I’m new to graphic design and am unsure of how to manage colours in a logo I’ve just created. It’s black text (converted to paths) with one small graphical element (a leaf). I created it in Inkscape using default/darkest black (000000ff) for the text and a green with RGBA value of 556b2fff (“dark olive green”) for the leaf. Inkscape shows the CMYK value as being 21, 0, 56, 58, which matches what I see on conversion sites like rgb.to and encycolorpedia.

But I’ve read that to create an actual CMYK file to send to the client, I need to import my Inkscape SVG file into Scribus, and edit the colour and export as an editable PDF. When I select and edit the green, the ‘new’ colour Scribus suggests (which looks very close to the original) has CMYK values of 57.25%, 25.88%, 84.71%, 40.39%. If I change the values to the corresponding values given on rgb.to/encycolorpedia (21, 0, 56, 58), it shows a colour more different to the original colour. (I’m using the HSV Color Map option - is that a “colour profile”? - as suggested in a video and a text guide on using Scribus.)

I’m very confused and am not sure if I’m allowed to ask multiple sub-questions here - please let me know if I’m violating rules/etiquette! Otherwise:

  1. Why would the CMYK values in Scribus be so different from the conversion chart values?
  2. Which should I use - the ‘true’ values (if they are indeed true) from the conversion charts, or the Scribus-generated ones which look closer?
  3. Is there any issue with having CMYK values which have decimal places, like the Scribus-gen’ed ones? I.e. is it better/more normal to have whole-number values, in basic logo design at least?
  4. Are the CMYK values of 21, 0, 56, 58 more cost-effective, because there’s no magenta being used? I.e. does this reduce the colour count, from a printer’s point of view?

And re. black:

  1. I’ve been advised on Reddit to create both a flat black and rich black variants of the logo; should I use Scribus to create a rich black version, inputting 0, 40, 0, 100 for the black value there? [Edit: Or some other common rich black value set, if the answer to q. 4. is yes!]

Designers on Reddit have advised I should also specify a Pantone colour for the green leaf - the first website I used for a rough conversion guide gave 371 C as a very close match (up to 16 colour distance), and the second gave 371.

  1. Do I specify the C in the style guide, or does each printer decide whether to use C or U depending on the paper?
  2. Would it be better practice for me to just get the exact corresponding CMYK and RGB values for PMS 371 and use those in the logo (and do it that way for future work)?

Thanks in advance for your help! I’ve been browsing a lot of articles here this week whilst trying to learn how to create a (good-quality) logo in Inkscape; I appreciate the time you all put into your answers.

  • too many questions at once for me to give a meaningful reply. all i can tell you: a/ trust what scribus does (except if you have evidences that there is an issue) b/ talk to your print shop and ask them what they want / if they see issues with your artwork. – a.l.e Oct 7 '17 at 5:44
  • Do not ask several questions at once, take a look at the help center on how to ask a good question. – Luciano Oct 9 '17 at 9:08
  • Different technologies CMYK and RGB so conversion is like religion. I typed your RGB hex into GIMP and got 57, 23, 86, 45 CMYK (for ISO coated v2 ECI) which looks "nicer" than what Scribus told you, but it is just a true. As long as you keep notes and stay consistend in print and for screens, you will be fine. No user will tape a printed sheet next to a back-lit screen to compare, so you cannot be wrong. But finding several versions of your logo on a webpage in proximity to each other would look bad... (header logo, versus favicon for example, when created on different tools). – Martin Zaske Oct 10 '17 at 16:09
  • re 5: It all depends on context: Where are you printing? Do you need budget or top-quality? Digital or classic offset? On what paper or material? Will your logo also show up online, on apps, or otherwise in RGB? (you would be surprised...) Read up on web-save colours and see what you can learn from your printer(s) (but maybe you are using online digital...) – Martin Zaske Oct 10 '17 at 16:14
  • AFAIK, neither Scribus nor Inkscape have color management features. (Tho...Scribus may now. It's been awhile since I've used it) – DA01 Oct 10 '17 at 18:55

Careful: In Scribus, the color edit window is not a "research tool". We have been burnt once in the past.

This window is meant to get a new color into Scribus, not to play around and test different ideas.

Proof: Open the window and enter a CMYK color. Then click around, pull open the RGB and maybe the RGB web safe. Now click again on CMYK and you will find that it does NOT get back to what you originally entered.

So normally: open the window, select your color system, enter a name and your values and then safe (and close).

Scribus is great, if you know what you need. But do not use this little window for experiments. Get some other tool to calculate what you need and then make a new color and work with it in Scribus.

Sadly Inkscape (otherwise much appreciated) still does not handle this on its own. But what workflow ever sends an isolated vector graphic straight to a CMYK print product?

Still, Scribus is not written as a "helper-tool" to fix missing Inkscape features. And sadly this little color edit window in Scribus looks too nice, there might need to be a hint for users, about multiple-calculations and conversions not meant to happen.

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