Wednesday, 23 October 2013



Different colour modes; CMYK, RGB

CMYK are referred to as process colours.

Inks are generally transparent, when overlaid they create different colours.

Black is the key colour as it is used to reinforce the shadows and dark colours, otherwise dark colours can seem brownish.

The diagram below shows how CMYK colours build up to create an image.

If you save colours in your swatches pallet they can be used constantly across designs. 

If your swatches pallet becomes messy or unorganised you can reset it to its original state by following;

Window > Workspace >Reset Essentials. 

Small list view, changes how the swatches are displayed, allowing you to see what they are called. 

Registration colour is used for registration marks, not a pure black so don't use.

Creating a new swatch;

Swatch menu > New swatch or use small icon at bottom of window. Adjust the sliders to create the colour.

To get the colour of an object into the swatch pallet you can either use the eyedropper tool to select the colour and then drag the square to the swatches pallet, the same can be done from the colour pallet.

Moreover, you could also select all the objects, open the swatch menu and select 'add selected colours'

Global colour swatch - cut corners, small square icon.

Difference to normal swatches - nothing selected, edit global swatch, every single object in the artwork that has the swatch applied updates.

This will be useful when creating artwork that uses a limited amount of colour.


Why useful?

  • Useful when working with a minimal amounts of colour. 
  • Tints can be created form global colour, the percentage is defined in the colour pallet menu. 

Tints can also be added to the swatch pallet.


Solid colour, not printed using a mixture of CYMK.

Why spot colours?

  • Cheaper - Only one ink used to create colour.
  • Allows you consistency - Always the same colour.
  • You can print colours that can be achieved with CYMK - Metallic/florescent inks.

How do we use them?

Found in colour books - Pantone colour guides.

There are different Pantone guides for the different types of ink, such as uncoated, coated, solid and metallic. 

When creating artwork you use the colour reference number found in the Pantone guide, this is also sent off with the artwork to the printers so they know exactly what colour you want.

To select a spot colour, open the swatch pallet menu > Swatch library > Colour Books.

If a reference umber is known you can find the colour quickly by opening the finder.

The colour reference system only works in commercial print. Digital printers often utilise CMYK. 

 Spot colours can be defined from process colours from its name, this also means it is very important that you do not change the name of the swatch.

Tints can be added to spot colours to create new colour variations, these colours can then be saved to the swatch menu as covered before.

Tints are printed using halftones. The wider the gaps are the lighter the colour is.

It is also possible to save swatches so that they can be used in another illustrator document.

Then, in a new document, use the swatch menu to open the colour library and select the swatch file, it should then upload to the swatches panel.

These swatches can also be opened in other adobe programs such as InDesign and Photoshop.

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