I have taken a long time to design my own business card in Photoshop. However, the colours are much darker and all wrong (sometimes too blue, sometimes too pink) when they are printed by the printers. I have tried several printers and nobody seems to be able to get it right. The colours are accurate on my surface pro3 as I am told that this has a high percentage of accuracy. Can someone please help?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of How configure color in InDesign for a specific printer?
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:51
  • 1
    You can't trust screens for accurate colour, but if you share a screenshot of your design then someone may be able to point you in the right direction to get a more pleasing result.
    – Westside
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:51
  • Is your surface Pro3 color managed, and have you done a color profile/calibration on the machine recently. (No factory calibration does not count)
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:19
  • Calibrate your monitor. Always work in CMYK. Never submit RGB: convert it yourself. Get some match proofs. Use existing jobs to affirm your monitor calibration: look at the proofs, the printed version, and the screen together to affirm calibration. Adjust the monitor calibration to match the printed version. Learn to love uncertainty.
    – Yorik
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


The way to specify colors for printing (simplified).

  1. Get a CMYK swatchbook printed on the same stock you are using (gloss, matte, flat, newsprint, whatever).
  2. Check the CMYK values in the file using the tools in Acrobat (for CMYK PDF or EPS file) or Photoshop. Compare to the swatchbook. For example, the 100M 100Y "red" that you see on screen is fiction. The washed out tomato red 100M 100Y swatch (if you're printing on newsprint, say) is what you're going to get from the press.
  3. Adjust the color values in the file as necessary. This may involve creating new color swatches in your app, or using adjustment tools to modify the shades, but in any case, you must use actual color values based on the swatch book.
  4. For critical work ($$$$), request a Matchprint(tm) -- a reproduction of the printing plates that shows the exact dot patterns and colors that will be used for printing. This is also called a contract proof because it's what the printer is promising to reproduce -- it's your "contract" with the printer for a successful print job.

Note: Some digital printers do not use this workflow, because they are not using printing plates, so the matchprint is a digital proof, or even a PDF file -- but it should still be a faithful reproduction of the actual CMYK color values that will be used.


If everyone else is mistaken... there is a chance you are the one that has it wrong on the first place. n_n

You normally should not use Photoshop to design a business card. You might get the text too fuzzy. But let us think you have the correct resolution.

If you have done your image in RGB mode... ouch, there is a big chance you can not print the colors you see.

If you are using CMYK mode, take a look at this: How configure color in InDesign for a specific printer?

  • Thank you Rafael, It's not about being wrong or right. It's about trying to fix the problem please. The problem is that nobody is telling me what I did wrong and how to fix it. Yes I did do it in Photoshop and in RGB mode. Does anyone know what I need to adjust in the settings to make the files compatible with a CMYK digital printer. I am assuming that this is what the printers are using but they are not offering any ideas or solutions.
    – Dany
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 4:07
  • Take a look at the link I posted. Specially on Point 6.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:21
  • @Dany odds are you can not reproduce the colors. Extremely strong rgb colors are outside the possible range of CMYK prints. No matter how much you want you can not get those colors. You could use some special inks that do this but then its cheaper to hire a person to do this for you.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:18

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