:12
  • Are you using RGB colors that are outside of the CMYK color spectrum?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 17:39
  • How do I calibrate my monitor @joojaa and how can i tell if they are outside of the CMYK spectrum ??
    – Hokiko
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 17:50
  • You need to buy a colorimeter like a colormunki, then you can ask your design software where the color lies on the print space. The printer also need to be calibrated and profiled
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 17:54
  • oh i see what you're saying but that's not my problem: my problem is it doesn't print correctly elsewhere. I'm just giving the vector files to my client and the client gives it to the printer and then it doesn't print very well.
    – Hokiko
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


On-screen representation is NOT an accurate representation of the final printed color. Even custom calibrating your monitor to get accurate color rendering will not always guarantee a match with the actual printed color.

There is such a large difference between the way the color models are rendered, this makes using a monitor for color proofing difficult. See this answer: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/38421/21203

A pantone book / swatch will offer you a much more accurate color representation. Even then, have the printer provide you with a sample of the pantone color printed on the substrate you are targeting to ensure the color prints accurately. Substrate or ink variations, pantone book / swatch degradation, print run inconsistencies and of course, lighting environment changes, will all cause shifts in color balance and accuracy. A hard proof will let you compare the final, printed color against the original pantone color you chose.

  • Yes but all this does not help you much if you rely on the computer to do the rgb to cmyk conversion. But yes I agree a logo designer should be able to soft proof the color on a printer.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 5:03

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